Learning to Stand

Colorado SkyThe first thing she learned as a three year old violinist was how to bow. From that first gesture all things commence.

For most of yesterday, I holed up in the Stone Cup coffee house excepting a break to go back to camp and eat lunch with Mazie and listen to her sing a song she had written that morning about her song writing partner. In turn, her partner was supposed to write a song based on stories Mazie had told her. I asked her what she had talked about and Mazie wouldn’t tell because she “didn’t like me and didn’t want to share her stories.” Which is what, I think, this time is all about. After sharing lunch, she lamented that she wanted to connect with some other people, but didn’t quite know how to do it. I listened and made some feeble suggestions and then she was off, making as many tracks away from me as she could.

There’s the doing. And then there’s the allowing. The doing is the driving and periodic suggesting and the working and the paying for. And the allowing is the stepping back and letting her discover the person she is meant to be. Both, in their own ways, will go unrecognized. This morning after walking away, i caught sight of her writing in her songbook in the tent. And all yesterday and this morning she recognized people from Telluride and parts known and unknown. And I realized that our daughter was finally stepping out on her own.

We need to help her stand independently. But the sentiment immediately collapses in on itself. How do you help someone be independent?   We have to not help.  Instead we need to walk away.

So for the week, I’m her on call mule. If she needs an assist, I’m there for her.  But she knows what she needs to do.  And where she needs to go.  And it’s time to go.  And it will mostly be without either of her parents.  And, by definition, the very best parts of it neither of us will be there to witness.

Late on our first evening, she asked me what I wanted to do. After the long drive,  all I wanted was to pop some benadryl and go off to bed.  I told her as much.  But if there’s something else you want to do, I said, I’ll do it.  Well maybe I’ll just go to bed, she whispered. But then she hesitated, turned, walked over to a circle of musicians and pulled up a chair.  I followed. They asked if she wanted to play and she took the guitar and played a Patti Griffith song. She then left and returned with her violin.

A fellow asked if she could accompany him on a song . What would she like? he asked.

Something slow, she said.

And what key?

It doesn’t matter, she said. The fellow started to play, and within half a bar Mazie had  raised the violin to her chin. And then she fell in and let her instrument sing in a sweet and aching way. He sang and turned to her and the violin carried on, bearing the song in new directions and then back around so that he could carry it again. And like that they travelled for quite a while.  Folks sat, intrigued it seemed, and strangely moved.

How long have you been playing with your dad, another musician asked as they finished.

He’s not my dad, Mazie announced. I’ve never seen this girl before in my life, the song writer said.

Raven Energy

Raven Energy © Kerry Hardy

It seems our house sitter may be losing it.  She’s become scared of the dogs.  The ravens.  The spiders and creatures that may come into the house.  She won’t go to the wash because it’s too dangerous.  There are snakes, she said.  She’s basically feeling scared of wildness.

I talked to my friend Darron this morning.  It’s probably the raven energy, he said.  It’s powerful stuff.

Raven energy.  Now there’s something to think about.

Darron is one of the few Hopi who gets, I dare say identifies, with our perspective.  He works for Facilities at Health Care.  He was one who originally opposed the destruction of the native nest.  Wait, he advised.  Wait a few months and soon enough they will fly away.  At the time, he said that all things have a purpose, that there’s a reason those birds are here on this earth.

Which is to say that every living thing occupies an environmental niche.  Each has evolved to survive in a particular place in a particular way.  And the life and demise of every thing allows others to survive.  Each of us has co-evolved with the creatures around us.  Unmanaged, we together compose an ecosystem.

Which brings us to raven energy.

The universe (at least as we know it) is basically energy moving through a system.  There’s the energy and matter that we encounter in our daily lives:  speeding cars, a musical note, plants, granite fireplace stones, metal bowls, breaking glasses.  And then of course, there’s dark matter and dark energy which we don’t yet have the correct range of senses to detect.  That stuff composes 95% of the universe and yet we can’t perceive it.  And we don’t know what the heck it is.  We don’t yet fully understand what butterflies and dogs and horses can sense.  Perhaps they know of dark energy.  And if we spoke the same language or had the hearts to listen, perhaps they could tell us.

As for the scant world that we know of – basically things and movement and explosions and music – these are really just the suds floating on the surface of the “real” universe.

In that world – the world that us humans know of – there’s kinetic energy; basically energy released from it’s material form.  The rock rolling down the hill.  A vibrating violin string, Ichiro’s bat swinging through space.  And there’s potential energy that’s still locked into atoms:  Ichiro’s bat at rest. The stilled bow.  The rock resting at the top of the hill.  Or better yet:  Ichiro’s bat waiting to be burned. And even Ichiro himself, his flesh waiting to be consumed by our ravens.

Ichiro’s flesh consumed becomes raven energy.  It’s that life force that has become instantiated temporarily in the DNA and bodies and behavior and flight of the ravens.  In this form, it feels like old energy.  It’s fierce and keen and primeval.  We associate it with death because ravens consume death.  And there has always been death which probably accounts for why ravens have been around for so long.  But they’re also opportunists which means they figure things out.  They can be just as prone to eat life (corn), which is why we just as easily revile them.

Darron advised that we need to be careful around those birds.  They can probably even hypnotize you, he said.  Which may very well be true.  Five people now are following their behavior, tending to their needs, helping them be who they want to be.

Burn cedar, Darron advised.  Bless your house sitter.  Smoke the house.  Smoke yourselves.  Smoke the wheels of your car and even Mazie’s violin.  You need to heal this, he said.

He said that yesterday they came to visit him.  They were at the Health Care physical plant observing his movement and behavior.  He approached to see if they would land on him.  The ravens gazed, perhaps with interest, and flew away.