This is my last week in South Dakota and even now I know that when I return to Texas for a while, I will have so much writing to catch up on about my time here.
The thing about experiencing life and writing it all down is that while you are living in the moment of it all, you just want to absorb it. All of the echoes of life hollow out the grooves of your brain and become branded on your spirit. I had big ideas to write every second down in real time but reflection on it all seems more fitting.
It’s 3:30ish in the morning and the cabin living room is full of boxes and items in disorder. I imagine it won’t all fit in my little Yaris and will create a little unease for my four-legged passenger, Tiger Lily — my odd-tempered cat. This is an ambitious endeavor…
I will miss so much of this place. Convenience will be a welcome change but the remarkable silence, views and people are not replaceable. The year ahead will be a welcome perfect puzzle as I discover whether or not I am meant for other destinations for semi-permanent residency. The journey will reveal.
Around this time last year I was in California.
The above image is a screen shot of my gratitude app. Yes. There’s an app for that. (Ignore that “no service.” I tend to not have service much on the Rez!)
I’ve only been yapping about California forever. Well maybe not forever. Just a few years. Several years ago the California love struck me for the first time when I flew out to Gilroy for an interview at the town’s local paper. I didn’t get it. But I loved the few days I was there.
Since then I have been blessed to get out to the Bay Area a few times. This time last year was a trip I took with a friend to be absolutely certain I wanted to take the leap. I was certain but decided to head to South Dakota first. I mean when I asked the Universe for new experiences, I didn’t mess around!
When I moved to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation this year, I can safely say I didn’t have a grandiose idea of “saving an entire people” like I was a powerful force that could impact the kind of change that could undo generations of genocide and injustice.
There has been a history of people coming here and trying to do that. There are documentaries that don’t show you everything that is good on the Rez. There are people who come here who are supposedly well-intentioned, thinking they will show the world something that will create an impact — sometimes it does but not always a good one.
I came to the reservation to work and to gain experiences — that’s it. Take in the scenery, get away from the city and get to know people. And I just thought that I could maybe impart change in some way that could create improvement by either using the written word, creating awareness and passing on my own knowledge and experience in the area of health and sustainability. Just like anyone who feels that they want to help people, I didn’t really think I had something called a “savior complex,” which admittedly I feel I could easily say some people who make the journey here may exhibit. I’m absolutely guilty of finger-pointing when it comes to that complex when really I should be looking a little more at myself.