The horse's pasture to the East...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Home. Four letters and so complicated. Home. I love that word. Home. It's where I go when things are overwhelming. Home. But it isn't a place. It's a feeling. Home. It's inside me. I've always carried it with me. Home. But sometimes it takes years to figure the simple things Home.

Thirty eight years ago, when I was just 22 and pregnant with my first son I was in a place that I thought was home, waiting, like all young women do when they're focused on the changes going on inside when their life is about to change forever. I thought Home was a place. I found out that Autumn that Home is a feeling.

My Mom called to tell me that my brother, my little brother who was only just twenty, had been shot in a hunting accident. It was serious. He'd been shot at point blank range in his abdomen.

John, my husband, took me to the hospital to wait. And all I could think about was Home. I have a tendency to disassociate, to go somewhere else in my mind when things are overwhelming. Hearing a Doctor tell us that my brother was near death was overwhelming. I wanted to go Home.

I wanted to be anyplace else except that horrible, little waiting room with that exhausted young doctor telling us what was probably going to happen. He told us to go into my brother's room to say goodbye. I didn't want to. I wanted to go Home. And I couldn't. I was stuck and I had to face what was happening. Home. That was all I wanted. Home.

I remember walking down the hallway. The walls were green on the bottom, white on the top and the floor was brown linoleum. To this day I still don't like those colors together, in that combination. It was the middle of the night so the lights were dim and everything was quiet. And all I wanted was Home.

I didn't want to go into that room. I didn't want to hear the heart monitor ticking, ticking, ticking. Home. It was in my mind, a weird kind of mantra. Home. Home. Home. I couldn't breath. I couldn't move. I wanted Home.

Home was a place where it always smelled good, like cookies and wind. It was small and there was a table in the kitchen with one leg propped up with a piece of folded paper to keep it level. The table cloth was old and soft, faded and stained where I'd flipped a peanut butter and jelly sandwich over and the grape jelly left purple smudges. The windows were always open and my dog was under the table, waiting for me. Home. I just wanted to be Home.

But I walked into that room and saw my brother laying there with a tent over his middle, hiding the tubes and bandages. He was in shock and breathing so hard and shallow that it sounded like he'd been running for too long. They told me he was in a coma, but when I took his hand he squeezed it. And then, I was Home.

That was when I knew who I was going to be, where I was going to go, how I was going to get there. And the first step was knowing that I was Home. It was right there inside me...Home. It was always there, my little house with the lop sided table and cookie smells. Home was always inside and not a place.

He lived. It wasn't an easy thing for him to do. Sometimes it's easier to leave than it is to stay. Maybe he wanted to go Home too. But, instead, he stayed. Over the last 38 years he started a business, married twice, raised five children and climbed his share of mountains and slogged through more than a few valleys too. I never asked him if he knew that word, that place inside called Home.

Today I went to the hospital to see him again, sick again. He called this afternoon to tell me that he might have had a heart attack, that he was in the hospital going through one test after another while they tried to figure out what was wrong.

It wasn't his heart. It wasn't his gall bladder. It was in his colon, in the place where his old scars were. There was an obstruction and it hurt!

I walked down that corridor again. The hospital has changed. The floors are carpeted, the walls are all different colors and patterns. The rooms are warm and the chairs are comfortable. We didn't have to wait in a waiting room either. All of us, his sons and one of his daughters, his wife, his friends and me...we all were there, waiting, talking, smiling, laughing.

And there it was again, Home. I wasn't in a hospital room worried about my brother. I was Home, sitting at my little table and everyone was there with me eating my famous chocolate chip cookies and drinking real milk, the kind with cream on the top. And my little brother was there, sitting at my table too.

I don't know what's going to happen. I'm here, writing and waiting to hear how he is. Before I left the hospital to come home, he took my hand and squeezed it again. He didn't feel good, but he looked right at me and smiled anyway. And there, just for a moment, he was Home too, with me.


Friday, September 16, 2011


Last night I had a dream. I walked through all the dark places of the world where I could not see. I could feel the branches and leaves of the trees and the tall grasses and plants touching me, moving along with me as I walked a path towards a light.

The light was from the Council Fires of Father Sun, Mother Earth and Sister Moon. When I walked into the light of the fires, there were people from all the tribes, villages and places of the world there, waiting for me. Their faces carried the lines of their lives and the lives of their many peoples. They were wise and old and they waited for me.

"I am the Story Teller. I will tell you the story of the First Day of the Spring of the World, when all of you were born and the Mother Earth lived without her robes." On my shoulder was a spider, small and not easily noticed. She sat and waited, like the others, while she spun out her delicate threads.

"I was here in the beginning when the only people at the Council Fires were Father Sun, Mother Earth and Sister Moon who lived here in the Darkness together, keeping the Fires. That was when I began my First Story...the beginning of all Stories.

In the beginning Father Sun was strong and he shown with a new light so bright that the Fires were dim when he sat too close. Mother Earth was beautiful and round, pregnant with the Possibilities. Sister Moon shown with a clear, cool Light bright enough to light the evening skies. Her face was quiet and the lines upon it were easily seen, carrying the stories that she would witness. She would always be the Listener.

Mother Earth said, " I am naked. I need a robe to keep me warm for all my days." and Father Sun said, "Then we will make one." And Sister Moon listened.

Father Sun said, " I will dance across the skies, bringing light and warmth to shine on your Robe. I will give you the Birds to fly above you." And he gave to Mother Earth the Eagle, the Hawk and Owl to carry courage and all of the small birds...the Wren, The Meadowlark and Mocking Bird, The Robin and Cardinals to carry the song of the world.

And Sister Moon listened.

Mother Earth said, " I will add to my robe the Fish and Turtle, the Frog and other creatures of the Waters to create waves on the surface, to help my Robe to shine.

And Sister Moon listened.

Father Sun said, " I will give to you the Bear for strength, The Wolf and Coyote for cunning, The Cougar and Puma for power and the other large Animals for balance."

And Sister Moon listened. And then she said, " I will give you the Horse, the finest of all creatures. She will carry the Conscience and Soul of the World. She will be strong to carry this heavy load and she will be swift so that she can dance with Father Sun. And with her I will send all of the small creatures of the World to follow in her Herds...the Mouse and Deer, the Raccoon and Otter. And beside her will walk the Elk and Buffalo to ease her burden. "

And Father Sun and Mother Earth listened and were happy for Sister Moon.

And Mother Earth said, " In between, in the small spaces of the Robe of the World, I will make patterns with the Insects. They will sing, carrying the Stories to Eagle, Bear, Coyote, Elk and Horse and all the others of the World. " And then the Robe of Mother Earth was full and rich and round enough to cover her and she was happy.

And Sister Moon listened.

And Father Sun said, " I will give you one more gift. I will give you the threads, the sinews that will hold the Robe together and make the stories One Story. " And he brought into the Light of the Council Fires the Spider. She was so small that the others could not see her at first so he gave her a special Gleam of Light called Silk. She always carried the Threads of Silk with her so that others would feel her there. And he said, " Spider, I give you the Words, carried in the Silk. You will give a strand to all the Trees, Grasses, Birds, Animals and Places of the World. Your Silks will hold the Robe together. How you weave it will make the Patterns of the Stories of the World."

And Spider said, " But I am too small. How will I do this? They cannot see me."

And Father Sun said, " You will visit all of them and tell them their Story, giving them their piece of Silk.

And Sister Moon listened.

And so Spider went to Eagle and he said, " You are small. I will eat you." And she said, " I have a story to tell you before you take my life." He said, " Very good. I will listen." and while she spoke, she attached a Thread to the feather on the Eagle's wing. And when he flew away to tell his story to the other Birds and creatures of the air, forgetting that he was going to eat the Spider, he carried the Silk and it stuck to each of the others and they made it part of their stories too.

And then Spider went to Bear and he said, "You are small. I will crush you." And she spoke to him, saying, "I have your story to tell before you take my life." And he said, "Then tell it to me." and while she spoke his story, she attached another Thread to him, on his broad back, tangled in the soft, bright hair. And when he left, forgetting about the little Spider, the Threads flew out behind him and became part of the stories of all the creatures of the land...the Elk, Buffalo, Coyote and Wolf, Puma and Bob Cat.

And then Spider went to the Horse and Horse said, " You will ride with me. Your Silk will become my mane and tail and we will, together, finish the Robe of Mother Earth. I will be the Conscience, teaching all the Children of the World to know right and wrong, to know how to carry in their hearts kindness and thoughtfulness." And Spider rode upon the back of Horse, spinning her Threads into Horse's mane and tail so that all the Stories would be together.

And Father Sun watched, singing the Stories across the sky everyday.

And Mother Earth wore her Robe, happy to be, quietly moving in her own circle to the music of Father Sun.

And Sister Moon listened, watched and was the Witness to the Story, smiling sometimes and crying others as we all do when a Story is told.

" I am the Story Teller. My story is never done..."

....and that was my Dream, last night.