I’d like to share my profound story ofthis past weekend:
I arrived in the four corners area of the states. Durango CO. airport and then off to Farmington NM. First time here. Wow to the grand landscape.! Very beautiful sunny afternoon. The trees are an intense yellow and a lizard green against a milky brown. I am amazed how the terrain changes the second I crossed into New Mexico. Not very many trees just land, sky and tumble weeds as far as one can see. I like this high desert. Reminds me of when I was small and lived in the desert of California at the Saltan Sea for a year. (I know this is different. We didn’t ever get snow there).
I came to visit my friend Sarah, a mentor of mine who taught me so much about art and the true creative process, and ritual community celebration. She truly was a huge influence on me in the mid 80’s. We even did collaborative art together in the North West and in the Soviet Union; I danced, she made my art props and some of my costume pieces; Steve composed music for these works we did in theaters and galleries. We also share a big EGYPT connection together. Both of us are totally fascinated with the life styles, art, ritual of ancient Egypt. . .I haven’t seen her in years and I felt called to go now. This time in particular was important for us to touch bases. I needed another dose of her hard edged wisdom and compassion lessons.
I also told her. “Tonight we have a dance to do on the desert for a dear dancer friend of mine whose time is coming to an end here on earth”.
Sarah took a deep breath, exhaled and knodded.
I am here to be re inspired and take time out to slow my wheels down a bit and just remember things. While here I look forward to teaching in Durango on Saturday and I will also visit Chaco Canyon. If you don’t know about the Pueblo Indian ruins at Chaco canyon, let me tell you they are as mysterious as the Great Pyramid in Egypt. No one knows why they were really built. Little is known about the culture. They’re gigantic complexes some with 800 rooms and round rooms called kivas. They were constructed over a 250 years! The first ideas about there use are changing fast as they investigate and use special infra red cameras and such. They are strange because they were probably were never lived in. There is no archaeological evidence that points to housing very many people (food, water, garbage, burials, stuff). You can’t even sustain a fire in most of them. It gets very cold part of the year. Fire would be essential. Current ideas point to the complex being a Astrological theatrical monument to the Sun, moon, seasons, time and space. They must have been something in their day. Now an impressive skeleton of what they once were silently holds the secret of their time. Connected to the complexes is a long road that leads due north off a cliff; similar to the Nazca lines in Peru. Perhaps the road are for their souls to tread to the heavens. The structures maybe more about the external effect than internal uses. Like the Great Pyramid. Much of these new Ideas have been developed from discoveries made in the past 15 years. Fascinating.
THIS IS A VERY POWERFUL PLACE ON THIS PLANET!
Here I am in the presence of mysterious wonder that set the stage for the this afternoon.
Sarah picked me up at the airport, drove me to her house, shows me around a little and points in one direction. Over there in the distance is Chaco Canyon. She leaves me to run some errands while I relaxed.
By the late afternoon/evening the storms came in and surrounded the high mesa I am staying on. Sheets and jags of soundless lightning lit up walls of clouds all around me, but the sky was blue with a few cotton puffs over head. I love the wilderness and I am reminded of some reading I did along time ago by Father Matthew Fox about the power of deserts. . . Wind followed me where I went like a constant companion as I explored the property. The view was breath taking. I could feel the city shuffle falling away from me with each exhale. Burned away by electric fizzle. The altitude is over a mile above sea level and my boots feel a bit heavy. The moon was an ever so pale green that hung medium in the sky. It was shinning down on me like a stage light as it got darker. . . Some how the moon felt closer to me than those surrounding clouds that walled off the ends of the horizons in all directions. Even though it wasn’t night yet, I could not tell for sure where West was or a sun should set. The moon was locked inside this cloud corral with me.
Sarah has a rock labyrinth on her property and I planned to do my dance later on for Helen around 7:00 PM when the other dancers were with her but the atmosphere was so unusual I decided to proceed now, in this moment. I’ll do a run through to mark out the space I thought. So I did a little dance as the lighting flashed and veils of rain could be seen in the distance. You could see the heavy gray bottomed clouds pouring out water but the bottom edge of the showers didn’t always touch the ground but hung like layers of veils. When I reached the center of the labyrinth I came to a rock with the words carved on it, “REMEMBER”. I smiled. I spent 7 good years with the sufis and the ritual we practiced was called Ziker and it literally means “remember”. It’s a moving dance of arm passes, spinning and chanting; surprising memories always find you when you practice it.
Then a flood of particular memories pass across my mind.
I was thinking of Helen . As I said the dancers were to gathering by the side of her bed tonight. I couldn’t be there but I asked Kalara to read a dance description I wrote before I left. I told her I would do a dance for her out on the mesa on Sarah’s land. Just ask Helen to close her eyes and use her imagination to come dance with me. I planned to dance in the labyrinth with a different colored veil in each direction. Red was Helen’s favorite color, Yellow for morning sunlight (it just happens to be the same color as the leaves that met me when I got off the plane), Brown silk for the earth she new so well since she was a farm girl and last a Turquoise transparent chiffon for the reminder of the 2 times she came to Hawaii with me and loved to swim in the tropical blue waters.
I thought of her smile, soft cheek, long arms, expressive hands and hardy laugh. As I slowly spun in the middle of the labyrinth, I could see her dancing in the sky, her veils flashing of yellow, pink and amber. As I spun I looked up into the vault above me clear blue and out of my peripheral awareness it was like I was in the center of a chorused circle of dancers with veils. Their silks touching me gently in the air like a silk kaleidoscope. The wind came in gusts and I heard a voice for just an instant! Don’t know where it came from as I looked out in all directions. Any houses were too far away. The voice must have snagged a ride from the wind for a second. I smiled and wondered if it was Helen.
This was my dance for Helen.
I came inside and called Seattle.
Sadly and bravely she passed away today.
Bless her soul.
Dear Sister we will think of you always.
I will remember.