The Near and the True
As near, as true to you as heart could pray.
Heart never hoped that one might be
Half of the things you are to me —
The dawn, the fire, the rainbow and the day" - James Fenton
While S and The Great Robinsky played the license plate game and...
I caught up on my own carschooling and listened to some talks of Ram Dass. I always wished that I could have heard him speak in the 60's, although I would have been a wee girl back then. Little did I know that some of these talks had been recorded...so as we traveled toward our family adventure, I traveled back in time. I had many aha moments along the way and mended some loose threads. My seemingly impossible wish had been fulfilled. How lucky is that?!?!
There's this old adage ,"What you see is what you get", and I can't stop thinking about that...about seeing.
If you were to roll into Cherokee, N.C. seeing only a commercial tourist attraction...well that's what you're gonna get. You'll get worn out motels, a plethora of souvenir shops and a drummer in every parking lot.
if you were to roll into that town seeing more...well THAT'S what you're gonna get.
You might pick up a few smooth river rocks to take home with you. If you're lucky, you'll find a gem at your feet.
If you're lucky you will attend the opening night of the pow wow and rise to your feet when the Eagle Staff is carried in by the elders. Hearing the ancient language will move you deeply... all that drumming and chanting and dancing will bring tears to your eyes. Your son might wish to dance too and you'll remind him that we need to be invited. If you're lucky, you'll lie down in the grass on your belly and take a photograph and record an audio sample.
After breakfast the next morning, you might wander into that tourist shop on the strip and if you take your time, if you look deeper, you might just find a small obscure shelf filled with handmade medicine and smudge sticks.
You might try on some beads when a Cherokee man walks up to you with a special necklace that was not on display. If you're lucky he might hand it to you saying, "this one" and your husband will buy it for you without question. "I made it myself", the Cherokee man says, and you'll thank him.
You might hear the soft voice of a talented Cherokee storyteller, and if you're lucky, he might speak to you in his native language, telling you that he is deer clan and somehow this will make sense to you.
You might wander off and find a Cherokee woman alone. You'll tell her of your interest in traditional medicine. "I can't teach you medicine", she'll say, "I can show you". You'll point to the plant near the pond and ask, "Nettles"? She'll nod and point to the one beside it. "Jewel Weed", you'll say. She'll smile softly saying, "Every plant has a purpose". If you're lucky, she'll share some of her wisdom.
If you're lucky you'll see the Quail Dance and if you watch carefully you might see a young man shape shift. You might wonder how a human could possibly move like that...like a bird in every way. You might even think you were dreaming, but if you scan the audience you'll notice that a few others had seen it too. If you're lucky, you'll remember the sacred question that you learned in Advanced Bird Language teachings.
You might find yourself in need of a vegetarian restaurant so you'll drive into Asheville for the day and explore the city your late father insisted you should live. If you're lucky, you'll feast on tofu sloppy joes at Laughing Seed...
and after the long wait you discover that you have just enough time to make a bit of funnery for a mighty girl whom you've never met.
If you're lucky, you'll find that co-housing community where you wish to build your nest. You'll stop to take a photo on the land and your little boy will say, "I want to live here".
You might wish to see a cherished friend who lives in the area and if you're lucky you'll discover that she lives 10 minutes from your motel. You might wish to bring your friend some treats from Green Life. If you're lucky you'll find juicy organic cherries and grapes, soft smoky cheeses, crisp GF crackers, smooth blood orange chocolate and refreshing raspberry lemonade. You'll make your way along the twisty roads to her mountain house, backtracking several times as you lose your phone connection and try to reunite her voice with your ear. If you're lucky she'll make you pesto pizza and take your boy to pick blackberries for dessert. You will watch hummingbirds while they're out wandering in the twilight.
You might find yourself wishing to hear more stories on your last day in town. If you're lucky, you'll discover that there is a bonfire scheduled on your last night even though they normally don't have them on Sunday. You will hear the Bear Song and listen to native flute under the stars. If your lucky, you'll be invited to dance on your last night. You'll join hands and dance around the fire and fall into your motel bed with your hair smelling like smoke.
If your lucky you will see
and the day.
If you're lucky, what you see (k) is what you'll get.
On the way home, I re-listened to naturalist Jon Young's lessons about bird language - a teaching series and practice I had started some time ago. He offers this tool (given to him by tracker Tom Brown Jr.) to trigger keen awareness and deep connection. He calls it, The Sacred Question which is really three questions. I offer it now to you...
- What did you observe?
- What is it telling you?
- What is it teaching you?