Medicine Women, Medicine Earth

Feb 01, 2011
Two poems reflecting on lessons taught by nature and friendship.

by Norma Funai and Mary Sojourner

Norma Funai and I escaped to the desert East of Bend.  Norma is a beloved tour leader for the Trust.  We've spent time together and she's told me how she teaches.  I couldn't wait to learn more about the desert that is - along with DLT lands - the medicine that helps me stay whole.  We walked up a dirt road toward Horse Ridge.  Later, we wrote each other.  This medicine poem is for our readers - may it bring you into that sweet day in that wild place.  If you need medicine, may you find it here.


We head east leaving traffic lights, noise, clamor of people
looking for silence and peace.
Beyond the ridge, the  sky-dominated land appears
behind us the ribbon of asphalt disappears.

We turn off and the crunch of tires on dirt, the only sound.
Out of the car, our footsteps follow the tracks of the coyote
the desert wind sighs among the juniper.

We overlook the dry canyon born of an ice age lake and its overflowing waters
Man seems diminished by this creation of nature.
Our minds come together in peace.


I walk with her up a desert dirt road
There is coyote scat
and Artemisia tridentata  (She shows me the trifurcated leaves.)
and tells me that coyotes mark the places humans walk.

There is a tiny plant whose name she does not know
pale and delicate against the dark sand
later, there will be the corpse of a young coyote
its ribcage pulled from its flesh
its body little but pelt and teeth.

We have walked perhaps thirty minutes.
We have walked centuries.

When I hear her words.
I hear the earth speaking to me.