Builder of Dreams

Builder of Dreams

Bull elk…wapiti from last autumn at the Cherokee Mothertown

In the gray light, before sunrise yesterday, I drove past the Cherokee Mothertown. On the sacred mound were two bull elks, sleeping…dreaming their wild elk dreams. Even though I didn’t stop and walk there, the image of those magnificent beings stayed with me all day. 

They remained with me as I walked along the nearby creek and as I worked on tasks and had a meeting online. The misty gray dream-like beings held me in their reality all day.

This photo is pretty ugh….but it was nearly dark, across the creek, with an iPhone.

This morning, as I walked along the creek in the dim light, I saw a large critter in the middle of the creek. It appeared to be a furry bulldozer. At first I thought it was an otter, but it was too big. Upon closer examination, a beautiful beaver emerged from the whitewater. 

I’m like a kid when animals show up in my life, but even my excitement didn’t scare the steadfast beaver as it swam and waded and pushed its way upstream. It never wavered from the journey.

Another low-light, iPhone image that makes me cringe (quality)

How amazing to be so focused and sure of yourself to push on, no matter what. 

Given the two mornings of amazing encounters, I decided to look up the spiritual meaning in my Ted Andrews book. My mouth fell open as I read both the beaver and elk passages.

Bull elk image I took last autumn during rut.

The elk remind me that I’m about to hit my stride and that at the beginning of a new project, to expect a period of growth of four to five years but I’ll have the strength for this new project. Then beaver, builder of dreams, reminds me to act on my dreams and make them a reality…it’s time for action.

Image by David Knapp, of Troutzone Anglers of Simone.

There’s no doubt…I needed to hear this. I’ve been playing with a new dream, one I want to build on for the next….yes, you got it… four or five years. I just spent a month off from my job…a forced layoff so the state university I work for doesn’t have to pay me benefits. I like the work and plan on staying there for the next five years. But it’s not a career or a vocation. 


I’m pretty big into doing what you love and living your dreams. I’ve done that for many years. But now, as I’m in the pre-retirement years, I’m enjoying giving back to the Cherokee tribe through the grants I help administer. I have zero complaints about the work…but it’s not the end-all gift I wish to leave the world sort of work.

So, in this forced layoff, I spent time thinking about what I’d like to do when I’m ready to ‘retire.’ Of course I’ll work, but what do I want to do? 

One of my favorite places to cast and wade

I reflected on the past year and three months…I’ve never grown so much and developed such trust in myself. Why? Fly fishing. Exploring. Wading. Going into the back country of the national park and connecting deeply with water, rocks, otters, trout, trees…it has changed my life. I’d love to share that with people…specifically with women who want to grow. 

Another place that has filled me with wonder.

As Lynette Monterio Musten wrote, “Never in my life had I thought I was capable of this; of being alone, of feeling safe, with myself, of being quiet.” This reflects my experience perfectly and I want to offer this to other women who want to learn how to do this.

I connected with a couple of guide schools and found what they are offering isn’t what I’m wanting to do. I don’t want to be a guide for grip-and-grin tourists. I want to work with women who want to develop their enjoyment of life through interacting with Nature. Guide schools I’ve explored are linear in their approach and that’s what most people are wanting, but I am creating a holistic approach to fly fishing.

My profile photo on FaceBook for the past couple of months….elk are a definite power animal for me.

In my dream, I integrate yoga, wading, fishing, casting, education (about insects, trout and the environment) and self-care skills. Rather than mold my dreams to other people’s trainings, I am creating a program of training that will support my dream. There are guides that are willing to help me learn and develop as a fly fisher, with my specific intentions, so I’ll be working with them. I’m already a yoga instructor, have worked with people in Nature as a naturalist, ropes course facilitator, scuba instructor, and trip leader. It’s a matter of developing my fly fishing skills, working more with guides, and continuing to do what I love…fly fish in the back country.

Photo by David Knapp, Troutzone Anglers, of Simone…David is helping Simone design her way forward as a guide

These two wildlife encounters feel really supportive of my dream. The elk remind me to be in sacred space and feel the strength of the Ancestors as they walk with me and strengthen my dreams. The beaver reminds me to believe in my dreams and work on them, build them to make them a reality.

Reach for the sky! Build your dreams!

Nature has always been my best teacher and early mornings, like these past two, remind me why I get up early and go walk the trails before most people are stirring. The magic of dawn and of Elk and Beaver Medicine give me focus and strength to support my dreams by taking the steps necessary to make them a reality. 

Step-by-Step we build our dreams

The guidance I keep receiving, when I journey inwards, is Step-by-Step is how this is accomplished. Gratitude fills me as I thank the Ancestors, the Elk and Beaver for bringing me this teaching. And now, I feel a bit of excitement as I take the beginning steps…of building my dream.

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