Thursday, September 29, 2016

Native Wisdom (continued)

Included the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca nations.  Much has been written in recent years about the important contributions 1st Nation's people have made to our larger society.
Here are a few of the gifts we can be thankful for and celebrate.
--Participatory Democracy: The cooperative and egalitarian nature of the Iroquois Confederacy influenced the "founding fathers", particularly Ben Franklin, as they drafted our Constitution.
--Honored and elevated the status of women who chose the sachem or chiefs and had real power including treaty making.
--Environmental "sustainability" stemming from the "7 Generation Principle" which guided all major community decisions by their impact on people, land, water and animals 140 years in the future.
Holy water I am paddling, indeed!
Thanks be for the wisdom of the Iroquois people!

Positive Fear

"Fear is not a bad place to begin a spiritual journey."   --Kathleen Norris

So counter-intuitive and such alien wisdom to Americans who idolize confidence and certainty.   As I paddle I re-realize that I am often traveling  upstream against the current in my life.  This particular journey is but one more crazy adventure.
People say "you are so brave..." but truthfully I am often fear-filled.  Some fears are obvious: storms, heat and cold, tipping and ultimately drowning.  I fear them all.
Some fears are less obvious: loneliness, boredom, fatigue and failure.  These fears are my daily and hourly companions and acknowledging, even confessing them is the beginning of wisdom. 
My traveling coffee mug helps me navigate my very real fears each day.   Printed on it in large letters: "TRUST".   Good coffee helps too!

Native American Wisdom

As a boy I was fascinated by the curious-sounding names of the towns, lakes and rivers  in Upstate New York like Oneida, Onondaga or Cayuga.  I learned in school these were Indian words from the tribes who lived there long ago. Years have passed and I now see the words, traditions and people's with new and appreciative eye.  I am paddling through the holy waters and ground of what came to be known as the Iroquois Confederacy which

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Other Clinton

No, it's not Bill!  You have likely never heard his name despite the fact he changed the face of America almost 200 years ago.  He was the mayor of NYC and governor of NY State. I wouldn't be enjoying another paddle adventure without his tireless efforts over many years to imagine, organize, and raise $ to build the Erie Canal.  This 8th Wonder of the world, ridiculed by many as Clinton's Ditch, opened the West to millions of immigrants including my my Ellingson and Halverson great grandparents and ultimately propelled our nation into a leading world power.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Paddle Pilgrim: 2 days to launch

Do you think he will make it?

363 miles on the Erie Canal and 150 on the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty

Paddle with me....

Friday, September 9, 2016

Paddle Pilgrim: Did you know?

My paddle adventure begins DOWNSTREAM from the Falls....

There are 35 locks on the Erie Canal.
A section of the original canal was an aqueduct over the Mohawk River

One of my heroes, Pete Seeger: songwriter, activist, humanitarian, and on his sailing sloop, the Clear Water, led the fight to clean up the Hudson River.   You will be in my "cloud of witnesses" as I paddle and we can sing together your anthem: "If I had a hammer!"
The Woman's Suffrage Movement began in 1848 in Seneca Falls on the Erie Canal.

The Hudson School brought a "romantic" artistic lens to the river valley.

The Little Red Lighthouse below the George Washington Bridge
(LRL was also a wonderful book I enjoyed as a child)

Truer than ever....