Skywoman fell from her world above with seed in her hand. The muskrat, dead of life, clenched mud in its paw, its final offering so Earth could become. It all begins with soil and seed. Soil, a micro universe of life sustaining life. Seed, the tiny carriers of stories and sustenance. Two rich and sacred beings I will learn well in my life. My fingers have placed many seeds into cells packed with fertilized soil, placed many seeds straight into the Earth. I have watered them, transplanted their strong roots and promising sprouts, tended to them, harvested their food body and been nourished by their flesh. Soil and seed are the foundation of all plant life, and thus, the foundation of us. Their cells become our cells. Their fiber scrubs our bodies clean of waste and sin. They are the Earth's lungs that breathe life into our lungs. Skywoman fell with seed in her hand. Seed from another world, her offering to a place not originally her home. Turtle Island is not the home of my ancestors. I feel discomfort in the thought of tending to land that was brutally stolen. I find solace in the story of Skywoman. Through her steadfast dedication and reciprocity with the land, Turtle Island welcomed Skywoman in, let itself become her home by its own choice. Her offering of seed a promise to be its tender, its stewardess. Although this Land of Turtle Island is not the roots and soil of my Ancestors, we are all inhabitants of a greater Earth. Through the waters and the mycelial network buried under the old growth forest, I can reach to where my great, great, great, great grandparents stewarded land and tended to beast alike. Their stories are not lost to me, and although I may not know them in the form of words, they are, like the plants, the cells, blood and bone of my being. They comprise the very physical structure and spiritual essence of who I am. And so although this Land of Turtle Island will never be my ancestral home, I can only pray to become its native in time, by its choice, by its welcome. My ancestral home is Earth, as it is for all human life. All of the two legged beings that came before me have foot-printed her soft soil, swam in her rivers, and returned their naked bodies deep in the ground to be food for worms and microbes that digested both their skin and stories. These pieces of human life nourish the soils where wild ramps and fiddleheads grow, where wine berries burst in color, and where carrot seed roots itself sweet and deep. What are we but food for the impeccable microbial universe present in each and every handful of soil? If I work in this life to make my body, my flesh, my muscle, my blood, the most nutritious food for the micro beings to consume and put to new use when I am placed naked and free back into the ground, then I will have done part of my duty. May I one day be potent medicine for them. My duty, next to nourishing the microbes when my heart no longer beats, is to tend to this land as home, healer and relative. One day there will be land that I need, and it will find me, and I will work each day to know and tend and feel and understand that land like my own very body. Until that day, and still after, I will build upon my own heart and mind a beautiful layer of compost and woodchips to breakdown and become rich, soft soil. Soil that retains and builds nutrients and water, is beautifully aerated and loamy. I will build that world within myself so I can extend it outward to every seed I touch, every wild and cultivated food I harvest. And, when that land comes to allow me to tend to it, my offerings will be of humble, hard work. Of service. My work will be to become its native. May the birds know the beat of my footsteps like they know the beat of their own hearts. May the coyotes and the rabbits and the groundhogs and squirrels know my scent the way they know the scent of the wildflowers that have bloomed alongside them year after year, decade after decade. May the soil know the salt of my sweat that has dripped into its universe every day from April to October under the heat of the Sun. May my salts and electrolytes mix with their world, day in and day out, until they need me, too, to survive. May I be as integral to the system as every bee that pollinates the flowers, every frog that eats the bugs, and every fungus that consumes the dead leaf particles and turns them into fertile forest floor for the ferns and other fauna to emerge in ecstasy and vigor. The flavor of this place will be as diverse as the many worlds that collide and coalesce to create it. And I yearn for the day to know the shade of golden yellow of the butter that comes from the cream that separated from the milk that comes from the cow that’s been nourished by the land we have inhabited and fell in love with together. One day I will know just by the subtle change of the smell of the breeze that the magnolias and daffodils are about to blossom. I will know the sweetness of my carrots and green beans, the lingering smell of garlic scapes on my hands after plucking them in May. But first I must make a home of myself. First, my own body, mind, spirit, must be tended to with such adoration and respect and beauty and brilliance. So I will start there…becoming native to my own body. Becoming home to my own self.