Ther were a few references on the web to the re-discovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker last month, but today I cam across this reference (scroll down a little) quoted by Joy Harjo, as her cousin wrote about the meaning of the birds to the Muskogee people:
This spirit bird’s reappearance 60 years later reinforces a wise instruction by Native elders: ”Never give up on anyone.”
That admonition to never give up is an essential practice of holding space. In fact holding space, and the faith and dedication it demands, may be the most trusting thing one can do: imagining that the one who you are holding will eventually flourish, or return. If that wildlife refuge had never existed, a space held for the unconditional use of these animals, it’s likely the woodpecker would be gone from North America for good and the Muskogee songs and healing processes that go with it would have slowly disappeared too.
This is a lovely story about what it means to be connected to the world and what that connection demands of us.