"All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood...
"...Over these things I could not see:
These were the things that bounded me.“
- Edna St. Vincent Millay
Day 103 - Tuesday, October 3, 1995 - As the brutal wind and rain whipped through the night, some walkers weathered the storm under the pavilion at Pinnacle Mountain State Park. There they huddled until the sun pushed itself up over the eastern horizon.
The park's dominant feature came into view, Pinnacle Mountain. The mountain rises more than a thousand feet above the Arkansas River Valley.
Pinnacle Mountain's cone-shaped peak, just west of capital city Little Rock is part of the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, and has since antiquity been a central Arkansas landmark.
Located near the geographic center of Arkansas, the city of Little Rock also derives its name from a sacred rock on the south bank of the Arkansas River.
In 1722 the French explorer Bernard de la Harpe encountered two notable rock formations on the south bank of the Arkansas River, just at the place where a Quapaw Indian village was situated. He spoke of the smaller formation as la petite roche (the little rock) and the larger as la grande roche (the big rock). He established a trading post near the Little Rock settlement of Quapaw people, and the name took hold to describe the city that would eventually emerge.
Our Sunbow 5 Walk for the Earth is about half over now. Alycia Longriver, who has been with the walk since Day 4 in Massachusetts, has been keeping rough track of the miles. She told me that by her reckoning this is it for the walk: the halfway divide between east and west.
The walkers have taken note of this benchmark, and also decided that they need some time to get beyond personal conflicts that have arisen, and to regain their spiritual focus. The walkers will remain in the Little Rock area until Sunday morning, and then move on down the road toward the west.
After a lengthy council circle this day, almost everyone in the group has decided to fast for four days to strengthen the spiritual focus of Sunbow 5. The fast will start at Sunset on Wednesday evening, and continue until Sunset on Saturday.
The Sun sets on the Sunbow 5 walkers in Arkansas.
Photo courtesy of Stock.xchng.com
The circle discussion about the fast was passionate, with intense feelings and an element of argument. What is this fast really about? Is it in fact spiritual, or are some members of the gorup trying to make some sort of a poltical statment? Some members of the group feel this is not clear.
I'm back home in New Hampshire now, and have checked in with John Heyman, the treasurer for the Sunbow Foundation. He told me that Tom had no authority as a lone individual to fire me as walk coordinator, or as a member of the board of directors. He reminded me that such an action would require a majority vote of the board, and that since the board was evenly split 2-2, that was not going to happen.
John told me to set the confrontation aside for now, and to get back to work. He said he would travel out to the walk himself, in a week or two, and that he would see what he could do to resolve the financial and leadership questions then.
From Little Rock, Jacki called to give me an update on the walk. She said, "Everything we see is polluted. We cannot drink the water here. The roadsides are crowded with dead animals. I have never seek so much roadkill. Yet we do not sense concern. So far we have not been particularly well received, or noticed, by anyone in Arkansas.
“Things need to change, and for change to happen there must be a sacrifice. This fast that we have agreed to do is part of the sacrifice we will make to help bring about awareness of the need for all of us to protect Mother Earth.
"I know and many of the other walkers also know that we are more in tune with the will of spirit when we fast,” Jacki said. “We can feel spirit and respond to it, and be of greater service. We are more focused and clear. That is why we are fasting."
While they are undergoing the fast the walkers will spend part of the time on the steps at the State Capitol building in Little Rock. The rest of the time they will walk through the city to the Arkansas River, and to other sites, praying for the Earth as they step.
The newspapers report that today, far to our west, a Los Angeles jury has acquitted football and movie star O.J. Simpson of charges that he murdered his ex-wife Nicole, and her lover Ronald Goldman.
Simpson, the jury and the court ruled, may go free. The crime, which has drawn such spectacular media attention, remains officially unsolved.
Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden
Read Day 104 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire