"Many persons have the wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."
- Helen Keller
Day 11 - Monday, July 3, 1995 - Gut check. We are in the gut-check zone for sure.
Our Sunbow 5 walk is by now profoundly immersed in the ceaseless intensity of the metropolitan industrial consumer pathway of life along the eastern seaboard. Everything on the busy roads is humming and moving; summer heat is scalding.
Over the next month we will travel through the densest urban areas of Turtle Island: Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. If we can walk in prayer through this unending metropolis of cars, trucks, planes, factories, homes, apartments, and malls, then we will know that we have strong feet and strong hearts.
The walk camped last night in Clinton, Connecticut, in the backyard of Paul and Holly Bristol. The Bristols learned about our odyssey through the internet, and came forward to express hospitality to wayfarers.
With the Clinton Congregational Church, the Bristols helped to feed the Sunbow walkers "like royalty" at a pot-luck supper prepared with obvious care and skill. Tom said the food tasted like love.
"Everyone we meet along the road wants to know why are walking," Tom mused over the phone while we were checking in with each other. "We tell them about the prophecies, and we encourage them to look around. They understand quickly. We don't need to say a lot."
Considered in light of the millennia-old spiritual traditions of North America, our Sunbow 5 Walk is unusual. Most prayer walks cross Turtle Island from west to east. It is of special note when a prayer walk originates in the east, like ours, and carries Medicines to the west.
When I reflect on it and imagine a geo-spiritual map of the trail we are on, I see our Sunbow 5 walk proceeding from the Eastern Door of Turtle Island along the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. For the summer we will be heading generally south.
We will soon go through Manhattan and return to the House of Mica to re-articulate the messages presented to the global community by the indigenous spiritual elders of North America.
Then our multi-racial, multi-spiritual band will walk south to Cherokee territory at the Qualla Boundary in North Carolina. On the Qualla Boundary we make a deliberate turn toward the setting sun and engage the long trail to Malibu and Los Angleles. Ultimately we will travel north and then northwest to walk the final miles to our destination, the Western Gat at Point Conception, California.
Grandfather Thomas Banyacya
Months ago when Grandfather Commanda and Tom consulted with Hopi interpreter Thomas Banyacya about where our walk should end, Thomas pointed to the Western Gate as the holy place for us to make our concluding ceremony in unity -- all the peoples, all the colors, all the traditions -- one heart, one mind that life may go on in a clean and respectful way.
For the people of North America and for all our relatives, we are striving to re-trace the footsteps of the ancestors, to find what was left long ago by the side of the trail, and to put our discoveries to a healing purpose. This is the calling we have heard. This is the path we are walking. We have a long way to go.