Little did Yinney know as he searched for his special tree, the world was speeding up all around him. Mornings were no longer sacred for most people, the demands of making a living made the beauty of slow almost impossible. It now required a very intentional person if mornings were going to start with a focus on soul, rather than stress.
Yinney knew little of these things as he continued in his own intentional ways of slowly moving, conserving energy, yet very focused, very determined to find that special tree he would always return to when he needed to poo. It was his sacred duty to perform.
Sloths are rather unique when it comes to pooing. For one thing, they only do it once a week, every seven days. The slow metabolism that makes a sloth a sloth is key to this once a week function. Another peculiarity is they always come back to the same place to do their job. It is at the bottom of a particular tree they have selected. It is as if that place becomes their bathroom.
Some sloths do poo in the air letting it fall to the ground, but Yinney was not of that way. His people had always put a high priority on the sacred, and the poo should not be dropping out of the sky and landing all about, but should be blessing the chosen tree with nutrients and fertilizer, so it continues staying healthy and strong. His mother, Minney, had been fertilizing the same tree for many years, and it was one of the greatest trees in the jungle. Yinney intended to do the same. It was of the old ways, the way he had been taught.
He had no clock telling him time, but he knew three days were gone and only four were left to find his special tree and lay claim to it, but a sloth did not know the meaning of “hurry up”. The tree he now clung to simply would not do. He did not like the color of the green leaves, and they tasted funny. No, this certainly would not do. So as he hung upside down looking all about, he suddenly froze in position, barely breathing at all! There was Jag! Straight below! Would the jaguar see him and try climbing the tree?
No, not this time. Muscles on the sleek cat rippled as it slunk slowly along, on the prowl, always hungry, but Yinney was invisible, not moving, and high in the sky. That heavy cat could never have climbed out upon the skinny limb he was hanging from. He knew he was safe, but he worried about four days from now, when he would need to poo. He had to find the right tree in a safe place.
But in the land of man storm clouds were brewing Yinney knew not of. In a race of people who prided themself on speed, efficiency, and multitasking, an order was being placed. Even as Jag passed below and Yinney clung to his tree for safety, at that very time an order for wood was being finalized. This order would be the first coming from a recently purchased territory in the Amazon. “What a sweet deal it had been,” the man bragged over the phone to his friend.
Mother had warned him about the neighborhood bully, the killer known as Jag, but she had no knowledge of the danger of man. She had seen humans a few times, but they never seemed dangerous. This man’s name was Jerry. He owned a lumber company. It had passed down through the family, started with his grandpa, but had remained just a small family business until Jerry came on board.
Jerry had plans. He wanted to make money, as much as he could. He was willing to work hard and smart, constantly searching for new and better deals. It didn’t hurt either that his area was entering a boom-time. Everyone said it was so. “Jerry, you lucky son of a gun. That mill never paid off for your granddaddy, or your father, but you are now in the right place at the right time,” Jerry was ready. He was hungry and enjoying his success. His income had already doubled just since last year, and this was only the beginning. He rose hungry every morning ready to rush out to the hunt.
For a sloth, his normal view of the world is upside down. If Yinney had known of Jerry, there would have been nothing he could say that would have convinced Jerry to slow down and reconsider. He worked all the time. His wife and two kids hardly saw him until he came home exhausted at the end of his long days. But he told himself everything would be alright, one more year of this kind of income coming in and we move into a fine house with a big swimming pool. Everyone will be happy.
Yinney had a view of sacred ways, but what is sacred to man anymore? Is anything? Not life, or God, or family, or honor? Only money? Only having more stuff? Bigger and better stuff in the pursuit of happiness?
But what brings happiness? Is it material things? Science is proving more every day that beyond a certain point of our needs being met, success and money do not bring happiness. Yinney sees the world upside down, but has a better understanding of what real happiness is than Jerry ever will. If only he knew there was a threat greater than Jag, a race of people who worshiped speed, not the glow of slow. The day would come when he would know. As if the jungle wasn’t enough of a danger in itself, there was a jungle of a different kind, and as a predator city, these cities were consuming the world.
Yinney once again began his slow journey, satisfied that Jag had moved on, his long arm began slowly reaching for another branch. His movements were almost as if not moving at all, almost hypnotic in its’ slow flow. Staying invisible in the sky. There was no doubt in his mind, a fine tree he would find, and at the end of seven days he would bless the tree with his poo. From that time forth the tree would be his. It would be his 7th day tree. He would always be there again every seven days, for as long as he lived.
(The story of Yinney began 1/20/19 and belongs to Don Allen, alias: Grandpa White Feather.)