It was hot, the hottest summer in memory, even in the memory of the ancient ones who lived in small groups by themselves above the rim of the canyon. Mystics, ascetics, the unapproachable ones.
Red and copper bands framed by white strips of earth with occasional slanting wisps of sandy tan become layered rims dropping sharply down to the bottom of the vast chasm. Almost half a mile down a steel blue river flows in its lazy snake’s path toward a distant ocean in the west. Cactus and pinion pine cling tenaciously to the cliff walls, burnt ... limp with the unnatural heat. Even the hawks, eagles and vultures have given up their continuous quest for game by mid-morning, waiting for some respite from the blazing sun’s effect on their hunting ground. The wind, when it does come in early afternoon is merely a lethargic breeze, hardly an effort. It gives up its cause by mid-afternoon.
Small animals have retreated to any shade they can find, sometimes setting, panting, a foot or two away from their eonian enemies … both creatures too exhausted by the heat to escape or pursue. The stillness within the great gorge is unnatural, almost as if time has stopped and life has forgotten its purpose.
He is setting on an outcropping of granite that juts over the canyon, a mammoth projection that has somehow eluded the forces of rain, erosion and the occasional earthquake, anchored to the land by invisible supports. The man is covered in white clay, a figurine in the desert kiln, baking in the sun. He has remained motionless since before dawn … a spirit disengaged from silent slender muscle and bone.
His hair floods over his shoulders like a black waterfall cascading down his back and sides, reaching almost to his waist. There are feathers from exotic birds, bright red, shimmering blue and yellow, woven into the strands of his mane. Birds from the jungles of tropical lands to the south. He is encircled by black, white, yellow, red and blue patterns made by his hand before the sun crested the horizon… sand paintings of the guardians of the six directions; north, south, east, west, above and below. Tobacco, sage, sweet-grass, shells, a pair of stones shaped like an eagle and a cougar and a pipe are at his side: a medicine bundle laid open. Wavering heat-waves make him appear to be oscillating in and out of material form.
At dawn the man traveled away from his body. Anticipating the coming heat, undaunted, he is confident in the power of his medicine to protect and maintain the corporeal. An invisible strand of silver astral cording tethers the flesh while his spirit glides above terrain almost two thousand miles northeast. Without eyes he has vision, omni-directional awareness. Without physicality he experiences a oneness with the essence of all he surveys. He has become consciousness apart from earthly restriction, something sensed but unseen. Joined with something greater than self, his purpose is easily understood … the reason for the journey seems logical ... the only activity, really, that could be pursued.
He indulges himself and floats in lazy circles like a giant condor above the encampments of people who are clustered around fields and within forests near the edge of a great body of water. They occupy a finger of land jutting north-easterly into what will someday be known as Mishigami, “Great Water”. Each village, a makeshift affair, pours into another village of equal casual design. The people have formed a conurbation of summer lodges for the sharing of summer’s bounty, harvesting from both the land and water.
Nights are filled with the exchange of stories about winter survival, creation stories, stories of heroism and evolution; an oral society passing heritage from generation to generation. Sons and daughters of different clans discover each other in sylvan areas at the edge of the encampments … late at night … after the campfires burn low and the elders have retired from cooking, talking and eating.
Union of the Bode’wadni will end with the second full moon in autumn. E’sksegtukkisIs. “The Month of the First Frost”. Each clan will retreat to a winter camp where the rigors of frigid cold and snow make life slower and more withdrawn. The smaller and more remote clan areas are protected from over harvesting and over hunting … Mother Earth is allowed to slumber for four or five months, necessary renewal before the re-union as spring blossoms forth on the land.
Himself closes in on the area where a unique child is living with his mother, grandmother and older sister. He notes a growing anticipation within as he senses the shifting energy from the animals in the surrounding woods. While descending, he feels the vibration of higher harmony that emanates from the innocence of youth. Purity. A male child of destiny.
Abruptly, the spot he's seeking reveals itself … a meadow covered with tall grass and flowers, surrounded by birch, spruce and cedar. The pungent aroma of conifers identifies itself in his mind. The youth is on a buckskin, his mother beside him working on a sash of deerskin and porcupine quills, creating a tightly implemented design and singing to the child who follows her finger work with acute attention, bright copper eyes focused; alert. The boy is substantial for his thirteen months, a long torso, muscular. This idyll moment is merely a brief lapse. Soon he will be starting to walk with assurance, then running like a foehn, bringing warmth to the colder regions of the north-country, bringing an incandescence to the collective consciousness.
The phantom floats above Madonna and child. The youngling senses a presence. Unable to formulate sentences he utters a word or two and reaches up, grasping the empty air above his head. Himself reaches down and a wisp of spirit encircles the tiny hand, a spark of acknowledgment. The woman pauses in her crafting, feels a cool blush of air around her head, a chill that's out of place on a warm summer day.
Part 1 of The Story: A Vision from Native America.
Check back every Sunday for another chapter as the adventure unfolds...