"All that is gold does not glitter;
Not all those who wander are lost."
- J.R.R. Tolkien
Day 136 -Sunday, November 5, 1995 - From our base camp at Quartz Mountain state park, several walkers made a short drive over to Altus Lake to watch the sun rise, to sing, and to offer tobacco.
They washed their hands and faces in the cool lake water, and anointed each other with the water for purification—an ancient practice in many cultures the world over.
Back in camp we packed up all our gear, squeezed it into vehicles, and when everyone was ready we set out on the road in a tight caravan. We drove to yesterday’s marker.
Then in silence all of us, about 33 pilgrims, set out walking down the road in one tight group, just the way they elders had been encouraging us. Together we walked the final four miles of Oklahoma's Route 9 to the Texas border.
Immediately after our first steps of the day, a Sunbow appeared in the South, and continued to reveal itself while our walk stepped on toward the west. Feeling better after her difficult night, Ineke pushed the baby carriage along the road, while infant Doongees smiled and rested within.
The final mile of Oklahoma, we broke our silence and started in with our drums and rattles, lifting the Sunbow chant that had been gifted to Ned Pashene in the Sweat Lodge the night before our walk began.
When we came to the state line, before we crossed. Ned and Joe held everyone back. They set to work laying out a line of cedar boughs and prayer across the road, right on the line. The cedar and prayers were set across the road as a spiritual barrier to all the troubles behind us, and to keep Tom and Lauren away.
After holding hands and stretching out to form a line the width of the roadway, we stepped in unison from Oklahoma into Texas, where our trail became County Road 203. No one looked back.
We felt happy and united. We had not seen Tom or had to deal with his emotional outbursts for several days. We felt rid of him, and ready to go on the rest of the way from Texas to California in unity.
Everyone was looking up to the Sunbow in the sky, and regarding it as a marvelous omen. We felt at that time that the true spirit of the walk had been restored, and that it would now unfold according to plan.
By phone I learned that Bess—the Toyota pickup registered in my name that we yielded to Tom two days ago—had been impounded back in Chickasha by the County Sheriff.
Apparently, an unlicensed minor was driving it, and the sheriff had stopped him for speeding. After we digested this news, I let for Chickasha in the company of Karen Fletcher, who had just donated the horse trailer to our walk to serve as our mobile kitchen. We drove back into Oklahoma to recover the truck, while the rest of the walkers headed onward to Wellington, Texas.
As we drove, Karen told me of a vision that has come to her several times. "When I see the walk, I always see over the group the image of a large White Eagle with its wings spread wide for protection."
Karen's vision reminded me of a story that J.T. Garrett had told me back in 1990when I interviewed him for my book, Profiles in Wisdom: Native Elders Speak About the Earth.
A man of Cherokee heritage, J.T. told me that when he was a senior in college he passed out during an exam, and at that time he had his first visitation with what he called the White Spirit Eagle.
"It's similar to the White Buffalo," J.T. told me. "I saw a hugle eagle. It's wingspan covered the land, and I had the opportunity to look through the eyes of this huge bird. I could see that there was a lot of decay on Mother Earth, and there was too much being destroyed."
From this visionary experience J.T. understood that a major part of his life's work was to be helping to heal the people and the destruction of our Earth.
Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden
Read Day 137 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire