When Grandfather Coyote finished speaking, he retreated back into the shadowy woods. Dinner was called and the drizzling rain came heavier and faster. Little Girl knew she had to do something about her sad little tent and the puddles inside, so she grabbed a tarp, some twine, and a shovel, and ran to her tent site. This time, she slowed before entering the area, apologized whole heartedly for her rudeness before, and asked the plants and ground in the area if she could stay there.
The mood changed, from disconnection, to warmth and friendship. Little Girl stood, awestruck. The feeling saturated her. Approaching her tent she threw her tarp over the top, and worked the cords through the grommets and around the little branches of the blueberry bushes. As Little Girl wrapped the cords around the branches, she asked permission. The thought that returned was, “Yes, you may use my branches, but please remember to untie me when you leave.”
“Of course!” Little Girl promised as she worked. Next she began digging around her tent to help the water flow away. There were many roots from trees and bushes in the way, so she carefully worked with her hands to create little trenches through the roots without cutting them with her shovel. “I’m sorry to disturb your roots,” she said, “I promise to put the dirt back when I leave!”
Little Girl sensed the trees and bushes were all right with her and her promise. She felt a connection she had never felt before. She began to understand why some Native American’s call plants “the Plant People.” To Little Girl, the bushes and trees no longer felt like greenery in the background, the trees and bushes she spoke with felt very personal and friendly.
Later that night, when it was time for Little Girl to walk the path to her tent, she had a very different experience. The rain was falling, like the night before. It was very dark, like the night before. Little Girl had her flashlight, like the night before, but everything was different. No longer did the blueberry bushes grab at Little Girl’s coat and pants as she pushed by. No longer did the shadows jump and menace, frightening her. No longer did the tall pine trees moan a warning. Instead, Little Girl walked freely through the paths to her tent, without any trouble. The shadows were calm and still. Even the trees, swaying in the wind, rain falling in the darkness, seemed to be saying, “You’re home. Welcome. Come rest with us.”
Little Girl walked on in wonderment, amazed at the change. She got into her tent and settled in for the rainy, wet night, but this time Little Girl drifted off to sleep to the sounds of gentle rain playing softly to her sleepy head. What love and comfort she received by giving so little. Through her small acts of respect, and kindness, and awareness, of all that was around her, Little Girl discovered unexpected relationships that would remain with her, for the rest of her life.