“What you've done becomes the judge of what you're going to do especially in other people's minds.
"When you're traveling, you are what you are. People don't have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.”
- William Least Heat Moon
Day 125 - Wednesday, October 25, 1995 - The Sunbow walk reached Oklahoma City during the day, then the walkers returned East to Whispering Pines Bed & Breakfast for the night.
|Whispering Pines Bed & Breakfast outside Norman, Oklahoma generously played host to the Sunbow 5 wayfarers for nearly a week, giving Grandfather a room, and the walkers space to pitch tents.
The owners of Whispering Pines have kindly offered to let the Sunbow pilgrims stay on a bit longer, encamped through the weekend. Since Whispering Pines is a short drive to Oklahoma City, the walkers will readily be able to venture into the city for all the public events set for the weekend, and then retreat back to the country. There really are a lot of large, beautiful whispering pine trees here on this land.
|Joining the pilgrimage this week: Larry and Clair Mitchell, and their son Jay (seated). Author photo, 1995.
Sunday is the big day when the walkers will gather at Wiley Post Park in Oklahoma City, and then walk to the site of the federal building that was destroyed last Spring in a terrorist bomb blast. At the building site, there will be an interfaith prayer circle.
The nights are becoming colder. With the prospect of wintry temperatures looming, some of the walkers spent Wednesday reconnoitering for cold-weather camping gear.
Joe Soto spoke with the Quartermaster at the local National Guard Armory, who promised to check around and see if any surplus equipment could be made available.
For dinner the walkers were invited to enjoy anything on the menu at the Clear Bay Grill, a restaurant overlooking Lake Thunderbird. Not a crumb was left on a plate. The lake view added ambience to the walker's much-appreciated meal; the earth in this part of the state is red, and that pigment is reflected in the color of the waters.
James and Norma Duncan and their five daughters left the walk today. James wouldn't say why. He's not much for talking about that kind of thing. He just said "philosophical differences," and let it go at that. He said they will all probably walk to the west as a family, after he sits on the hill in Talequah for a few days to pray and meditate about it.
In the last two days I have heard from James, from Ralph Jones, from Dave Reid via Linda West, from Gaston, and from Shane. There are some hurting souls lying on the road behind the walk, having left because they could not abide the maelstroms of anger they experienced from Tom. Those are just the people who have been in touch in the last two days. I haven’t heard from others, such as Kay Deschenes. She left our walk in July, frustrated that the male leaders on the walk were not allowing space for the women’s voices to be heard.
I will travel to Oklahoma City this coming Saturday to be with the walk for the next week or so. In preparation for departure, I sent out a press release to Oklahoma media:
WALKING ACROSS AMERICA:
PRAYER CIRCLE AT OKC BOMB SITE
The Sunbow 5 Walk for the Earth has now traveled over 2,300 miles, and will stop next weekend (October 28-29, 1995) in Oklahoma City for a special prayer walk through downtown, followed by a prayer circle at the site of the Murrah federal building shattered by a terrorist bomb blast six months ago on Patriot's Day, April 19, 1995.
The public is invited to participate in all events.
About 35 people are part of the walk now. Grandfather William Commanda, 83, a respected elder of the Algonquin Indian people in Canada, and the keeper of both the Primstaven and the Seven Fires Wampum Belt, is guiding the Sunbow 5 Walk.
He is joined by people representing the many colors and spiritual traditions of North America.
The Sunbow 5 Walk for the Earth began Friday morning, June 23, 1995 at First Encounter Beach in Eastham, Massachusetts, on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. On that date the Sunbow pilgrims took the first steps on an epic journey that will culminate sometime in February, 1996, on the shore of the Pacific Ocean near Santa Barbara, California.
The Sunbow 5 Walk for the Earth is a response to a long-held vision of traditional native elders of North America. One of their goals is to bring together people of all races whose concern for healing the Earth, now and for future generations, surpasses any racial or religious divisions.
The Sunbow 5 Walk is both a gesture of hope and a deed of unity; not a political statement, but a prayer. Every person of good heart is invited to take a step, or many steps, on this journey. Participants walk in harmony, with no personal agendas -- rather for the Earth and for all the Creations who share life upon the Earth.
Along the way, the Sunbow 5 walkers are meeting, talking with, and listening to, people all across the continent. The walkers have already stopped to meet with officials at United Nations headquarters in New York, at a festival in their honor in Independence Park in Philadelphia, in Washington D.C., at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.
Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden
Read Day 126 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire