Sunday, July 27, 2008

Our voyage here

So much to tell since we started our voyage a week ago.

We left Raleigh with everything we’d need for 3 months in our Saturn - which included 2 computers, clothes for weather of all extremes, herbs, supplements, 2 dogs and a chicken. Loretta Hen was a last-minute addition as she was not well liked by one of the chickens on MacNair’s County Acres, where our other chickens are sojourning over the next 3 months. Her addition to the trip made things a bit more interesting as Roxy stayed overly interested in Loretta throughout the trip, especially when she laid an egg (she laid 2 during the 3 day trip). If you know anything about chickens, you know they are extremely proud of this accomplish and cluck for a good 10 minutes after laying the egg. During our stops at rest areas, everyone would get out and stretch their legs – even Loretta Hen who’d been cooped up in a cat-carrying case. She’d follow me around on the green grass to one travelers surprise in Arkansas who Clark heard say: “I thought I was seeing things – but that is a damn chicken on the grass!”

The last evening of the trip we chased a sunset as we went West that was one of the most amazing I’d ever seen. The orange and vibrant pink/purple against the backdrop of a turquoise blue had us oooing and ahhing for an hour. Before coming out, a friend had told us that the most marvelous sunsets he’d ever seen were out West. I was reminded of their beauty when I lived and worked one summer in Yellowstone National Park.

As we traveled that night during the last leg of the trip, a lightening storm erupted while driving through various reservations on roads not-well-traveled. Since the view around us at this point was 360, we could see lightening all around us which would light up the otherwise hidden terrain. I usually like traveling somewhere new during the sunlight so that I can experience the environment, so it was nice to have the periodic lightening to light our way.

When you are so far away from city lights, the dark wraps around you so that nothing is visible except for what is directly in front of you. At one point we didn’t realize we were right under Shiprock Peak in the Navaho Nation until a lightening strike backlit the 2,000 ft. volcanic pinnacle. That visual is still with me as one of the more striking visuals of our trip.

The last part of the trip was a 12-mile drive down County Road #8 - a dirt road in which we saw a couple of bucks in our headlights. The first time I came here 2 months ago, this place felt like the Western frontier and I again had that same feeling as we turned into the Buffalo Woman Ranch (BWR) in the middle of the night and arrived at the straw-bale ranch house (known as the Eagle’s Nest) where we’ll be living.

The trip to the BWR was 2,000 miles and I felt every mile of it. Almost nothing here of my lifestyle is the same as it was while in Raleigh. When I arrived, I felt like I could sleep for 2 weeks. The stress from all the change, saying goodbyes, moving, traveling and the unknown had caught up with me. As we opened the door to the Eagle’s Nest, a huge bird – I think an owl - flew within a foot over my head. Then in the middle of the night we heard a loud screech that sounded prehistoric - right outside our window. The same animal appeared again the next night and Robbie (the owner of the BWR) said she thought it was a bobcat, so I looked up the symbolism of this cat in the Animal Speak book. Interestingly enough, the medicine that the bobcat teaches is how to be alone without being lonely. He also teaches one to trust your instincts, expect new learning opportunities, and that there is true strength and power in silence. Good medicine.

The next morning we went down to the main house to visit with Robbie, Rumi, and Armita. Robbie is the owner of the BWR. Armita recently left her job, sold all her things and moved out here from San Francisco to live for 10 months. Rumi is a wise old soul that we had met at our previous trip here. She is a healer of many modalities and college professor in Huntington Beach, CA. She came to stay for a few weeks during her summer break and ended up staying a few months. She calls everyone her sister or brother and refers to people by their Spirit. She says I am a young spirit and she calls me little sister, but I think of her as grandmother wisdom. Her nickname is Tsunami and though she is only 5’4”, her presence is much larger. A talk with her always includes advice to take care of yourself, slow down and listen to your inner guide. We are happy that we get to see her for a few days before she goes back to her city home.

Rumi Tsunami originally came here after meeting Charlie, the original co-founder of the BWR. Charlie was a big personality and has been a magnet for many of the folks that have come here. She started the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) and was a speaker at Omega. She is also the reason why Clark (named Wind Eagle by Charlie) originally came here. She had breast cancer, which had spread into her spine and a call was made out thru the AHNA for help on this healing ranch, since Charlie was no longer able to carry on her duties here. Thru a friend, Wind Eagle got the email and we both decided that this would be an awesome opportunity. Wind Eagle also grew fond of Charlie during his time here and wanted me to come visit.

A month later I came out with him for a vacation and sat beside Charlie’s bed in the ranch while she had already dropped into a coma. It was an emotional experience for Wind Eagle and all the other folks who were staying at the ranch. That night Charlie passed and a drum ceremony was held in the middle of the night that we could hear from the Eagle’s Nest. The next day participants came in from around the country for a 5-day training on Equine Facilitated Integrative Healing. Emotions were intense as all those who had been drawn to this work and came to the training were originally drawn by Charlie. I was the only one on the ranch who had not known and been changed by her. However, I quickly learned much about her from all the stories and outpouring of love from those on the ranch. During a 2-hour Lakota ceremony we held in her honor, I heard much of what she was about. One of my favorite quotes from her was that she would tell folks going thru pain and healing that she would “walk thru the fire” with them.

The Lakota ceremony was intense and included some of the horses, fire, meditation, drumming, a pipe ceremony, and a personal message from Charlie (Charlie was a medicine woman who was given a pipe which has powerful healing properties). I could write more about Charlie now, but I will probably sprinkle that in throughout future postings, as her Spirit is strong here.

Anyways, a lot happens here before 10 am and it's already 10 pm, so I'm down for the night.