"Never take a leaf or move a pebble without asking permission. Always ask permission. That maintains the balance and teaches humility. That leaf you want to pluck could be far more important than the little purpose you have in mind. You don't know. So ask permission first..We can't go on this way with the modern culture. Plants, species, and animals are dying, We need to listen to the spirits and bring them back."
- Doñ Jose Matsuwa,
Day 47 - Tuesday, August 8, 1995 - Rain fell upon the walkers again as they broke camp at the Sedalia Center and moved on south down the Blue Ridge Parkway. They walked on through the rain. By the end of the day they had reached the Peaks of Otter. Alycia hiked the last 11 miles alone.
Meanwhile, others in the group moved the base camp ahead to Floyd, Virginia and prepared food.
The steady rain 'melted' the cardboard boxes holding gear in the back of Bess, our faithful pickup truck. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Several of the women cleaned out the back of the truck, got some sturdy plastic boxes, repacked the gear in the boxes, and then repacked the boxes on the truck. "We now have much better access to our gear," Kay said.
She reports that despite a few blisters and bug bites, everyone is in good health and generally strong spirits. In her view the group continues to work on clearer communication between the women and the men, and in generally balancing the manifold facets of this relationship -- which is they feel a microcosm of the need for this kind of balance in the larger world.
As we talked by phone Kay spoke a prophecy: "This walk will not fulfill its vision if it is solely driven by male determination, or if pathways of communication between the women and the men are not open and clear. Likewise, no one ethnic or racial group can dominate the walk for it to succeed.
"That's the last thing Grandfather Commanda said to me before I left Maniwaki to join the walk," Kay remembered. "The walk is to be guided by Native people, for the vision arises from Native understandings, he told me, but the walk cannot be led or dominated by Natives, there must be free room for all.
“No one should try to convert anyone to Native ways or beliefs. We must walk side by side as brothers and sisters who have differences but who respect those differences."
Ned told me that Joe and Inecke Soto have completed their four-day purification fasts, a sacrifice they made to strengthen themselves and the vision of the walk. "They are doing fine, and are strong and happy now," Ned said.
Several people who have been with the walk since the beginning on June 23 have exhausted their finances. Money is scarce for all.
Kay advises that people who are planning to join the walk should be prepared for both self-sufficiency and for contributing to the whole of the walk. Some people have come for a day, or a few days, expecting to be fed, sheltered, and cared for. Then they depart having contributed prayers and good intentions, but without helping to support the walk on the material plane. This just creates stress.
Several of the Sunbow walkers -- including Tom, Naoko, Charlie, Samantha, and Jacki -- left the camp in Virginia early in the morning to drive north to New York City. They intend to participate in ceremonies at the House of Mica (United Nation headquarters) marking the first annual International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples. I have promised to meet them in New York tomorrow.
Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden
Read Day 48 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire