Guest Contributions do not necessarily reflect my own opinions. I am trying to create an open forum. I reserve the right to include any submitted article or not, with or without saying why. If you wish to reproduce any of these writings or graphics you must ask permission of the author. At the bottom of each article will be contact information for the author when it is available.

This is the first article from Lucy Simons, we at the Nest hope it is one of many articles. After the article you can read Lucy's biography.
~Snow Owl, Spotted Wolf, Stone Woman



      I live in the Sierrita Mountains about fifty miles southwest of Tucson, Arizona. The view from here is different from that found in other climates, cities, and towns. The air is cleaner, there are no sirens or traffic sounds, and the land abounds with wildlife of all kinds. Coyotes, dozens of bird species, ground squirrels, mountain lions, lizards, snakes, rabbits, deer, and others too numerous to list.

      Living so far from town has given me a perspective almost impossible to see from crowded areas. The television is seldom on, we do not have regular newspaper or mail delivery, and that means my view is, perhaps, more objective than that of most Americans. One thing I have learned is that we now live in a world gone mad. It isn’t just the war in Iraq, terrorism on a global scale, the hungry and homeless in our own country, that tell me we live in a time of desperation. Most of it we’ve done to ourselves out of laziness, apathy, and greed.

      Bombarded with advertising, we have bought into the belief that we ‘deserve’ what we want the moment the desire hits, from the biggest gas-guzzler, to the newest house, to buy now and pay later. We have mortgaged our souls and strayed from the good road. Once, we understood that we must earn the things we desire and we lived with our world in balance, not taking more than necessary, no hoarding, but sharing with those in need. Then we let greed become our new religion.

      Politicians, scientists, professionals, and experts have convinced us we are not intelligent enough to make important decisions, so we have given the power over our lives to others that they might tell us how to live and what to buy. We made it easy for them because we were too lazy to think and act for ourselves. As long as we could have the newest toy, easy credit, and did not have to work too hard, we didn’t care what those same folks did to our earth, the water, air and our other relations. Their job was easy because we were too busy making money, piling up debt, buying stuff we didn’t need and tossing it in the trash when we got tired of it.

      However, the debts we created will eventually come due. Some we are paying for right now as the national debt continues to climb toward the stratosphere. What we do not pay will be a burden inherited by our children and grandchildren. They will inherit an earth with water too foul to drink, soil so contaminated it cannot sustain life, and air that is no longer breathable without the aid of a gas mask. Food will be scarcer, only the rich will be able to sustain themselves, and the rest of us will gradually die off. The only non-rich who will be able to live will be those the rich need to keep alive so they can have gardeners, housekeepers, cooks, and others necessary for them to maintain a life free from work and worry.

      There are things we can do to reverse the trend of destruction so prevalent today and I would like to talk about one of them. Our earth, once so clean and pure, suffers from an excess of garbage dumps. Most states have no recycle program, or the one in place is ignored by the majority. The result is a growing need to create centers for garbage to be dumped for future generations to worry about. Disposable diapers, for example, do not even begin to disintegrate until they have been in the ground 500 years or more. Cloth diapers are not only cheaper to use, they make excellent cleaning rags when too frayed to use on an infant. Babies are easier to potty train and train earlier with cloth diapers than disposables and, for those not wanting to wash their own, diaper services are less expensive than disposables, though cost more than doing it yourself.
We purchase items in throwaway containers with no regard for our planet. Pop bottles and cans are routinely tossed into a garbage can because it is too much trouble to recycle them. We use paper napkins rather than cloth, which can be washed and used again, and the list goes on.

       Our ancestors knew these things. They walked in balance with all life and created homes, clothing, utensils, and things of beauty with natural materials. Today we call those materials organic because when they are lost or dropped somewhere, they return to the earth to nourish the soil, plants, and small creatures. Even babies were diapered with organic materials from moss to dried grass depending on what was available in the area.

       If each of us listened to our ancestors and found one way to change our behavior, we can make a difference in the world we leave for future generations. Even the art we hang on our walls can be organic, or recyclable. That was standard for thousands of years and we are trying to bring back that earth-friendly method of creating beautiful and meaningful items for others and ourselves. Masks are one example of art made with organic materials.  

SPIRIT of THUNDER. Thunder brings rain to replenish the earth and humans. 20" by 20" Phil Kaufman.
All the materials in the masks are natural and no predator or endangered species bird feathers are used. The feathers come from human living accommodations and are gathered; the birds are not killed to gain their feathers.


      From coast to coast and border to border, masks were carved and created by the peoples of America. Some were used in spiritual ceremonies, like the Hopi Kachina dances. Others to aid in oral history, and still others, like those worn in the Cherokee Booker dance, to poke fun at those who were getting uppity and needed a reminder that they, too, were human. People of all nations have come to recognize that masks have meaning sometimes difficult to explain. Many masks today are created as wall hangings to bring a sense of spirit and beauty into homes.
SPIRIT of COMPASSION. A special ability of humans; giving and receiving. 20: by 20" Phil Kaufman.
All the materials in the masks are natural and no predator or endangered species bird feathers are used. The feathers come from human living accommodations and are gathered; the birds are not killed to gain their feathers.
      As a wise elder said many years ago: This we know ... The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites one family.

      Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it.

      Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.

Lucy Simons
(Lucy Oldwoman)


Lucy Simons is of Cherokee and German descent, and grew up learning, from her Great Grandmother, the importance of living in balance with all creatures who share our world.

She is the author of 13 Moons: A Spiritual Guide; Herstory of Women, a one-woman play written for and produced by Oregon Business & Professional Women, and two manuals for Oregon Polytechnic Institute for their career skills classes where she served as both teacher and Career Skills Coordinator.

While with Portland School District’s Indian Education Act Project as the Tutor Coordinator, Lucy served as the contributing editor to the program’s newsletter, Moccasin Telegraph. In addition, Lucy served as the contributing editor while employed with several corporations.

Shortly after moving off the grid into an earth-friendly dwelling, Lucy and her husband began teaching classes to those interested in a similar lifestyle through Tucson Open University, a community outreach organization utilizing unique approaches for bringing meaningful lessons to interested seekers. Through her association with Business & Professional Women, her employment with Portland Public Schools and Oregon Polytechnic Institute and her work in the field of living in balance with our earth, she has been interviewed on both radio and television programs in Arizona, Oregon, Washington, and radio programs in Texas and Florida.

Lucy is a member of the Society of Southwestern Authors where she serves as the chair of their quarterly workshops. She is currently working on several projects, including a natural foods cookbook. She practices walking lightly on the earth, tries to teach by example rather than words, and attends Native American spiritual celebrations and powwows whenever possible.

She believes that the wisdom needed to move ourselves from a consumer-oriented society to one of balanced life comes from many sources, including those she learned at the feet of her Great Grandmother who said, “Take only what you need, that is the Way.”

LUCY'S GREAT GRANDMOTHER, SARA VIAN, standing in front of the house in which Lucy was born.
Sara was known as a Medicine Woman and Healer.
History is filled with examples of cultures utilizing local materials to construct comfortable homes of many styles. The current mind-set that all homes must be created with “post and beam” construction has not always been the norm. It is Lucy’s hope that readers will discover how to eliminate that aspect of housing from their decisions and recognize we are fast running out of material for such buildings. At the same time, she seeks to impart usable information for readers to implement in their daily lives.

Visit Lucy's website at


Lucy also has a personal interest in the Jack Rabbit Jewelry website which features gourd masks (see pictures above) created by her husband Phil Kaufman and jewelry created by Randall Begay of the Navajo Nation (see below).

Randall's  pieces are unique and though he may make several  bracelets with the same theme, no two are exactly the same.

All of the materials in the masks are natural and no predator or endangered species bird feathers are used. The feathers come from human living accommodations and are gathered; the birds are not killed to gain their feathers.



Sterling silver & 12 K gold 1/2" band.
Randall Begay of the Navajo Nation.

Sterling silver & 12 K gold 1/2 " band.
Randall Begay of the Navajo Nation.


12 K gold inlaid on Sterling silver 3/8 inch wide band.
Randall Begay of the Navajo Nation.

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