I went to him quiet with a notion to jump in the lake and drown , a sonnet of redemption playing for miles and miles and miles upon my tired face , my first cry opening a flame which the glass of water he gave me could not extinguish . I went to him alone , alone like pregnant camels are when left unattended . After listening when I told him what happened , William read from the Quran , ” In the name of God , merciful to all , compassionate to each “. I was scared , telling a lie as to coming here , even more so not divorced yet , actually being in his apartment , the cushions aligned , fine carpets outspread , the goblets all gleaming in the window green reflecting over Garfield Park where I take my children swimming and where he had first embraced me under a tree . I was frightened by the news flashing over the screen of the murder / suicide report of Christy , who I had grown up with , found dead by her lawyer husband , her naked body entwined around her lovers in a bed on the east side of town . She had looked at me only two days ago as she was leaving and I stood to enter the psychologists door , her blue eyes watchful and violet with vulnerability yet something paradoxically courageous in her direct gaze , a watery gaze staring straight into mine creating with it a strange sense of motion , a tide like ebb with an epilogue so swift , withholding almost as much pleasure as it yielded . Her search for Neverland a pandemonium furious and fearful leading her … and leading me too . Feeling the thud of an elevator , I was scared of the thirteenth floor . Would I spend nights in heaven hanging with the dead ? Thunder turned into the calm deep voice of Will reciting again , breaking an opening thru the clouds hovering in my mind . ” He it was who spread out the earth and placed in it towering mountains and rivers . Of all fruits he planted therein two pairs . He causes night to envelope day . In these are wonders for a people who reflect “. I was scared , scared to even think about what had happened or what I was doing . Where was God , where was the promised land , the land of the human skeleton , a skeleton of white bone , the meat of dead bodies picked at by crows and wild dogs , a body of muscles , organs , ovaries , lungs , the sound of the human heartbeat , the sound of a kiss , the wind over the sea , the call of the whale , the humming of the flying creatures , the long glide of the water swan , the sunrise on Lake Pontchartrain , the plink of the tiny tracks of the Plover bird , the blue avatars ? Where did it all exist ? Did it live on the Golden Record in the sky , pulsing behind a veil in the cosmos or was it here on the dirt path behind the narrow street of naked judgement in my neighborhood , the path into the Nature Center where dew like pearls on the grassy moss and branches reminds me of my children’s tenderness , my love for them always heading ” straight into the shining sun “. The air speaks falling leaves surrounding Will and me as I leave him standing still with restraint , a heroic eagle in the city . I pass a holy shrub growing which many years later a friend would compose a poem about and I hear a voice coming from the bed where my friend lay dead , telling a tale like poetry from her shroud , a tale that can still be true even if it’s not accurate like the creation story happening in only seven days . I walk into my house but I remain scared , scared and helpless , my secret scared about the tiny breath inside of me that no one knows , turning and turning and turning . I write these words to you if in heaven we don’t meet . . .
Her name should have been Francie ( my mamas name ) . I made a huge mistake and gave my only daughter the wrong name . I don’t want my memory to fail me now , not now , not when my middle sister Juliet is so terribly broken with grief , afraid of everything that could be . Death always scared her , words like ” heaven ” do too . There are three of us , three daughters first and then my brothers . My mother knew how I expected her to one day live with me . She understood the culture of South America especially after seeing the movie , ” Like Water for Chocolate ” and becoming aware of the Spanish tradition dictating the youngest daughter care for her mother in old age . Her favorite scene was when the youngest sisters heat and passion transfers to her older sister , who overcome with lust , takes a shower outside only to be carried off naked by a revolutionary soldier on horseback . My older sisters were tough competition and we fought for how long she would stay with each of us and just how many movies she could watch . But I’m the smart one ( buying her a one way ticket so she would stay longer ) yes , me the so called smart sister despite the fact that I took ayahuasca in the deep forest with the shaman along a strange river in Columbia where Gabriel Garcia Marquez lived ( my mamas favorite writer ) . I told her that story again and again , embellishing it more and more whenever she asked , which was often . I earned a masters degree in neuroscience , with a career in the research department of a university and my mama always delighted that by looking at me , one would never know these puzzling facts . So how did I make that mistake with my daughters name ? I forgot the visions in forgetting the romance of my mothers life . I forgot that her brain heard whispers from her soul and that the imprint of her cell was the same as mine . ” Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again , though lovers be lost love shall not , and death shall have no dominion ” ( Dylan Thomas ). I won’t forget again , not now , not with the black eyes of my daughter looking at me with my mothers emotion , eyes , the artifacts of her grandmothers mystery .
For my youngest daughter
A piano , white playing in the pavilion
You take me luminous
A dance of digging abduction
into the cave
tunneled window of complexion
a chateau under Cemetary Roads
embroidered dress of loves cremation .
Burning , no goodbye in your eyes atmospheric
You lift me , a doves flight
a wind entangled frock , ecclesiastical
into the cave
with limbs and mouth ethereal
holy legends identical
flying thru the sky of Immanuel .
Boats to build a shrine my prince
floating on River Hermitage
from the void my first time
tender keys of ivory
I haven’t left your bed since . . .
Credits : Light photo by Laura Sielaff … White Flower by Leanne Cole Photography … White wing from PhotoAllegory of Sarolta Ban … ( I apologize for not knowing the artist who took the beautiful opening photo )
for you Dan . . .
Wednesday , 9-20-1972 , Chris’ journal
Once again that verbally abused box woke us at 5:30 . I was up first at 6 a.m. The alarm went off , but Buzz continued to sleep . Dale screamed , “Buzzy” and I leaned over and prodded him simultaneously . Buzz jumped , hit his head on the cabin wall and finally said something about getting up , but fell back to sleep when I produced some lame excuse about it being too rough outside . Finally things began to happen . I threw the cushions out into the cockpit , opened the blower port , pumped out the bilge , took photos of the boat from the dingy and took down the cockpit flyer ; all before a breakfast nobody liked . It was instant oatmeal , instant coffee and a ration of bacon this morning . After breakfast Dale and I washed the dishes and then I accompanied Buzz and Dave to a Standard station rest room . On our return we found the genie sheets out and Dale working on the gear shifter . He found the adjustment device , but lacked the necessary tools to complete the repair . While the other two busied themselves within the cabin , Dave and I stowed the small genie and rigged the jib . We weighed anchor at 8 o’clock and sailed out of the harbor called Sleeping Bear . We had another traumatic experience with overloaded sails before we left Sleeping Bear . We seem to have found the solution in letting the sails out , spilling the wind . For this contribution to our collective knowledge we thank Dale . I freely admit my fear of the knockdown situation and find myself unable to relax ; something to overcome . We are making great time ; probably around 6 knots . We should make Charlevoix by 4:30 p.m , then showers and supper shortly thereafter . And what a supper ! We decided to splurge since we would be here awhile ( till Saturday ). We were in high spirits so we hit the Between Decks Bar , consuming 4 or 5 pitchers of draft beer and having a high old time ! Wow !
It’s too late to turn back for Buzz too . Hoping to make it to Charlevoix by nightfall , he will party with his mates but feels like they need ” watching over “, often thinking they are immature in their risk taking behavior . He understands history , his major after his first year of college . The lake is calm and opens wide as he takes the helm navigating northwest with a sound knowledge about sailing unlike his crew .
His mind drifts like the white clouds shadow , a shadow of false tranquility , a shadow smoking the clearness of the earths day as he worries about Dave’s possibility of being drafted with his low draft number of 36 . With his mind now crossing a continent under this shadow of history to the war that makes the earth a swelling and uncertain ocean causing seasickness for his generation , he is thoughtful . Somewhere , a captain tosses in bed , his comrades wet and waiting in the slime of the hot jungle terrain for the enemy to appear under the musky rain of Vietnam … surrounded by buried hearts in the piles of mud near the slow flowing river tributaries . He prays Dave never hears from the draft board .
” Buzz ? Are we on course “?
Buzz is brought back from his spell and the annoying moth that has been flying in a circle around him , invading his sleep last night while it searches for the moons light in order to fly straight , now invades the cabin . ” Get the fishing net ! … that moth won’t leave me alone “! He knows this will make everyone laugh , being aware they think him a stern skipper !
He must remain cautious of the Ventures direction . The lack of trust in his crew mates sailing knowledge haunts him like a dripping faucet at the back of his mind where a vision of ” The Poseidon Adventure ” , being pushed to her limits , is hit by a tidal wave and sinks , sinks to the deep , sinking into oblivion on the screen of Buzz’s mind .
Feeling almost love for Chris , Dale and Dave , he is thankful for his escape to the sea from his mothers dominance in her house of only males . . . his dad silent , silent like the bored students his dad teaches .. .his younger and older brothers , rebellious of a females control in their male majority existence . He controls this ship now , but knows he had better be less bossy – it is not the time for that . His memory turns back to his older brothers radio in the garage back home where he first heard the sound of rock music and the rhythm of the Byrds singing the hit , ” Turn , Turn , Turn ” . . . Dave , Chris and Dale , his brothers now . . .
” To everything , turn , turn ,turn
There is a season , turn ,turn , turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven “.
He sites the lighthouse of Charlevoix , his reading of the charts perfect , the grey skeletal tower like the far away tower across Gods earth looming like that moth over Danang Port in Nam Djnh Province of Vietnam .
” Land mates , perhaps a bar “!
The seagulls , the flying insects , the jumping fish – all into the sky – the eye of the underwater squid awaits them in the yet distant reef off Florida where a world of hallucination exists – too late to turn back now …
” You’re the strangest person I ever met she said and I said you too and we decided we’d known each other a long time “.
Tuesday , 9-19-1972 , Chris’ journal
The alarm was set for 5:30 and we got up at six to discover a fine offshore breeze , east , shifting to southeast later in the day . A remarkable breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon really set the world straight . Dave and Dale woke with a heavy dew soaking their bags . Dale looked completely miserable ; he got in around 3:30 a.m. We cleaned up the cabin and cast off with amazing proficiency . The stiff easterly breeze pulled us along handsomely as we left Manistee at 7:00 a.m.
Last night I had found out from a neighbor on board the ” A-lur-ing ” who in town could help us with our radio problem . So I called a Mr. Bob Cederhouse who told me the part would have to be ordered . We didn’t want to stay in Manistee for the rest of the week so he suggested Fairport in Charlevoix . Dale hadn’t gotten around to fixing the gear shift yet , so we still have troubles with it . Just as we were crossing the mouth of the Platte River , the wind increased in speed and three times I was obliged to turn into the wind ; the third time almost being knocked down . We called all hands , Dave and Dale being below , to take down the small genie . Buzz suggested I jibe to come about but failed to loosen the small genie sheet which almost caused another knockdown . By the time he finally loosed the sheet , Dave and Dale were pulling down the small genie while the boat bucked on two to three foot seas . Holding it into the wind , the sail was secured and we turned on the engine in order to come about . Another sailboat , also bound for Florida , had been sailing under power with her main up . She took her main down and headed for the Platte River mouth . Around 9:30 a.m. We took down our main and powered through a grey morning . ( later that day we discovered it was Arcadia , not the Platte ). I took a nap shortly thereafter and woke up in Frankfort . We began sailing again off Point Betsie .
We anchored in Sleeping Bear Bay , out first anchorage , and ate grilled hamburgers ashore . We cut our three-hundred-foot anchor line into three one-hundred-foot lengths , and whipped the ends above while Dave and Dale went fishing in the dinghy . Everyone is tired ; Dave is meeting Kristy Z. on shore and I’m going to sleep outside . Buzz is plotting the course for Charlevoix . We heard the registrations on the way . We’re missing the charts for Huron and Georgian Bay . We are also in need of a light list , crystals for channel 12 or 14 and a pair of field glasses .
Sleeping Bear Bay : love interlude
She remembers him . His eyes clear , he doesn’t hide , she likes him , she remembers him from the Glen Lake church both their families attend in the summer . She is surprised at his bold phone call , they’ve never spoken before . She now walks toward the fire on the beach , he stands alone , his hair still wavy thick and long with a look intense and youthful . So much has yet to happen .
” Hey Kristie “! He yells as she approaches , hoping she doesn’t notice the little struggle in his throat .
Kristie is gazing about as she approaches close now and with the wind diagnosing her hair , releasing in front of him a sweet scent of perfume as she raises her arms to put her sweatshirt hood up .
” Here … I brought a blanket to sit on “. She sits , her long bare legs glistening from the firelight as she pulls her skirt over them . The shoreline waves break and retreat .
” Is that your boat ?” , looking out at the moon lit bay .
” Yeh , and the dinghy here on the beach “.
” Where did you call me from “?
” I walked into town to the Standard Gas Station “, Dave responds remembering the neon sign on Glen Arbors deserted Main Street . And as they slowly begin to talk there exists suddenly a consoling rhythm to their words as if the earth was new once more and the sea comforting , and hours drift by and tranquility and excitement merge at the ease of their conversation , the eastward orbit of the earth propelling them towards the night at a faithful one thousand miles an hour . They embrace , the kiss enticing . She will always remember him and this horizon , a horizon indistinct with possibilities .
The morning is about to dawn .
” Kristie ? … write me “.
” Yes Dave , yes “.
The dinghy is loosing it’s hold on the deserted beach , the surf howls it’s laughter across the smooth stones and they wave , Dave and Kristie , they smile , they wave again , they hope .
Dave climbs aboard the ” Venture ” , his mates asleep , he hears music wafting in the twilight zone on the new morn breeze crowded with flying seagulls …music from Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose , …
” Too Late To Turn Back Now ”
I found myself wanting her
At least ten times a day
You know it’s so unusual for me
To carry on this way .
I’m telling you I can’t sleep at night
Wanting to hold her tight
I’ve tried so hard to convince myself
That this feeling just can’t be right
And I’m telling you .
It’s too late to turn back now
I believe , I believe , I believe , I’m falling in love
It’s too late to turn back now
I believe , I believe , I believe , I’m falling in love .
I wouldn’t mind it
If I knew she really loved me too
But I hate to think that I’m in love alone
And nothing that I can do .
Photo of girl with seagulls by Lara Zarkoul Photography
Alas , it is only now , after posting excerpts from four chapters , that I’ve written this prologue .
Five years previous to Dave , Chris , Buzz and Dales sailing trip from the Great Lakes of Michigan to the Bahamas , Chris’ mother dies – he is only 14 years old . After reading his journal , I hear his mother calling out like a planetary song , to her beloved son from eternities realm thru these passionate lyrics of Bob Dylan’s . Dale and Chris drown together in Florida , five months into their dreams . Beatitude Point is the adventure story of four young men , friends , crew mates , united with the gleam of innocence still wet on their brow in the tumultuous year of 1972 , united strong on a journey still continuing over the galactic mysteries of the vast and mighty sea .
A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall – Bob Dylan
Oh , where have you been , my blue-eyed son ?
And where have you been my darling young one ?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s hard , it’s hard , it’s a hard , and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rains a-gonna fall .
Oh , what did you see my blue eyed son ?
And what did you see my darling young one ?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway with diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept dripping
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s hard , it’s a hard , it’s a hard , and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rains a-gonna fall .
And what did you hear my blue-eyed son ?
And what did you hear my darling young one ?
I heard the sound of the thunder that roared out a warnin’
I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin’
I heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’
I heard one person starve , I heard many people laughin’
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who died in the alley
And it’s hard , it’s a hard , it’s a hard , and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rains a-gonna fall .
Oh what did you meet my blue-eyed son ?
Who did you meet my darling young one ?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl , she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded in hatred
And it’s a hard , it’s a hard , it’s a hard , and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rains a-gonna fall .
And what’ll you do now , my blue-eyed son ?
And what’ll you do now , my darling young one ?
I’m a-goin’ back out before the rain starts a-fallin
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are a-many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
And the executioners face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly , where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color , where none is the number
And I’ll tell and speak it and think it and breath it
And reflect from the mountains so all souls can see it
And I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin
But I’ll know my song well before I start singing
And it’s a hard , it’s a hard , it’s a hard , and it’s a hard
It’s a hard rains a-gonna fall .
Dedicating in loving memory to Dale and Chris … Whose youth is their final episode .
Painting by William Bouguereau … ” Pieta ”
Photos by Aela Labbe Photography
” They tell me I must wade into waters , where I will soon drown . Before I march in , I leave this on the shore for you . I pray you find it , sister , so you will know what was in my heart as I went under “. Khalid Hosseini
Chris’ Journal entry : September 16 , 1972
“I arrived three hours late for our departure and was much concerned with the possibility of hard feelings . These fears were soon dispelled and I found my friends benevolent . Our first day proved itself to be a sailing thrill tempered by unsettled stomachs and big heads . Dave and I suffered some discomfort because of the previous nights activities .
We left the port of Holland , Michigan at 11:00 am – sighted only two other sails and a cabin cruiser during the four and a half hour cruise to Grand Haven arriving at 3:35 pm . After docking , we confronted the various problems of supper , a satisfying if not epicurean feast . Hot dogs with carrots and peas washed down with some High-C orange filled the cavities that had been emptied by reverse peristaltic motion .
Dave worked on the radio antenna and we heard our first weather forecast ; gale warnings with 35 mph winds and 12 ft. seas . Needless to say we spent our time securing gear , putting on extra dock lines , trimming our new hatch boards and caulking last minute holes . I decided to shower and the others went out on the pier and came back describing nature in awesome terms .
It’s poker tonight and a welcome early sack time . I feel like calling home to let them know everything’s ok . I’m afraid I left an impression of disillusionment “.
1972 marks a black year in history , not only because of the continuing Vietnam war or the escalation , like strong currents , of the Nixon scandal , but also a blackness due to the use of terrorism entering the sports realm like a huge octopus with the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes by Arab gunmen in September , which now links together an invisible fishing line hooking deep into the events of 9/11 . Gods world of ’72 is in turmoil … a tide of turmoil where sea anenomes are beached into colorless form : “Bloody Sunday ” in Northern Ireland , a Lufthansa jet hijacked by Palestinians , General Idi Amin beginning his reign of terror in Uganda , earthquakes of 7.7 destroying entire cities in Turkey and Nicaragua and in the Andes Mountain range , 16 survivors from a plane crash are rescued after practicing cannibalism and the following benediction is heard at a random High School Graduation ceremony :
May God bless you with discomfort ,
At easy answers , half-truths and superficial relationships ,
So that you may live deep within your heart .
May God bless you with anger
At injustice , oppression and exploitation of people ,
So that you may work for justice , freedom and peace .
May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer from pain , rejection , starvation and war
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them
and turn their pain to joy .
And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in this world
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done .
In the name of the Father
and The Son
and the Holy Spirit
The music and lyrics of Bob Dylan’s ” My Back Pages ” is heard from the distant shore , ” Ah , but I was so much older then , I’m younger than that now “.
There is a dream , found in the attic of a memory . It is of my brother . The memory is vague like the weak signal on a radio dial . The days previous , listening in on two separate conversations , one from his daughter at a family party and the other from my sisters ‘ husband at the Leelanau coffee shop , these conversations become the rope that knotted the year 1972 to 2014 and tightened my consciousness to the mystery of the boats ” point of sail “.
They name her ” Venture “, a 28 foot Larsen sloop built in 1958 , and the small dinghy floating behind , ” the orange peel “. The orange fruit an ancient symbol of the sun , a symbol too of ” good luck “. Two names of paradox , one meaning to go somewhere unknown and dangerous with risk involved and the other ” good fortune “. It was to become a poignant paradox and one that would loosen that rope from the sail boats safety of the suns’ warmth , into the depths of death.
Chris , Dale , Buzz and my brother Dave , each being 19 or 20 years old then , boarded their shared vessel on Lake Michigan , after waiting for Chris who was usually late . It was just past noon on September 16 , 1972 , Venture bobbing gently in Holland Harbor under the protection of ” Big Red ” lighthouse . The sounds of Deep Purple could be heard rockin in the background with ” Smoke on the Water “, as a large Bon voyage group of family , including cousins and many friends cheered them on . The mood was festive and some there would return to find their destiny together 40 years later with two of them embracing the long return of young love that had its beginnings that blue grey sky autumn day , a momentous day after the beginning of the biggest political scandal in modern times broke , Watergate , with Grand Jury indictments .
To be continued …
photograph of girl in water by Lara Zarkoul Photography
Now living in a tent , upon awakening , under my cloud-like pillow of feathers , I find a poem written on pink tissue paper , folded so carefully like my mothers floral batiste handkerchief . I hear Baby Blue Samsonite ( Sammy ) sigh , sigh long as she sits in the far corner enjoying the canvas walls gentle movement . . . I often wonder just what she does while I sleep … especially now in the tent ! She holds , like a drawer , all my clothes neatly placed in piles of cotton , silk and wool and yet lately I find them in a confusing mess as if she loaned them in the night to someone else , with my green vintage dress ( the dress of infinite possibilities ) rumpled in a heap on top . Just WHAT has she been up too ! Her sigh this morning is all-consuming like the grace of a beatitude which is why I’m not really angry with her mysterious antics .
Photo by Aela Labbe
The poem is dated November 6 , 2011
I see him out
my window where
the heavens crack
the rain splashing the sky
a scent pungent falling
a crown upon his head .
he enters the room
no one sees him come in .
the curtains move
like oceans touching land
with the sun onto the floor
a symphony strand .
I see him .
the others gathered here,
a celebration taking place ,
seem not to notice ,
the stir around them
quieting me .
i hear not their sound
only his gaze familiar and sweet .
and when he goes
no one knows he’s left
but I do
and cry at the emptiness
like drops of rain disappearing
onto petals of flowers unknown
that bring forth
a vision of life
of that which remains
a cover of silvery stars
in his pale brown eyes
looking at me .
standing in the doorway
a room in my view
a vision so handsome
i see him still
a crown on his head
resting upon my flying bed
reflecting a mist
where I exist .
In the Bhagavad Gita , Krishna tells Arjuna , ” Nothing is ever lost . What you relinquish on the material plane you will rediscover a thousand times more wonderfully in God “.
Photo by Lara Zankoul
It is a small village ( Glen Arbor )by the Great Lake Michigan along the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore in Leelanau County . On it’s Main Street you can find a coffee brewing company and cafe , art galleries ( Synchronicity ) owned by my brother , The Totem Shop where I once bought moccasins and the silver bracelet I never take off , a post office , a bookstore in a historic log cabin with the scent of vanilla coming from the first edition used books in the back room , the tea house where jeweled imports are brought back from India , a portrait studio , a kayak shop , Arts Bar with a pool table , a winery , Boondocks restaurant where various bands play nightly on the open deck and some big abandoned wood buildings along the river that hold mystery in their beams … Around this center is a Tuesday Farmers Market behind the old Town Hall ,charming cottages down dirt roads , bicycle trails and woods alive with deer , fox , even bear , sand dunes , a river with salmon spauning with eagles and falcons swooping above . It is something from a mythical America where no one locks his door , so calm that you feel sheltered , sheltered all around by tranquil wilderness , a shoreline of white sand and small fossil stones and thickets of ferns and moss . Sometimes the horizon between water and sky makes one to easily believe yourself at the end of the earth . It’s also easy to believe yourself creating masterpieces of paintings or novels inspired by the waves and the light on this Great Lake the Native Americans call Michigami ( great water ). I left St.Joseph on August 4 , 2014 , in the depths of my dream . The world was already quaking from wars in the Middle East , lost airplanes , uprisings , ex terminations of ancient cultures , hurricanes and plaques . It had been a snowy cold winter … unusually so , my brother calling it the polar vortex effect as Glen Arbor lays on the 45th parallel . I love northern Michigan . I love it’s tranquility , I love it’s scented forests , I love it’s clear river streams , it’s mysterious seasons . I love it’s loud storms , loud with thunder , wind and lightning . I love that it birthed me and that it is my home . Having just sold my house and nearly all possessions , all debt paid , I bought a tent . Earth , earth pulsating . Earth , earth warm under my feet . Earth , earth orbiting . I laid down that first night happy with thanksgiving whispered as sleep found me , found me like wind finds a branch to speak for it . And the tent it’s pinnacle like a crown upon an earth created by a magnificent God sparkling with a sky filled with stars , who swept me away within the protective hide a way of white canvas , the walls moving like breath embracing me . Now I am awake ! … or am I dreaming ? I stand up to make sure … The Great Spirit has found me and I AM AWAKE ! Hearing loud drumming , loud celebratory chanting repeated many times , many times for nearly an hour , I realize it is coming from the direction of the lake and it sounds so near , so near and distinct with a loud beating . The sky is clear black , many stars , a gentle wind , quiet except for the Native American chants heard … I’m listening , listening long , still listening as I lay down on my sheepskin where sleep once again captures me . Two days pass … I shyly mention that night in a photo post and tell my daughter about it … when I read an article about the Odawa Nation Pow Wow that had taken place across the lake in Harbor Springs , more than 60 miles away ,taken place that first night I had slept in my tent ! It was the Great Spirit who awakened me and spoke to me , welcoming me back home, sending the Pow Wow over the long distance , over the waters, christening a name from generations ago into my awareness , one that sounds familiar : ” She Who Walks Barefoot “. Oh Great Spirit
whose voice I hear in the winds
and whose breath
gives life to all the world .
I am small and weak
I need your strength and wisdom .
let me walk in beauty
and make my eyes ever behold
the red and purple sunset .
make my hands respect the things you have made
and my ears sharp to hear your voice .
make me wise
so that I may understand things
you have taught my people .
let me learn
the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock .
I seek strength
not to be greater than my brother
but to fight my greatest enemy , my-self .
make me always ready
to come to you with
clean hands and straight eyes .
So when life fades
as the fading sunset
my spirit may come to you without shame .
Chief Yellow Lark ( 1887 )