Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Random Ten (courtesy of Pandora)

I'm parked in the RV/horsetrailer outside my cousin's, poaching wireless internet access off of somewhere.

He is recovering nicely from his ceremony. Silas and some other healers are with him and he is well cared for. I am sitting outside, looking at the mountains and listening to my Pandora station.

These are the first songs that bubbled up. This is a pretty cool service, you can tweak and fine tune the selections to where what is played suits you well.

Cigarettes and Perfume - - - Refrigerator
Your Thunder and Your Lightning - - - Lee Hazelwood (the original space cowboy)
Cinco de Mayo in Memphis - - - Guy Clark
Movin' On - - - Steve Earle
Young Pilgrims - - - The Shins
In the Colosseum - - - Tom Waits
Sheila - - - Morphine
Structuring Neccessity - - - Songs: Ohia
Say a Little Prayer - - - Greg Brown
Kids These Days - - - Tom Rush

Bonus 11th

Pancho and Lefty - - - Townes Van Zandt (damn I miss ya hoss)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Day 3 - Where I Beg Your Indulgence

In a short time those who Stand Beside the dancers and the elders will gather. We will do a sweat lodge to clean ourselves. Then we will put on our traditional clothes and bring our dancers in.

Once they are with the hat'taalli (medicine singers) the dancers will be fed and given things to drink. When that is finished we will lead them to the place of ceremony.

I cannot bring more than this to you. I am sorry for that but it is a tradition of secrecy that has served us well.

I have appreciated your openess and ready understanding of ways and things that must seem strange. I would be proud, should you ever be out this way, to show you each the beauty of my desert and mountains, to introduce you to my proud and beautiful people.

I leave you with this prayer:

djùnà' ái bìdà' tíngè' t' á ìgaì dì gò'
bè dà' gùnòyè gè' dè yà tc ìndíi dì
djígùnà' ái bìjà jé' dá à' dj ' dè yà tc' ìndí d
'ìckî n dá à' dj ' dè yà h dè yà tc'ìndíi
djùnà' ái bì dùt ' ìjì bìnànt' à' nànt' à' dòxá yò'
bì ' ágòdo dí ì' bì dìs' èsts' tc'ìndíi
djùnà' ái bè bì' ò' gùnòyè ì' yè
bì' ò' gùnòyè gò' dè yà tc'ìndìi
nùgùsts' án biìká' 'ìyú ndzìní' dò à'
hà bídòl gò' dè yà tc'ìndíi
nùgùsts' án biìká' dé 'ì tc' ' òdàsdjà í'
bìyá tì' jòoní bìnàtsé kè s jò ní' bìdlùk jòoní
bínà lzé' 'í t' à' dá' jò dí dò bé' ó ltà' gò'
yèxáidèlà gò dè yà tc' ìndíi
'ìs' à' nà yái k' è' gòjó gò'
yèxáidèlà gò dè yà tc'ìndíi

(Sun, his doorway outside, White water, four-ply
By, above, through mirage, he walks, they say.
Sun, his child one day he walks they say.
Boy, one day the one who walks, he walks they say.
Sun, his turquoise, his chief, never
has he trouble, with him sound approaches they say
Sun by and before him,
before him a mirage forming he walks they say.
Blankets on top of earth, witches none
Can harm him, he walks they say
Earth on top of, people scattered about,
Their talk good, their thoughts good, their laughter good,
Their property of all kinds, good, uncountable
Having been prepared he walks they say.
Long life like, good, having been prepared he walks they say


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Day 2, Questions of Honor, Gifts of Heart

I was getting ready to go out again this morning near dawn. As I was saddling Casey I was interrupted by Silas and two friends from the Raven Soldiers. Silas began by asking "How much honor do you require?" I looked puzzled. He asked again. I said "Honor is something that only has value when it is given. Honor demanded is worthless." Silas said "That is what we have taught you. What do you believe?" I said "I believe that teaching. I have found it true."

Silas then says "Why do you deny these good people their part in the dance? They find no place here because you are always out there. By yourself. You're tired, you need to sleep. Let them take their part." I said nothing, just handed the reins to the man next to Silas.

After I had taken a quick nap, I put a bareback pad on Sally and rode out to where the dancers sit. I saw the Stands Beside for a young man who is in the army. He is deploying again to Iraq in a few months. I rode up and asked the Stands Beside if I might sit with the young man and smoke a pipe. He signaled for me to follow.

When I arrived I said nothing. I just sat before this young man and began to fill my pipe with wild tobacco and mint leaves. I lit and took four puffs to each direction. I passed it to the Stands Beside, who smoked and gave it to the young man.

I was wearing my bone choker. With its antique beads from some of the first trading the Apache did with the Americans. At the bottom of the center spacer I wear the medal portion of my Silver Star. The young man was looking at the medal intently. We continued smoking.

When the pipe was finished I sat for several more minutes. Before I got up to leave I reached up and untied the choker. Then I removed the medal. I held the medal in my left hand and the choker in my right. I held out my left hand and said "This is mine." I closed my hand and put it into my pocket. I laid the choker on the blanket in front of the young man and said "This is yours."

I rode to where my cousin was sitting and gave a nod of thanks to the man watching over him. I went to my cousin and sat down. We said nothing for a long time.

I went back to my camper and slept like a baby.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Keeping Vigil

For today, for tomorrow, and the next day, my task is to watch over my cousin. I'm not doing it alone. This morning at dawn we went out into the mountains, away from people. There are five others doing the same thing. The dancers are in a time of fasting and prayer. No food, no water. We bring and offer both several times a day. There would be no loss of honor for someone to decide that they need to eat or drink. It increases the attention given to the act of the fast. It's one thing to be hungry and thirsty when there's no food or water around, but when it is offered, then refused, it emphasizes the choice.

Although they are out of sight and hearing of each other, the dancers are in the same general area. The "Stands Beside" who attends each dancer co-ordinates with the others who hold that role and among each clan and warrior society to make sure that there is always someone out there with the dancer, watching. It is a remote wilderness area, there are bears, cougars, and other critters, there are also people. The area sometimes has people hiking and sightseeing. Those people are politely shown a different path that will not disturb the ceremony. The animals usually don't even have to be asked. The sight of a person on horseback will generally get them to alter their path. If not, we simply draw closer in to our dancers and allow them pass unmolested. After all, they live here too.

We work in shifts of four hours, riding and watching. We hear the prayers of the dancers. I am riding four on, four off. There is no shortage of volunteers from the Raven Soldiers, and the Flute clan. For today, all riders are both. Just like me, just like my cousin.

It will be cold tonight on the mountain. I'm bringing blankets for my cousin, there will be no fires because our mountains are far too dry to take that risk right now.

I will be riding and watching most of the night.


Blogger is being very strange. I posted this but it isn't appearing on the main page. It might appear at some later date, it might not. Blogger sucks ass.
For some reason it appears here so, please, follow this link. Questions of Honor, Gifts of Heart


Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Wandering Minstrel, I

Tomorrow I leave California, I'll probably be able to stop by the house to grab a sandwich and a couple of dogs, then it's on to the rez. My cousin, the brilliant attorney, is participating in a very ancient, very powerful ceremony. He has asked that I not only be there, but that I be his "stands beside." Which is a pretty good description of the job.

I told him I was honored.

Expect fairly light blogging in the next week.

Walk in beauty my friends.