“The Earth was once a human being. Old-One made her out of a woman. ‘You will be the mother of all people,’ he told her.
Earth is alive yet, but she has changed. The soil is her flesh; the rocks are her bones; the wind is her breath; the trees and grass are her hair. She lives spread out, and we live on her. When she moves we have an earthquake.”
— Excerpt from “The Creation of the Animal People”
I quoted this in “Coyote Finishes the People.” It has a deeper meaning that is gradually being discovered as science advances. This is the merging of the old with the new. Tribal stories told for countless generations have been validated by science.
We now know how humans experience the Miracle of Life. It is the connection between the spiritual and the physical. To understand it you must take a journey into inner space. The human body is a river of life. It is a constant exchange of atoms from the air, trees, and the rest of the environment with the atoms in the cells of your body. The atoms move from our exterior environment through our lungs, digestive system, and skin into our cells.
An old saying states, “You cannot step into a river in the same place twice.”
Ninety-eight percent of the atoms in the human body were not there a year ago.
Every month the skin is renewed.
We get a new liver every six weeks.
We get a new stomach lining every four days with surface cells that contact food replaced every five minutes.
The content of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen changes over a year in living brain cells. However, once brain cells die, they are not renewed. Cells provide the fundamental unit of life. The cells collect vibrating oxygen and hydrogen atoms into molecules of the same proportion as the earth and atmosphere, 70 percent water and two-thirds oxygen.
We are truly part of the earth, one with the universe with this continuous exchange. By tuning in to nature we become aware of our relationship to trees, stars, and other people or animals. We are exchanging oxygen and hydrogen with those beings around us. We are ingesting oxygen and hydrogen that others have exhaled. These same atoms were ingested by people thousands of years ago.
What is constant about the world are these atoms. They don’t change. They combine and recombine with people, trees, etc., but they remain constant as an element. They have a memory. This memory is like a small computer that tells us what is true about human existence. All we have to do is tap into that memory. Indians and many other people realize we are part of nature. But awareness is not enough to survive. To survive we must practice being stewards of the earth and become keepers of our environment.