Who Could Ask For More?

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
In today’s world it may not be politically correct, but I grew up playing that childhood game of cowgirls and Indians, knowing full well that if you were to mix in a little gypsy girl with the cowgirl and the Indian, shake it, then bake it, you would have me: a rural farmgirl. I, like many of my farmgirl friends, do not really “fit” into any one mold. I am as eclectic in my thinking and in my interests as I am in the blood that runs through me.

Oftentimes I have found myself a little jealous of friends who have one nationality or one deep love and who are able to wrap up their self-description into one seamless title and tie it with a bow. I love listening to stories of their rich heritage, with their family roots dug deep into the soil of life, and their traditions that, unlike mine, are un-fragmented when laid out for all to see. Nevertheless, my story is what it is, and that is why, I suspect, I love the title “rural farmgirl.” It is the only title big enough to encompass all that I am, the only place I know of where you can add those three ingredients and come up with 100 percent of anything.
Those who know me personally know full well, that I am mostly bohemian in both my bloodline and in my nature, having received that trait from both birth parents. That leaves about 1/4 of me cowgirl (having adopted that from those people I so admired in the little town where I grew up), and 1/4 Native American (which not only runs through my veins but also through a lifelong heart connection with a couple whom I have known as long as I remember).
I lovingly refer to John and Sarah as my Godparents, believing that they came into my life when as a young child I needing a safe haven. I used to escape to their home when things in mine became too much to handle. Their home is still the place I can run to when I need to be still and listen to the cries of my own heart. A place, where I can go to find “me” as I trust my own voice there, as there, the outside world is silent.
On a trip through wheat country this summer, I was having a particularly bad day. Un-able to head to Sarah and Ate’s (“father” in the Lakota language), I found myself on the road desperately trying to deal with some hard things that life had thrown my way, things that had taken root and were now sitting there, because I was either unwilling or simply unable to spend the time and energy to deal with them. While slowing down to pass through a small town along the route, out of nowhere a badger crossed the road, right there in the middle of town. Now I do not live in this community, but I cannot image that badgers crossing the road are a common occurrence.

Yet there he was, in his entire splendor. Through the tears that had been streaming down my face, I was able to find the humor of such a sight and grateful for the distraction. What are the chances, I thought. Without hesitating, I pulled my car to a stop, snapped a few pictures and promptly called “Ate” to see what it could possibly mean.
Through our conversation, I learned that the Native American tradition believes that each person has nine different animals that will accompany him or her through their life, acting as guides. Different animals come in and out of our lives depending on the direction in which we are heading and the tasks that we need to complete along our journey. Ate went on to explain that having a badger as a totem symbolizes courage, fearlessness and tenacity. On this given day, the part of the description of the totem that “spoke” the most to me was, “A badger is a remarkable digger and can get beneath the surface easily. This ability ties the badger to the mysteries of life where creation is stored. It also symbolizes a strong connection with plants and animals and can teach how to align with life both above and below ground.” It was a message I needed to hear.
Whether one chooses to believe in Native American traditions, old folklore, wives’ tales or superstitions is a personal choice. On that day, on that road, I needed the message that one little badger brought to me, a reminder that I had the courage to go down the road I knew I had to go down. I needed to submit myself once again to the criticism that comes with speaking up for what I know to be true risking yet again the acceptance and love of the people I have spent a lifetime seeking.
I needed that little cheerleader, dressed as a badger, to tell me that I could be fearless and not buckle, even as my heart was breaking. Mostly I needed to be tenacious about the things in my life that matter the most; I needed to be able to fight the good fight, in order to live my life without regret and with the integrity that I desire.
I have come to love that little badger and the fact that he is associated in a positive way with creation. I have learned that having the life I want to live is under my control. I get to be the writer of my story, but it does take courage, fearless living and tenacity to write it and to edit it the way I want it to be written. I cannot write the script for what others may say to me or about me. Nor can I control their ability or inability to love me. I can however, control how I choose to react to it and how much weight I allow it to carry in my day-to-day thoughts.
While in Chicago recently, MaryJane, having heard the story of my badger, picked up a stuffed animal and some organic skin care products for me from a company called, “Badger,” teasing me that I could apply to be their spokesperson. The “little guy” sits at my desk as an everyday reminder that I have him as a totem. He makes this rural farmgirl happy just knowing that he is there for me to call upon whenever I need to.
It is, in moments like these that I am thankful for the blessing that comes with being a hodge-podge of nationalities and experiences. Each thread of my life woven together as tightly as a cowgirl’s horse blanket, yet as connected to the world around me as my native fathers would expect. All while being as free-spirited as any gypsy girl could hope to be. Who could ask for more?

  1. Charlotte says:

    Rene’ – again you touch a special part of my heart! I hope to find my "badger". Thanks for the inspiration you give us every day!

  2. Teresa Pearson says:

    Dear Rene, I too am a mixture of heritage, with no one nationality to call my own. I have enjoyed reading your Rural Farmgirl Blog as I am a rural farmgirl myself. I have been having some struggles in my life the last year and recently finding MaryJanes Farm and your blog has helped me get through a lot of it. Thanks so much and keep up the good work. I will be watching for more help and inspiration.

  3. Gary says:

    Rene’… Thank You for this welcome break from the troubles of the day…
    You express feelings through words so very well, and this is a touching and poingnant Bloggie.
    Your writing captures a slice of life and transported my mind to that far away place… well done, and today… very timely.
    GodSpeed to Y’all…!
    in Tampa

  4. Reba says:

    It is a hard thing, to open our hearts for love, acceptance, and dealing honorably, to find hurtful things or words. But, it shows that you are open. I have found that I have to remain open and vulnerable or I cannot experience the joy and love of life. And that is very tough. But I make the choice to stay open. It is good to hear of how encouragement comes to others. I have had experiences similar to yours and have found at times that I needed those reminders sitting around for comfort, like your little badger.

  5. carol ashby says:

    Thank you to the "Great Spirit" for giving you the writers gift of the heart, insightful wisdom, humor and a forum to share this gift to those of us who need it most.
    I’m going to cut out a picture of a badger and keep it with me as a reminder that I don’t have to carry all the weight alone.
    – Thanks

  6. bonnie ellis says:


     I too am Native American. My totems have been herons, but lately they have been eagles and hawks. I don’t know the true meaning of these in Cherokee but it gives me strength and courage when I see them. I find comfort in nature. I know you are blessed by being able to write from the heart.


  7. O'Dell says:

    Hi Rene..I am also of mixed heritage..Portugese, French,Swedish, Irish, Welsh,native American going way back. When I was a little girl I often dreamt of doves. I did not understand why until I went into therapy in my late 30’s, to discuss my abusive childhood, and marriage.During this time, I started dreaming of the doves again, but also saw wolves everywhere. The doves seemed to be protecting me, and wolves gave me strength. I also believe they lead me to a better life..as I now have a wonderful man and beautiful grandbabies to love. I think your totems will help you thru the hard times, too. You seem to have a very giving heart….which will be a big blessing to all you gather into your life. Thank you for being here for us!

  8. Mary Jane says:

    Thank you (from a different Mary Jane that lives in FL)

  9. On another day, the little badger may not have been something you even took notice of, or he simply might not have been around for you to see. I don’t believe in coincidence.

    I needed to be lifted up some years back…feeling weary and discouraged. I didn’t want to ride, but we had to. While out I felt better in the fresh air…and then I spied the eagle feather and the verse about renewed strength…’and they shall mount up as eagles’ came to me in a whisper.

    I do know how you feel. Encouragement can come from any direction…just like love. shery jespersen

  10. suzy says:

    Both sides of my family are of Scotch/Irish and Native American decent. I am a true believer that people and things come into our lives for a reason. I have been really busy lately,but I am so glad I took time to read this blog. Thanks ,Blessings to you and Love to all, Suzy, Texas

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