Odyssey of the 8th Fire is the true tale
of an epic pilgrimage for the Earth
across North America

by people of all colors and faiths.

  - A creative non-fiction book in online evolution - ◊
© - 2007 by Steven McFadden

To hear a sample
audio recording of
Odyssey of the 8th Fire,
click here.


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"It is important to keep your soul within yourself, to learn how to survive, but to survive with other people. It’s important to ask your brothers and sisters to help you. To ask them to pray for you, that you will not lose yourself.

"When you get caught up in your work, when you get caught up in your daily life, to remember to ask someone to pray for your soul to return to your body. When we begin to forget about our soul, then we become an empty shell."

- Johnny Moses

Day 134 - Friday, November 3, 1995 - Early in the morning Tom stormed back into camp. He was still angry. He demanded the keys and registration for our little blue pickup truck, Bess. He said he wants to go ahead of the walk with Lauren, Charlie and Stacey, and to take the truck with him. His clothing, his tent, his feathers, and his medicine pipe are in the back of the truck. But we need the truck to move the tents, sleeping bags, and other gear of over 30 walkers. 

I went over to where the truck was parked to talk with him. Running Fawn went with me to serve as a peace anchor. We both knew Tom would be powerfully emotional, and that I would need support. Tom demanded the truck. He would not take no for an answer. He became very loud.

A Kiowa tribal police officer came over to find out what the dispute was. She immediately ordered Lauren Keahbone to stand back away from the encounter. She said Lauren was unwelcome on the Kiowa reservation based on a long record of past behavior as a trouble maker, and that Lauren was certainly not welcome to participate in this dispute.

The officer turned her attention to Tom and me, and asked who was registered as the legal owner of the truck. I stepped forward. Because there had been no other practical possibility when the truck was donated to the walk on Day 1, Tom had asked me to register and insure it, and I had agreed. I was listed as the legal owner of the truck.

Kiowa logo with 10 feathers to represent the 10 Kiowa Medicine Bundles.

Tom continued to press the issue, insisting he had the right and the need for the truck. Running Fawn and I took a few minutes to consult with the other walkers, and then eventually yielded the truck to Tom. Our consensus was that we wanted Tom to go and to leave us all alone. If giving him the truck would accomplish that aim, we would let it go.

After Running Fawn and I walked back and conceded the truck to Tom, the Kiowa police officer turned and lectured him. She told him he was behaving badly, and that he should be ashamed of the way he was leading the prayer walk.

After Tom got possession of the truck he walked into our camp, the circle of our tents. He was furious and ferocious, searching for the laptop computer that we used to post to the Internet. No one would give it to him, or tell him where it was stored. There was more anger and shouting, but the computer was never produced. Eventually Tom left in one direction. We packed up our tents and gear and headed off in the other direction: west.

Our departure from the reservation had a "Let's get out of Dodge" feel about it. We had shamed ourselves in front of the Kiowa, who had been so warm and hospitable to us. We had lost our tempers, become angry, and sought to harm one another with harsh feelings and hard words. For the second day in a row, we peace pilgrims had behaved in an ugly, immature manner.

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We set a band of pilgrims out on the road to walk, and squeezed all our gear into the few vehicles at our disposal, and headed west to Quartz Mountain State Park in southwestern Oklahoma.

We arrive in beauty - We moved our camp today from the Kiowa Reservation in Carnegie to Quartz Mountain State Park in southwestern Oklahoma.

The ranger at the park, after coming to understand the purpose of our walk and our lack of resources, paid the camping fees for us out of his own pocket. Then he gathered and brought us two loads of firewood in his pickup truck. He said he wanted to help us out.

That night in camp at Quartz Mountain we were relieved and happy. We felt as though we had gotten free of Tom and his oppressive behavior, and that we -- about 30 of us -- could now proceed on the Sunbow 5 pilgrimage in a sacred manner.

While Tom now has the pickup truck, Bess, we have been immediately restored. Our walk was joined today by Einar Sunde, 38, of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He drove up late in the day and waved hello to us all from behind the wheel of his brand new, shiny, maroon Toyota pickup truck -- a truck 10 years newer than Bess.

Einar had read about our walk on the Internet, felt the call, and drove east to Oklahoma to find us. Somehow he did. He immediately put himself and his truck in uncomplaining service, hauling water, firewood, and whatever else he could pack into it. Einar says he will journey as a pilgrim with us all the way to the Western Gate.

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That night in camp -- working out of the brand new Sunbow 5 Mobile Kitchen (the horse trailer) -- Three Rivers supervised the preparation of a huge pot of chicken soup, several massive lasagnas, and steamed apples for desert. We exhaled our tension, feasted, and contemplated our prospects.

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Moutain bluebirds inhabit the Quartz Mountains in winter.

One of the great natural treasures of Oklahoma, Quartz Mountain State Park is a lovely, welcoming destination.

Formed some 270 million years ago as part of the extended, rugged Ouchita chain, the mountains have been worn down over the eons. Once they soared over 20,000 jagged feet above the plains; now they are smooth hills studded with giant granite stones, no higher than 2,000 feet. Still, they are beautiful, mystical, memorable.

Quartz Mountain rises above the sparkling waters of Lake Altus. The 6,000-acre lake was created by daming the North Fork Red River in the 1930s -- a task undertaken by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

We felt called to make ceremony in this exquisitely beautiful place. Here we experienced the power of the earth vividly in the lake, the trees, and the mountains themselves. We felt safe, clear, close to nature. We were inclined to thanksgiving.

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This Ouchita Mounatin region where we have taken refuge was, in the 1500s, claimed by the Spanish. They held it till the time of Napoleon, when it was enfolded in France's Louisiana Province.

The Louisiana Purchase (1803) included the lands now known as Oklahoma.

France sold the region to the fledgling United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase in the early 1800s, and after that it was claimed by Mexico, then by the Republic of Texas. In 1896 the region came back under the claim of the United States of America, and was assigned to the Oklahoma Territory.

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Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden

Read Day 135 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire

 
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  With thanksgiving — Steven McFadden



 
     

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Odyssey of the 8th Fire Copyright © 2006-2008 by Steven McFadden