Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Raven Mail

In the searing sun, half way up in its journey to zenith, we arrived at the place of the ancestors, Chaco Canyon. The two short spirit ones in the Red Rocket Car (the MazdaSpeed3 that shot us here) are wide eyed with the intensity of the place, forgetting so soon their essence, and being reminded of the same in those same instants.

We stop at the Outpost of the Present Now, a/k/a the Ranger Station, to pay our respects to the gods of mammon, offering our electronic coin symbolized by the plastic in my wallet. Ambulating to the rocket where the elixir of life in the desert was stored, water, we had thirty minutes before the tour of the great kiva started. We walked to the start of the trail to a "lesser" kiva, and I noticed the remains of Raven on the ground. It was waiting for us, welcoming us in its post mortem sigil of what was and what remains. We didn’t have time for that path, and we weren’t ready for the message of Raven, just yet. Besides, Heyoka sat under an awning, humming that anti-melody that the simple-minded hum, as if to say, “Put it back. It’ll be here waiting.”

The names of the buildings matter not. They remind me of our own office campuses, built of interlocking sandstone. The largest 300 feet wide, their exterior walls were so smooth that they shine like obsidian glass. Time makes waves in what were once straight walls, reminding me of Schrodinger’s Equation. We discount our ancestors’ sophistication, as if to fool ourselves that we’ll be different with our manifestations, somehow more permanent. I trust we’ll understand that consciousness is eternal, no thing lasts forever.

The tour of the great kiva was enlightening, words of interpretation and science, speaking of coincidences that are not. The Sun is higher now, singing our hair peaking out of our hats. We drive the Rocket Car across the River That Was to another set of buildings. We walk among the ruins gingerly peeking at the foundations, as if we were looking for our own belongings after a tornado. It was a slow tornado that took a thousand years to blow down these walls. I half expect to find torn photos of grandparents, a child’s toy, and a broken toilet, which is the only thing capable of withstanding the broken wind of a millennium.

We find a restored communal kiva. The wind echos with the sound of drumming so deep you can’t hear it, thunder so distant that you can only feel it through your feet. I realize what these kivas are by the sound holes in the walls–drums. Ninety feet across, these drums were beaten by boys and men to sound the voices of Spirit that could build mountains of stone twelve thousand miles to the west, in a desert not much different in its vibrating silence.

Lunch of trail mix, “Poptarts” and water refreshes us. We celebrate Zenith in the shade.

Back at the Outpost of the Present Now, we gather in more interpretations of coincidences that are not. We see moving pictures of interpretations of the blood descendants of the Chaco People, and peruse the library of more interpretations, casseroles of beliefs written on paper, bound into books. We buy trinkets from the Priestesses of Mammon, blood descendants of the Chaco People and the nomad peoples who trade and raid them.

It’s "time".

We refill our containers of the Desert Elixir, Water, and we find the Raven’s sigil still clinging to the ground against the winds of time, still waiting for us at the trailhead. Heyoke’s gone. Now I gather up the sigil again, and feel the body of Spirit tingling in my hand. It still has bits of flesh attached to it that the ants have not found. I smell her blood at the same time her mate kronks his greeting from his gyre above the cliffs standing over us. Ravens mate for life. Humans don’t, but sometimes.

"It’s frikken hot," I say. My Spirit Children agree. We walk up the path to the last campus we’ll visit that day. When I head up the wrong way around the complex, widdershins, my son says, "Dad, that’s the wrong way."

"I know what I’m doing, Joe," I say against the blast of the desert furnace. I’m thinking of going backward in time. Spirit moves in mysterious ways, I’m fixing to tell him, in just the right place. In what remains of a room, looking to the south, across the metroplex of a thousand years ago, and a billion dreams away, I have us all remove our hats so that the pain of the same sun from so long ago will sear down to our numb hearts past our minds. We have to bow low to get through the door, forcing respect and acceptance of beliefs we’ve forgotten. We stand on a porch with a chest high wall, the wind parching our eyeballs like tomatoes in a convection oven.

I bless our selves as worthy of the ancestors. I scatter tobacco to the wind that seems to blow in eight different directions. How propitious I think with a smile.

"Greetings and thanks to our ancestors. I appreciate all that is here, and all that you’ve taught us today. We give tobacco in respect for your hospitality in allowing us in your houses from so long ago. We thank you for teaching us as much about ourselves as about you. There is no separation between us. The Sun that sees you, sees us. All the beliefs of a thousand years are interpretations of the same essence, manifested in a billion ways, all different but all of the same. It doesn’t matter if we are Christian, atheist, Buddhist, Hopi, Muslim, Jew, or Hindu. This gathering place of our ancestors echoes with the greetings and halloos of blood from the Inuit to the Inca, the Vikings to the Chinese. This place belongs to The People, and to no person, and to every one of us, individually. For if there are no individuals, there are no Peoples. If there are no differences, there is no sameness. We are all the same essence, and we are all different. This is a place where differences were gathered together, and reconciled, and Spirit swirled out again to create anew. We thank you Spirits for allowing us to be here with you."

We then closed our eyes and smelled the desert wind, breathing the same dust our ancestors did, filtering their skin, and food, and life through our noses, and leaving our own for those that follow us.

"Now it is time to receive Raven’s message." And we leave the Porch of Gratitude, for the place higher up, where we can almost fly with Raven’s Husband.

Continuing widdershins around back on the cliff side of the foundations, we come to the northwestern corner, the highest tower left. I took Raven’s body out of my pocket, broke it into three pieces, giving one each to Katy and Joe. I held mine into the wind and said,

“I give thanks to Brother and Sister Raven for this gift of her body. We hear her message from the other side, (voice changing to Raven’s) and from up in the wind, that we are all brothers and sisters. There is no separation. We may be on opposite sides of the Veil. We may be of different tribes, kingdoms and faiths. We are all connected as I am connected to my spouse whose remains flutter in your hands. Go now and give parts of Her that still is to those you find, remind them that they are not separated from you and each other, and to pass the feathers to the next person they see with the same message.”


Then Joe says, “Look! I see Raven!”

Over the cliff, half a mile away overlooking the trailhead, gyred Brother Raven on his gymbol.

“Dad, I hadn’t seen him before until you finished his message to us.”

“Well, Joe,” I said. “Now you are paying attention. Raven speaks to you as he does to me, to all of us. Now, people are coming up the trail. It’s time to pass along Raven’s Mail.”

With that, we saw a couple coming around the other side of the foundations, peeking in storage kivas, looking for old photographs, too.

“Halloo! You guys’ll probably think the sun has gotten to me, but I have a message from Raven for you.” The woman took the feathers as I continued.

“Y’all might even think this is gross,” referring to the slightly odiferous clump of feathers in her hand.

“No,” she said, smiling, allowing me to finish.

“Raven says to give parts of his spouse that still is to those you find, remind them that they are not separated from you and each other, and to pass the feathers to the next person they see with the same message.”

The couple smiled, the man shook my hand strongly, looking me in the eye, and I wished them a great day.

My spirit children, somewhat stunted by the city’s ways in lack of trust, are now shocked beyond description by Da’s weird boldness. Surely he’s become possessed by Buddha, the Heyoke, or the sun. I chuckled because I knew I wasn’t done yet. We headed back down the trail, meeting an elderly couple just arrived in this Metroplex of the Ancestors. I hailed them, and then read their fortunes, “You will soon meet someone who will give you a Raven’s feather to remind you that we are all connected. Take it and pass it on to the next people you meet, with the same message.”

I shook the man’s hand, which was trembling, and I couldn’t tell if it was from palsy, because he thought I was crazy, or if he was already stressed from the heat. I wished his wife and him a beautiful day, and walked back down the hill. Katy was still silent.

Joe said, “Wait. I want to see if they do get the feather.”

I said, “Joe, trust in Spirit. The exchange will happen, but you’ll only see it if you don’t look at the people. Trust them.”

“Daddy?” Katy asked. I said, “Whatty?” as I always respond.

“I think I finally get what you’ve been saying for so long, “ she said. A tear came to my eye as I said, “Excellent!”

And we headed down the path, back to the Outpost of the Present Now, to continue our journey. We will always have Raven’s Mail in the inboxes of our memories.

Copyright October 2007, Todd W. Deatherage

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