A long time ago, there was a man who lived near the shore. Each day he would walk down a pathway, through the majestic cedar forest, and climbed down the tall cliffs just to see what the sea has brought to him that day. He would find shells, glass balls, agate rocks, and even eagle feathers. He collected these items for gifts or trade.
Some days the whales would greet him from afar; flipping their fins and shooting water high into the morning sky; high enough to where even the sun could see it and blow it through the forest and into the streams. Some days he would visit his bear and deer friends alongside the river to say hello. He was a skilled fisherman, and he loved to harvest crabs and clams, and he gave thanks to life that helps his family live and prosper.
One day, as he made his way down the pathway, through the forest, down the cliff, and onto the shore, all of his friends were awaiting him. Whale swam in the tide and said “These are our shores, we share them with you.” Deer walked on the cliffs and said “These are our lands, we share them with you. Eagle said “These are our skies, we share them with you.” Cedar said “These are our forests, we share them with you.”
The sun peaked through the mountains, through the village, through the clouds and sat with them, the sun said “I am the heat of your heart, the creator of all things, I breathe life unto you and all things under the heavens, and everything is connected in a sacred pact.”
He went home that night; his wife cooked the best salmon. He sat together with her and his two children as they ate, and told them the story of the living water and living land, how the water gives life to the land, how the Creator has put it in our hearts to keep safe all things under the sky, that we are connected with all things through our traditions and ways, so we must protect our land, our people, and our waters.
Ezekial Serrano Quinault
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