"We must all become caretakers of the Earth."
- Haida Gwaii, Traditional Circle of Elders
Day 179 - Monday, December 18, 1995 - Scott called from the main group of about 40 walkers. He said they had just finished a demanding day on the road, and gotten themselves as far along as Tuba City, Arizona.
He said the walkers were enjoying hot showers in Tuba City. Now that night is falling they are preparing to shuttle back to base camp at Titus’ farm in Hotevilla.
|Tuba City, Arizona has never looked so good -- Vehicles create streaks of light along U.S. Route 160, making their way through the starlit nigh while Tuba City radiates electric intensity. Photo by LightforAll courtesy of Flickr.com
"We are all well," Scott reported. "Several people have had colds in recent days, but everyone is better now. The weather really hasn't been that bad. It is cold, and a blanket of snow fell the other night, but it has melted. All in all, we have no complaints."
The Sunbow pilgrims continue under the guidance of Algonquin elder William Commanda, as they have since Day 1. Scott reminded me that in Albuquerque, Grandfather Commanda had reaffirmed:"You must walk and pray together, and you must forgive and love each other. It is the only way that this walk can work."
But togetherness is not happening. The walk is currently in three parts. Tom’s part. The main part of the walk is now heading toward Flagstaff. Tom and allies have declined the open opportunity to walk with the pilgrims and is somewhere in the west doing something probably in a car, but not communicating. James and Norma Duncan and their five daughters are also off on their own somewhere; they undoubtedly are actually walking and praying.
Scott made a point of reiterating that Tom and his few allies are welcome to re-join and be part of the circle. This was made plain in Albuquerque, and the group wanted to make it plain to Tom and the others again. He asked me to put the word out.
Despite the routine hardships of the road and the cold weather, morale among the walkers remains high. As has been true since Oklahoma City, decisions that affect the group are reached via consensus in circles that are held almost daily.
"We have had many adventures, and many wonderful meetings with Dineh and Hopi spiritual elders over the last couple of weeks," Scott reported. The Hopi elders included Martin Gashweseoma, Emory Holmes, Dan Evehema, and Rena Murillo, the daughter of Titus.
“The elders blessed our walk,” Scott said, “and told us that we had done what needed to be done in Hopiland. They said that it was a good time for us to move on.”
"We will move our base camp tomorrow to the park at Sunset Crater National Monument, near Flagstaff, Arizona. A couple of days later we will be in the Sedona area. It is so beautiful here, we are constantly uplifted by the natural world around us.
"Right now," Scott said, "the main thing we need is a chain saw. We have to work up a lot of wood for the camp every day, and so we are forever needing to borrow someone's chainsaw. That doesn't always work out. So if anyone has a used chainsaw they could donate, that would be a big help."
|Sunset Crater - Image of the volcanic crater at the Sunset Crater National Park near Flagstaff, Arizona. Photo by the National Park Service.
Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden
Read Day 180 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire