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WHY BUFFALO DANCE, by Susan Chernak McElroy

Susan Chernak McElroy’s books about animals, nature, and spirituality are beautifully written and they stir the mind and soul alike. Her latest, WHY BUFFALO DANCE: Animals and Wilderness Meditations Through the Seasons (New World Library 2006) is no exception and was especially helpful to me. When you live in South Florida, it’s easy to miss the distinction between the seasons because it’s so subtle (if you didn’t grow up here). There is no snow, you can wear flip-flops most days (if you’re me and you work from home), and you don’t ever have to rake your lawn or chip ice from your windshield. Green is everywhere, all the time. Winter is brown and green, but still green.

The meditations and tales of WHY BUFFALO DANCE remind you that Winter is for resting and creating in your mind, while Spring is for play and the beginning of manifesting thoughts of creation. Summer is the ripening of the creation/the maturating of nature’s babies, and Autumn is the turning within and preparing for the stillness of Winter. The book also reminds you that you are part of that cycle and have your own internal seasons that beg you to respect them and act accordingly.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from Winter:

The words of Rolling Thunder, a Cherokee holy man, came to me. He had spoken once about the idea of timing, and about how the right timing of all things was so very important. All the good deeds in the world, he claimed, were useless if their timing was not right. And the right thing at the wrong time was not the right thing at all (p. 42).

It’s January 22. Winter. Nature tells us energy should be turned within. This is not the time when all of our hard work will come to fruition. It’s not the right time, yet. But it will be. The right time always comes as long as all the hard work was done.




The Gray Matter is that the author is not a vegetarian and has been criticized/judged by others for not taking that step. Please don’t make that the reason you don’t read her books.

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