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