|Deer Dancer by M.R. Chochita
Today on my morning outing, I made a concentrated effort to walk slowly and pay attention to my footfalls, breathing in…heel to toe, breathing out…stepping forward.
By slowing down and feeling the bottoms of my feet touch the ground, my inattentive mind was calmed and I wanted to send this peace to a precious member of my family.
Since I have been walking the same desert road every day, I’ve come to know its uncharted mapping. I walk with hiking poles, digging the points into the earth, swiftly moving past the rabbit brush and globe mallow.
I’ve learned how a long curving horse trail cuts below blood-red sand hills. I’ve come to know the spot where four boulders mark a dry-as-chalk arroyo, which on some days gushes with red paint shortly after a torrential downpour. Walking on, I thought of my cousin, D, donning his 60’s tie-dyed t-shirt, looking fit and joyfully engaged at our recent family reunion. His face shined; his smile contagious. It felt good to bridge the miles and years of our lives for a very short visit to learn who we are and who we have become.
I take in, and try to remember all I’ve seen, since he will not be with us too much longer. “The Father in beauty is walking with me and carrying me,” says Joseph Rael, a Native American mystic. “We are vibration and we are breathing through our feet.”
I wish that for my cousin. I wish that he will feel carried and loved; that as his energy continues to descend, the earth energy will rise up and give him balance and courage.
The ancient Pueblo Indian deer dance is performed every year by the men of the tribe. They too, carry poles; wooden sticks covered in fur, to symbolize the deer’s two front legs. Atop the dancer’s heads are deer antlers, and wrapped around their legs are clattering seashell that mix with the men’s melodious chanting. The men begin moving in delicate steps; then as the animal becomes aware of being hunted, the men’s steps escalate as they pounce, sprint and leap…giving rise to rhythmic dancing.
To touch the ground is to be a part of everything.
I hear the chimes in the courtyard on my return walk to the casa. A blustery wind stirs heavy clouds across a tin colored sky. Again I think of my cousin who is experiencing the gradual process of walking his physical body Home.
The spirit on the other side of knowing is already aware of his coming…we are doers in states of placement so that the holy self will place itself among the heavenly planes.
May the voices of our family lovingly walk D into the Vast Self, the Great Mystery, from which we all emerge, and from which we all return.