For the Dakota, the umbilical cord that once connected a newborn to her/his mother is never thrown away. Instead, it dried and placed inside a soft doe-skin sack. The hide is carefully cut and stitched into the shape of a small turtle or salamander. The bag is decorated with bead work and usually strung on a thin piece of hide for donning in ceremony. It is kept for the life of the individual, promising a long and blessed walk-on-earth. This new year, 2012, I am ending a season of my life and starting another. During the past six years in Europe, I have watched all that once sustained me—physically, mentally, emotionally and most importantly, spiritually—slowly dry up. Ever-swelling astral interference has made for a difficult weaning process. Still, I like to imagine the European cycle of time provides an ‘umbilicus’ that can be built upon. Perhaps, by comparison to the last few years, the coming ones will seem wrapped in softest doeskin. It’s as if inherent in the soul, endurance is assured—like somehow we all wear around us a supple turtle shell charm.