I serve on the Advisory Board of Paws for Empowerment with Crisis Center North, which…
IN HONOR OF ALL SAINTS DAY AND THE ANCESTORS AMONG US.
The moon is 91 percent illuminated, on her way to fullness on Friday night. There are 60 days left of this year, this day marking the one day when the veil between worlds is at its thinnest. I’ve already lit a bank of candles in the crooked corner of the dining room in honor of that thinning, here in this deeper ink of the darkness that sinks into itself just before dawn.
Over the candles, I said out loud: “Start again today, Dora. Write today. Whatever comes to you, write it.” My mantra said aloud every morning as a promise. Write about yellow aspens sweeping the mountains here or how the light cuts sideways in visible slanted rays or how the church bells are muted now by the windows of the house all closed against the chill and about how you miss those bells, the sharpness of them through the summer months punctuating the passing of your days with the windows as wide as possible to their pealing. Write about loving ghosts because even God knows that you still do that. Write about the spirits you can sometimes see and hear, who make themselves known to you when you can get the hell out of your way and their way long enough to allow yourself to listen. Write about how you can meld yourself into the slipstream and balance your presence in both worlds and how hard it is sometimes to come back here, to even want to come back here, and how the ‘away’ pulls and pulls at your spirit, even though you know you are not yet done here, even if sometimes you wish you were.
Write about loving and about knowing that loving is sometimes exhausting and knowing also that loving itself is not meant to exhaust you endlessly but to allow you to be and to unfold and that courting your own exhaustion is yet another way of deferring your dreams, even still.
Write prayers to the Elders and to the angels who hover and to the one on the ground with you even right now, and about his how his name is old Aramaic for The Helper and how he smiled at you when he finally told you. Write about the black horse loose on the BIA road as you drove alone from Rosebud through Pine Ridge to Wounded Knee, or about the drum at Sundance and the blasted terrain of The Badlands and how Crazy Horse was named for his pale eyes and for his silence. Write about running through the grasslands, how the wind made them look like an ocean and about how, once, that land was an ocean of fire and you were running through it in a fury with the flesh of your thighs burning.
Write about how you were born into lightning, about how sometimes even now thunder sounds like your name on the voice of an unknowable god whom you have simultaneously cursed and committed yourself to while standing on the mesa calling her a bastard in defiance of how ‘alone’ has been bred to into your breath and bones and blood in this living. Write about the smolder of sage and sweetgrass and incense in the rafters making you swoon and the look on his face when he comforted you and how it was the same look as he was leaving you that last time. And then write about the soul-caving that came afterward, and how people have often referred to you as a ‘creature’ and how that word ‘creature’ is only yet another word for ‘alone’. Write about the eagle feather fan whose leather binding is stained with the salt from your own grip, about how your hair will not hold any braid for long and about how the stamp of the sun is fading from your cheekbones even right now.
Write about how the sky is both cobalt and indigo right now, too, as the night loosens its hold and sun is slowly staking claim on this day that is the in-between itself when the spirits whisper themselves in the air all around us. Write about them, those spirits, about their haunting and their helping and about how much of this living so often balances on the ability to know the difference. Write about knowing the difference. Write about the knowing itself. Write about how you have come to know. Write about how the sky is blue infused and the trees are stark against its backdrop and how the path beneath their arms is a beckoning, as if your ancestors are there waiting for you, welcoming you, full of stories to tell you that remind you that you are the continuation of them, that their longing beats on within you and that you are the bridge of all that has passed and all that is yet to come, and that you alone carry the braided entrance to both in the thread of your tenuous being. Write about them, your ancestors, waiting for you now beneath the yellowed aspens beyond the courtyard, about how they are calling to you, reminding you yet again that you know, warning you that the knowing you bear within your being will not be denied.