Blood and rain. Fish and rivers, and the sea. Bobcats and javelinas. Nereids and hamadryads. Mesquite wood and fire ants. Feral cats and grackles. Sunshine and sea winds. Peaches and figs, and cicadas. Dead soldiers and Spanish missions. Sand dollars and jellyfish. Live oaks and palm trees. Foxes and road runners, and rattlesnakes.
These are the jewels of my path, local to South Texas. This is my home, and these are my allies.
My path is a local one, where I concentrate on the needs of the lives lived around me. When I offer to the sea, it is on behalf of the humans here who know not the price for the bounty they take. It is to give thanks, and to celebrate the creatures and spirits who dwell here, those who make it possible for us to make a living here.
When I raise my arms to the Theoi it is in acknowledgment of the great tapestry They have woven around me; to celebrate Them and to honor Them, and to remind myself of all They hold dear. This place is alive. I am alive. And we are paired to live our lives together.
When I pour wine and blood onto the Earth, it is so the grain and corn will thrive. When I go to pick cotton out of its rugged husk, it is to feel what my ancestors felt, and to leave bits of myself in the field so they are not alone, and not forgotten. When I pick flowers for offerings, it is to remind myself of the beautiful things which were plucked, in their ripeness and in their prime, all for the sake of a world gone by.
Those times that I stood upon the widow’s walk of the white mansion, it was to tell the spirits of my people, “I see you. I remember you. The masters are gone, and I am here.”
And when I give milk, now even the milk of my own body, it is to assure the Land that I will nourish it, as it nourishes me and mine. Because I am the Land. I am the Rivers. I am the Sea and the Wind.
When I leave seed for the grackles, I know they are my brothers. When I leave meat for the night creatures, I know they are my sisters. When I fill the hummingbird feeders, and see the shrimp plants bloom, I know that my family is welcomed. We are the spirits of the Land, and we rely on one another.
When I wade in the salt water, I know that I am purified. And when I call to the Gods, I know that They are listening. Poseidon. Amphitrite. Apollon. Ares. Zeus. And Others still. They hear me. They know me. They favor me and mine.
And when I take my children to greet Them upon the sparkling sea water, I feel Their many blessings, and Their encouragement, as surely as I feel the wind blow. As long as we do our part to honor the Gods, the spirits, the Land, the Rivers, the Sea and the Wind, They will do Their part to keep us safe and fed. Together, we are the reciprocal bond. We are kharis. We are life. We are this world.
We are the Land of Two Rivers, and beyond.