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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mongolia 1992: Bring Me Home, Home, After All

My morning eyes follow the path 
of the Mongolian knife 
drawn from its scabbard dry edged, 
then thrust into meat.
Knife is pulled out 
soaked-shiny oily-wet 
from the hot fat of the roasted animal.
In this lamplight the knife's jewelled handle 
glints shooting stars 
illuminating all of us with tradition.
Multicoloured twinkles 
reflect above us, on us 
and around the woollen-canvas roof of our tented yurt.

Last night’s feast celebrated the gathering 
of singers from all over Central Asia.
No contest, a simple sharing 
of talent and traditions, 
to keep alive the spirit of harmony
with all of our shared ancestry.

Offered as a feast-dish 
my friends cook a Mongolian bundle.
The sending of the animal onwards, 

into it's journey beyond our Earthly-reality,
is a ceremonial transition.
The butchering was performed 
in the Muslim tradition
prayers of respect for the animal's Soul -
absolute cleanliness in preparation, 
to safeguard the animal's body, mind and Spirit.

The Soul of the animal is received 
by us and by creation,
with love and care -
these are the strict laws of purity.
To safeguard the animal's honour, 
which we receive when we eat it, 
we return honour by giving the animal respect.
The gift of nourishing the continuation of our life,
is also a gift of learning about honour -
each meal we learn to how to give back
and we give back the necessary nutrients 
to keep the Earth in balance 
by respecting the boundaries of the worlds.
When an animal gives it's flesh,
we are given the honour to respect it's form,
and the responsibility of the release of it's Soul.
Food and nourishment are gifts, 
gifts returned with honour 
by showing the animal we respect it's life -
honour it's creation and respect it's return to creation.

The cooking is done Mongolian style.
The meat and bones are removed from the skin.
Special rocks are gathered from riverbeds 

and placed on the fire to soak up heat.
When the hot rocks hold enough fire-energy, 

the stones are layered inside the goatskin bundle.
The meat and herbs are added,

keeping the rocks company, 
absorbing their built-up energy -
then the whole-stuffed goatskin is sewn up.
This bundle is set over the flame -
the rocks cook the meat from the inside,
and the flames cook the whole bundle from the outside.

Today, the leftovers from last night’s feast 

will be somehow added to breakfast.
Most morning-meals are simple noodles in broth -

light meals always start the day.
The fire we are sitting around, 
is the cultural heart of this nomadic group -
the warmth of a fire always provides life, 
in food, story, song and sharing friendship.

A blanket of warm dreamtime memories 

wraps me in the glow of remembrance.
Time feels immeasurable,  

as it casts me in all directions, 
along unwinding threaded matrixes.
I travel backwards 
into the past, 
to fish for my collective memories.
Alluring smells of hot tea being made-ready
bring me back from the past into the present.
The milk tea seeps into my core 

rising heat to my skin and flush to my face.

I rewind my mind from spinning backwards 
by reversing my presence's directional flow -
it is in present time that my imagination is most powerful,
so I begin the day by weaving new legends.
We practice the meditation of augmenting presence -
I let go of any concepts of time,
and soak in the nothingness of eternal no time -
I feel One essence - 
no past, present or future, 
just now, all existing simultaneously as One experience.

I feel awake day to day in the confidence 
that each person carries a storyline from day to day.
Quiet instructions 
on how we can master awareness 
of our own life, and Space.
The Self-contained knowledge 
that each one of us
has a singular history. 
One's belonging and sense of value -
one's valuables 
that airlines can never lose, 
while we are in flight 
from the fantasy groundswell 
of Earthly illusionary hyperactivity.

The morning daybreak voices and predawn throats, 
are the Mongolian singers 
oiled to perfection for morning song.
Their bellies still full from last night's meal,
which provided the lubricants for them to reach their high notes.
It is very early but the singers are excited, 
and so they begin to sing very loudly -
my ears ring from their vibrational gift 
resonating within our community of feelings.

I enjoy the songs, 
while I share the workload.
We start planning what to prepare 
for today's lunch and tonight's dinner.
I hum as I mix, fold, blend and grind spices -
chop leek stalks and garlic shoots 
for fresh seasoning 
for mutton meat and vegetables 
that will be stuffed into dumplings.
These Khuushurr dumplings
have curative healing powers.
The dumplings are used 
to treat nervous system neurosis, 
and balance the air element, 
within the human body's five element circuitry.

I prepare some meat to boil, 
in exactly the same style, 
as Canadian First Nations,
and Native American peoples. 
Home style cooking -
boiling and roasting, 
roasting and boiling for hours,
to recreate moisture in the meat. 
When food is made with love, 
everyone's eyes are bigger than their stomachs.

I make Nan -
a non-Mongolian flat bread, 
topped with sesame seeds, 
cooked on open flamed fire.
No different from the fry bread, 
made all over Turtle Island in the Americas -
except baked.
No matter where I am in the world, 
the smell of bread baking,
always centers me.

Smell, the sense that keeps giving, 
the holistic sensation, 
that travels all hours, 
and never ceases to bring me home.
Home, after all is said and done, 
is a felt sensation in the body, 
a knowingness never lonely, 
always belonging, 
to a worldly band, 
of one and everyone -
a global tribe of one.

After all is said, I am brought home,
after all is said and done, 
I feel connected to my home -
the core of my Being, my center. 
Home, after all, is where the heart is.

~~ Other People's Fingerprints ~~
L. Olziitogs wrote;
"When I smell only longing from every person in the universe
My ever more tranquil heart understands that it is a fish's -
I am not merely human."

Sometime before 2007, Norval Morrisseau said; 
"The beaver was considered sacred by the Ojibway who, 
because of its meat and fur, 
regarded it as a source of life… 
The first beaver of the year that is caught by the Ojibway 
is always eaten in a manner that is considered sacred. 
Some Indians would spread a clean cloth 
and have the first beaver eaten on the floor, 
not on the table. 
All the bones are tied in a bundle 
in a clean cloth with ribbons and tobacco 
and are thrown in water. 
This is believed to bring good luck 
in catching beaver for the coming season."