Honor to the land – snippet from “Happy, I am” by Ron McFarland

To bring favor to a man, the worship of the soul brings honor to the land. For it is well known by the Holy Ones that we were cast into the forth world as Earth People. The essence of red soil, clay and blood. To seek the great spirit is the right way to live. The heart is in harmony when we forward the love of Mother Earth and Father Sky.

The first of four destinations to which I was was led was the Hubbell Trading post. Hubbell stands as an end point, a blank sign post and an exclamation point to the Long Walk. It was at this trading post where trade was expected by the white man as the one best simple solution to infuse economy back into a fractured and weary people of the red Mesa lands following their return back home. But the repatriation from Fort Sumner in New Mexico following the Long Walk to the Bosque Redondo Reservation by the U.S. Military, grappled and irreparably tore the fabric of this once great Nation, well over a century ago. The Nation has not since healed.

The day was blustery. Wind thumped on the sides of the van as I started down a desolate 2-lane road. The road snaked into the vast desert. I recalled that to the Navajo, all snakes are to be avoided. And I was coasting gently on the spine of one. Snakes are the relatives of the lightning people and it is understood that thunder will soon prevail. I looked to the clear sky. In a gentle tone, I began humming a Carlos Nakkai flute tune, as a way of prayer. A thank you to a deity that I did not know. Yet the tapping wind reminded me that it is the certain sacred source of life. It is the essence of our breath.

Shane, my friend, the artist and lover of life, told me often that he did not believe in God.  Not at least in any Western sense. As an artist, he knew love and disappointment. To be an artist is to feel the sweet pulsating scorpion sting of love. Pain and pleasure, wrapped tightly in an addictive sugar nougat. To be an artist is to be inspired by by the breath of many unseen things. This may be the domain from which God must exist. I wondered if Shane knew any differently about the spirit now.

I recollected an incident from a few weeks prior. Shane barged into the office around 8 a.m. and shouted, “I got it. I figured it out! I am an apatheist!”

“What the fuck!” I jerked back in my leather seat as my heart thumped heavily. I’d been at work since 7 a.m. anticipated Shane’s typical groggy arrival. But today was different.

I continued. “You scared the shit out of me. What are you talking about?” I peered at him.

The white parts of his eyes were reddish. Not bloodshot and streaked from booze or pot. His eyes had a tired red tint that colors exhausted eyes. I knew he must have been up all night painting again. He continued, “An apatheist. It a neologism that fuses ‘apathy’ and ‘theism.’ It means someone who has absolutely no interest in the question of God’s existence and is jus as uninterested in telling anyone else what to believe.”

He stood there proudly waiting for my reaction. I smiled, shook my head from side to side, and looked back to my computer screen. It was these small moments, the sparks of  his effervescence, his crazy nature, that I missed.

(c) 2017 by Ron McFarland, All Rights Reserved

The Medicine Man Knows of the Rhythm – excerpt from “Happy, I am” by Ron McFarland

The Medicine Man Knows of the Rhythm – excerpt from “Happy, I am” by Ron McFarland

The Navajo medicine man knows of this rhythm and pulse. It is shared by the subtle song of red-tipped grey northern cardinal, the warble of the thick-billed kingbird or in the other tunes, sounds and stories that many creatures of Northern Arizona tell. It is also in the whisper of the wind coursing through pine needles of the Ponderosa and the slant of the morning sun that the story of interplay between mother earth and father sky is told.

If you listen deeply, time passes in subtle waves. The undulation is barely noticeable to my undeveloped ear. Yet, in each quiet moment in time, a certain shape and definition is given to the pulse of the day. It is the breath that rushes through our lungs. It is in the glow of the sun over the horizon. It is in the chatter of the Albert squirrel scampering up the orange bark. These are the simple signs of the cadence of mother earth’s heart. It’s the rhythm seen by father sky. The tempo is palpable to an open heart.

This is the land where spirit roams between red sandstone and hematite. Whispers from the earth-soul echo from the canyon walls. Each facet of life is reflected in the four seasons. Winter, a season of solace, brings forth contemplation. Crisp winter mornings, barren of active wildlife, will soon be met by heavy spring snowfalls. Blankets of snow muffles the already quiet winter. By noon, after a snowfall, most of the snow has melted away, giving moisture to the dry earth in this barren season, offering hope for the up-coming season.

The snowy springtime yields a green canopy of freshness, ushering in birth in late-spring. Animals, birds and insects begin the annual dance of life. Stances of white aspen leaf-out and flutter in the breeze. They are the accent of green and white against the towering vistas of rusty mesas. Durning late-spring, gentle melodies arise from the waves of purple three-awn and tufted green hair-grass. The bloom of flowers is building to a crescendo. It is a time of blessings.

Summer moves slowly in on late-spring. In the evenings, the mountains soon are accented by the rich glow of orange-painted sunsets. In the sky, the sculptured face of God is in the clouds of the summer monsoons. Daily, an intense burst of heavy rain provides a raging 45 minute rain which provides nourishment to the land. The grace of spirit, in all it’s splendor, is shown by the land.

Fresh summer nights ease into gentle autumn breezes. The fall air fills with the chatter of rustling foliage. Quaking aspen leaves turn from a vibrant green to a brilliant yellow. The subtle green leaves of gamble oak tree transform into several ringing hues of red and red-brown. The colors shape a rich autumn pallet and longer evenings. Thanks is given for a plentiful season.

The full circle of seasons, at last, is completed. The cold of winter arrives once again. In the deep chill of the quiet winter, the love of the land nestles into the mountains. Retrospection is given to past seasons, while prayerful chanting ushers in the future ones. This is the rhythm of this land.

I headed out in my bondo-patched robin blue 1982 VW minivan. The old-lady has served me well during the past thirty-five plus years. It has been my shelter, my lumbering ride, and my co-conspirator in escapes. Flagstaff and the San Francisco peaks are now in the small rearview mirror. I proceed East on I-40. The elevation drops from 7,000 feet to 4,000 feet in a matter of several miles. The tall ponderosa pines of the peaks give way to their scrubbier cousins, the juniper pine. Fields of juniper soon give way to the brown-red sand and dust of the high desert. I head towards the town of Winslow, Arizona.

Streaks of light pink over pale blue skies provide the backdrop for distant mesas. The absence of trees allows wind to pick up strength. Gusts of wind thump occasionally the box-like structure of the van. Snow lays in scattered patches on the desert floor. These were the spitting remnants of the evening snowfall last night in Flagstaff. I finally set off on this journey to honor a friend.

(c) 2017, Ron McFarland, All Rights Reserved

Where spirit roams – snippet from “Happy, I am” by Ron McFarland

This is the land where spirit roams between red sandstone and hematite. Whispers from the earth-soul echo from the canyon walls. Each facet of life is reflected in the four seasons. Winter, a season of solace, brings forth contemplation. Crisp winter mornings, barren of active wildlife, will soon be met by heavy spring snowfalls. Blankets of snow muffles the already quiet winter. By noon, after a snowfall, most of the snow has melted away, giving moisture to the dry earth in this barren season.

The snowy springtime will yield to a green canopy of freshness, ushering in birth in late-spring. Animals, birds and insects begin their annual dance of life. Stances of white aspen trees flutter in the breeze. They deliver an accent of green and white to the towering vistas of rusty mesas. Durning late-spring, gentle melodies arise from waves of purple three-awn and tufted green hair-grass. The bloom of flowers is building towards a crescendo. It is a time of blessings.

Summer moves slowly in on late-spring. The mountains are soon accented in the evening by the rich glow from orange-painted sunsets. In the sky, the sculptured face of God is placed in the clouds of summer monsoons. Daily, an intense burst of heavy rain provides a rapid 45 minute rain that nourishes the land. Grace, in all it’s splendor, is shown on the land.

Fresh summer nights will yield to gentle autumn breezes. The fall air fills with the sound of the rustling leaves.  Quaking aspen leaves turn from bright green to a brilliant yellow. Also, the rich green leaves of Gamble oak tree transform into several hues of red and red-brown. The colors provide a rich autumn pallet. It is a time to welcome in the longer evening. Thanks for a good season is given.

The full circle of seasons is completed. The cold of winter arrives once again. In the deep chill of winter, love of the land nestles quietly into the mountains. Retrospection is given to past seasons, while prayerful chanting ushers in the future. This is the rhythm of this land.

I headed out in my bondo-patched robin blue 1982 VW minivan. The old-lady has served me well during the past thirty-five plus years. It has been my shelter, my lumbering ride, and my escape. Flagstaff and the San Francisco peaks are now in the rearview mirror. I proceed East on I-40. The elevation drops from 7,000 feet to 4,000 feet in a matter of several miles. The tall ponderosa pines of the peaks give way to their scrubbier cousins, the juniper pine. Fields of juniper soon yield to the brown-red sand and dust of the high desert. I head towards the town of Winslow, Arizona.

Streaks of light pink over pale blue skies provide the backdrop for distant mesas. The absence of trees allows wind to pick up strength. Gusts of wind occasionally thump the box-like structure of the van. Snow lays in scattered patches on the desert floor. These were the spitting remnants of the evening snowfall last night in Flagstaff. I finally set off on this journey to honor a friend.

—————————————-

To bring favor to a man, the worship of the soul will bring honor to the land. For it is well known by the Holy Ones that we were cast into the forth world as Earth People. The essence of red soil, clay and blood. To seek the great spirit is the right way to live. The heart is in harmony when we forward the love of Mother Earth and Father Sky.

The first of four destinations to which I was was led was the Hubbell Trading post. Hubbell stands as an end point, a blank sign post and an exclamation point to the Long Walk. It was at this trading post where trade was expected by the white man as the one best simple solution to infuse economy back into a fractured and weary people of the red Mesa lands, following their return back home. But the repatriation from Fort Sumner in New Mexico following the Long Walk to the Bosque Redondo Reservation by the U.S. Military, grappled and irreparably tore the fabric of this once great Nation, well over a century ago. The Nation has not since healed.

(c) 2017, Ron McFarland, all rights reserved

The tempo is palpable to an open heart – from “Happy, I am” by Ron McFarland

I wait for a few minutes. My hands are freezing. I shove them into the pockets of my leather jacket, but the pockets are cold. I look at the saddle that bridges between the two mountain peaks. The rich blue of the vast father sky is cradled by the saddle’s open arms. Deep corridors carve down the rocky face of the mountain. Rich veins of mother earth are exposed in crevices scored down the mountainside. A whip of wind brings me to attention.

In acupuncture, the traditional Chinese medical doctor seeks discovery of the varied aspects hidden in a single pulse. Is the pulse level strong and steady? Does the rhythm show decay? Is the pulse influenced by other factors in the body?

The Navajo medicine man knows of this rhythm and pulse. It is shared by the subtle song of red-tipped grey northern cardinal, the warble of the thick-billed kingbird or in the other tunes, sounds and stories that many creatures of Northern Arizona tell. It is also in the whisper of the wind coursing through pine needles of the Ponderosa and the slant of the morning sun that the story of interplay between mother earth and father sky is told.

If you listen deeply, time passes in subtle waves. The undulation is barely noticeable to my undeveloped ear. Yet, in each quiet moment in time, a certain shape and definition is given to the pulse of the day. It is the breath that rushes through our lungs. It is in the glow of the sun over the horizon. It is in the chatter of the Albert squirrel scampering up the orange bark. These are the simple signs of the cadence of mother earth’s heart. It’s the rhythm seen by father sky. The tempo is palpable to an open heart.

(c) 2017, Ron McFarland, All Rights Reserved

A snippet – Native American – From “Happy, I am” by Ron McFarland

Directly to my north rise the majestic San Francisco peaks. The towering mountain range was named the Dook’o’oosłííd by the Navajo. It is the sacred mountain of the west. Thirteen regional tribes hold Dook’o’oosłííd quietly, in solemn ceremonies and soulful song. Yet, it still suffers as if it is a despoiled innocent, from the activities of generations now long gone. Then, the white man arrived on horses, mantled with silver and gold. The lest conspicuous and most insidious of the group were draped in drab brown robes. Once they huddled around a makeshift wooden cross, built in tribute to an unknown monotheistic deity. Ceremoniously, they attributed the Dook’o’oosłííd, the dear mountain, to one of their many saints — St. Francis. The range, by proclimation, was set forth to be known as the San Francisco peaks. And Dook’o’oosłííd was vanquished and vanished from the lexicon. To conquer the oppressed, necessitates a rapid circumscription followed by an immediate and intentional castration of the subserviant culture. This occurred as if the whites were then certain that the native peoples never really existed. At least, not as humans.

Yet, no man ever expects to be conned. No red man, no person of earthen rust whose soul was pulled from the blue sky, would have seen this trickery coming. I do not find it a shock that the first people refer to whites as the spawn of the devil. With each measured and conniving act over the centuries, the pale devils have used language as one of several certain wedges to intentionally pry the indigenous people from their culture. Without culture, there is no identity. And without the cultural bond to the land, the earth is for the taking. If it were not for St. Francis for which the mountain was renamed, the deed would have been done in the honor of one of many dozens of Saints available. And would each saint agree? But a revival of honor has now begun a slow rumbling. I am now convinced that the true heart of each saint would have rolled over in their collective graves in recoil of the white man’s actions. And so it is now. Pink, orange and fire red streaks in sunsets over the mountains must be the blush of St. Francis for the injustice and continued onslaught on the native peoples. I am certain. For these sins and other unnamed evil misdeeds, as a white man, I hold the shame of my progenies.

(c) 2017, Ron McFarland