In Eastern Manitoba, I’m standing among the trees with my feet already cold as my friend Jenny and I harvest plants for our medicinal tea. I’m overtaken by this emotion of immense gratitude ever so much so that my eyes filled with tears, my emotion is this appreciation for the Earth. For these moments of clarity, I know without a doubt the Earth loves all of us. The trees emit this unconditional love and I feel it standing next to them. Generously they give to us so we can breathe the breath of life, and offering themselves selflessly their medicinal nutrients for our physical well-being.

Standing there in the middle of this small forest made me see what is most important in my own life. Perhaps as well the energy in nature is what cleared my mind to see what is real and what is not real; the healing energy released from these trees gave me this sense of security and a knowing. My thoughts wander off, as I start to think of people around the world and where we are at this time with a pandemic. Some will begin to feel this beautiful humility and there will be some who won’t. Those who won’t suffer in their self-importance.

As we gathered medicine plants we talked about how we were actually feeling what the trees were feeling. The thing is for us as people it had to take a world pandemic to threaten our lives and threaten the lives of those we love. During our time spent in this small forest, we came to this knowing of how the trees, plants, water, and animal beings are threatened by people. Jenny pointed out the many footprints in the snow of various animals who had walked through this little forest, it was both beautiful and sad. Sad for the animals because this particular forest was diminishing and trees near the gravel road looked like they violently chopped up.

We are not being punished by whatever or whoever you believe in, whether it’s the Universe/God/Goddess/Creator/Great Mystery, but what is happening today is what we did ourselves. We are now forced to reflect within ourselves during our time of isolation, and make changes within to fully see what is important and what is real. Some will find that place of beautiful humility and compassion for all beings which includes animals, plants, trees, and water. As Indigenous people do, we know water is a living being, a tree is a living being, and anything that is a life-giving force is a living being.

Thus, in these precious moments of standing in this small forest, I realize how fragile life is, and a remedy to dissipate fear, control, violence, blame, greed, lies, stinginess, hoarding, arrogance, and this virus came upon us to simply see that we are the virus.

As we arrive at Jenny’s house in the town of Whitemouth, there is this energy of calmness and safety between us, it was as though we knew while we both stood inside this spiritual temple, the small forest, that love will be our remedy. We hugged each other with no fear, but with this overwhelming emotion of safety, gratitude, and love. We know our medicine is love. The remedy is love.

The picture of the sun behind the trees was taken in the town of Seven Sisters Falls, Manitoba. Photo Credit: Diane Maytwayashing

Written by: Diane Maytwayashing