To some, Heritage is important. To others, not so much.
I feel like hidden secrets lie within the unseen folds of our personal heritage.
Just as family medical history plays an important role in our personal physical health, I believe that the likes and dislikes and the love for things we enjoy so much in this life were possibly loved and enjoyed and genetically passed down to each of us. Their experiences live on in the very cells of our being.
My ancestors must have been adventurers and explorers because I find myself most at peace when I’m walking down a trail in the mountains that I’ve never walked before, or when I’m camping under the stars and listening to the coyotes howling in the distance. When I was camping in the Serengeti and could hear the black maned lions roaring out in the darkness or when I am riding a good horse with good footing as we weave our way down a narrow trail.
I feel closest to God when I’m all alone on the very edge of a cap rock under a beautiful blue sky filled with big white clouds moving overhead swiftly as the winds above carry them away. I love looking out over a wide valley, a narrow ravine, a flower filled meadow, or deep canyons! I love feeling the breeze as it blows through my hair or across my face and the fresh smell of nature all around me. I love using my animal calls just to watch wildlife answer me back and sometimes appear out of nowhere as they answer my beckoning call.
I once found a beautiful draw that was full of breathtaking, giant cedar trees. The trees formed a natural canopy over a lot of the ground and there must have been a million monarch butterflies everywhere. I was hiking as I was hunting with my bow but when I saw this place, I stopped and sat on a rock to bask in this once-in-a-lifetime setting for a couple hours. Moments like this one always compel me to stop and give thanks for yet another amazing experience!
When I bow hunt, I’m hunting for meat. For food for my family. However, my hunts have never just been about the harvest. It’s always been about getting in touch with nature. It’s about getting in touch with myself! It’s about newness in so many ways! The newness of a crisp morning as the sun breaks over the eastern horizon stretching and casting its light further and further until it’s filled every shadow from the night before. The newness of that same sun as it recedes behind a mountain or below the western horizon or sinks ever so gently into the ocean. The newness of a west Texas star studded sky where you can see the far away galaxies, the milky way, and a million stars twinkling above.
Every time I have ever harvested a deer or antelope or a great animal, I have always knelt beside it and passed my hand across its back and apologized for having taken it but thanked it for the food and meals it would provide me and my family. I’ve always strived to live in balance with nature and to respect her.
At one point, I had a yearning to learn more about my history and genealogy. Through my research, I discovered that my maternal great grandmother was Lakota Sioux Indian.
The Lakota Sioux were a proud people who hunted and lived in harmony with nature and enjoyed and respected her. During my studies, I learned that they too apologized to their harvest and thanked them for providing food for their people. The Lakota Sioux were hunters, foragers, hikers, and horsemen and loved nature and the Great Outdoors.
I feel so deeply blessed because I believe that I discovered some of the secrets of my heritage that I share with my great grandmother and her people before me and with my daughters and grandchildren after me.
I feel that when I’m walking through a valley stalking my game or strolling up a mountain just to see what’s on the other side, if I turn fast enough to see my shadow, I might catch it with a feather in a headband strolling along with me. I have given my Indian shadow an Indian name. I call him Heritage! And for as long as I walk on this earth, I will take my Heritage with me everywhere I go.
-Kevin Woods Mouton