On my way home from the camp at Sycamore Ranch, where a Cherokee wedding took place, I felt an incredible sense of serenity and wholeness.
In spite of feeling some of the people’s wounded spirits and the incredible abuse some of them have taken in childhood, I saw deep roots they have in their lives as well.
I saw the “primal man”, the real human without the layers of civilization, a peace of reality too many other cultures have long ago lost.
After the traditional native wedding, which had taken place out-doors, we ate. After a native prayer of Thanksgiving, everybody filled a plate, grabbed a chair and instinctively formed a circle. As we set and ate, all the dogs they had with them, leashed in the shade of the trees, became very quiet, except the two wolves. The white wolf, a very friendly female, was relaxed and sleeping during all the commotion of people coming and going, cars parking and children playing ball close by. As soon as the circle was formed, the female wolf became alert and started patrolling on a long leash near the entry of the campground. The second wolf joined her a few second later, without making any sound. Even the buzzards in the tall trees disappeared.
The quietude could be felt, in spite of people talking.
Then Sunny, the Bear Medicine man, finished his plate and grabbed the flute. The deep tone of the instrument and the native melody he played carried me smoothly into a primal. It was a quiet primal, like the cascading childhood pictures of kindness, which I know existed in my life but had been forgotten, overshadowed by the daily experienced violence in my childhood.
As the sun began to set I was reminded that I had to drive back home. I didn’t want to leave the place where I felt my bare feet on the ground. I felt as if I was taking root. I felt nourished in a sense I had never felt before. The impression is still lingering and still gives me the feeling of a true primal being, without fear and connected again my place in life.
As I drove through the gate of our property, a owl came from the west and flew across my way to the east. I lowered my speed to a crawl since I know my 10 cottontail rabbits were around. I lowered the light on the car so I would not blind them. But, I did not see any of them who were normally hopping all over the property. Something had changed I thought but I could not grasp just what…
I told my husband about my day and went on with my evening routine. An hour later, I went outside to smoke a cigarette. As I looked into the dark, I didn’t see the familiar picture of cottontails chewing on fresh sprouts or playing with each other. Quickly I explained my feeling of missing something away by thinking the rabbits are out in the rice fields eating.
As I greeted the sunrise the next morning in my usual way, by sitting on the patio with a cup of coffee, I was aware that the usual picture was out of balance. No cotton-tails. I started walking around the house, looking by the shed, their usual housing area… nothing. I finally walked around the whole property convinced I will find them somewhere… again, nothing. My cottontails were gone.
What has happened, I asked and quickly I try to explain it away. Maybe the coyotes came and got them all. I searched for tracks in the woodchips around the shed, but there were none. Maybe, I said to myself, the scent of the wolf I brought with me from the camp drove them away. A feeling of loss crept up inside me and I saw how I was holding on to things for my own pleasure. Without having understood all these past years that life, nature and conditions can and must change. My thoughts went back to the camp, the moment of serenity and inner peace I felt so strongly the day before. I suddenly connected this feeling and why the rabbits were gone. The story of the rabbit and the Eye Walker was the answer.
It was I, just as the rabbit, who became afraid of what I cannot change, and cannot accept without fear. The imprint of my abused childhood conditioned me and the feeling of fear became a natural part of my life, as natural as breathing. As we never know that we breathe, unless we are forced for some reason to feel breathless, our conditioned life accepts fear as a reality instead of a condition created by imbalance.
Knowing now, the rabbits around me were nothing more then an outward symbol of my inner fear, I start missing them. It was natural enough. I have lived with the rabbits for three years and lived with my fear for over 50 years. The rabbits reminded me of my shyness in accepting a gift, they uncovered my mistrust of dominator-type people, and showed my vulnerability to becoming prey at any given moment. I miss them; they were my reminder of my many fears that seem to have disappeared, being replaced with a new feeling.
The day at the Sycamore Ranch I breathed in the serenity of a incredible peace which erased one of my many fears I have being carrying since childhood. Just as the rabbit in the old story, who feared its best friend, the Eye Walker, I was not able to adopt this new gift of inner peace. As the rabbit, I feared the one who gave me a gift, thinking I had to pay for it later, and maybe with my body. This day, fear gave way to something much stronger, the powerful strength of the spirit we all born with, but has been overshadowed by violence… the nurturing and caring Eye Walker, who is our spirit and the reality of our feeling.
Will I miss the stagnating fear I have been used to have in me like a cancerous? It left an empty spot inside of me. Or has it made way for a more wholesome feeling of completeness. I do not know yet know….
As the Eye Walker says:
Scared little Rabbit…
Please drop your Fright!
Running doesn’t stop the pain,
Or turn the dark to light.