Thursday, June 25, 2009


I am in a cave in southern France, looking at a salmon cut into the cave wall 30,000 years ago, a male, over one meter long, detailed, the product of an artist who knew salmon, who saw them swimming through.
Since 1973 I have been thinking about the idea of bioregionalism, thinking about how to learn to live in a particular place, and how to gradually come to be a part of that place, a partner in the natural workings of that place, and to learn to be less and less "intrusive", as we humans have a way of being.
As I learn about my own particular place, living here next to a lake in Maine, I come to learn about all of the beings whose lives pass through this place, at one time of the year or another.These are the great migratory tribes, and their own home regions cover a much wider range than my own. We are coming around to celebrating these friends.
We welcome the loons back, the eagles, ospreys, herons, orioles, grosbeaks, bobolinks and so many more. We watch for turtles in the road. We welcome the alewives as they arrive to swim from the ocean up into the lake, through a series of newly built pools, human-made to assist them in their journey. We look to the milkweed for monarchs, rising up in the fall for their journey to Mexico. And so many others.
As a practicing Caribouddhist I worry about the caribou, moving from protection in Canada into the United States, to calve on the plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or the reindeer, living with the consequences of nuclear disaster in their bodies, or the wolves and condors reintroduced in the American west, the bears and wolves reintroduced in Italy and Slovenia, my stork friends flying from Africa to Latvia, Lithuania, flying through the horror of war in Iraq twice a year. And so many others.
As a bioregionalist, I want my own bioregion to provide these travelers with their traditional food, lodging and safety - natural concerns for a weary pilgrim, but now I think that I must also be a migrationist, worrying about the health of their journey, the flyways, the migratory routes, the ocean, the air, so that these travelers are able to safely make their yearly journeys. My bioregion extends to the boreal forests, the south american songbird destinations, all the many parts of the world to which i am connected, my home place is connected , by these wonderful migrating friends. and so many more.

Migration Prayer

we will greet them with colorful flags,
wave them on their way through,
light fires, burn incense,
prepare a feast to say
We wish you well
pray for your travels
take care, take care