Category Archives: Storytelling

Returning to the Spirits: Ongtupqa – Zeta

Crossing the state from the Mexican border driving North, I traversed a number of different biomes.  Ecological zones spanning lower desert and high desert, thornscrub, chaparral, grassland, woodland forest, riparian, and even alpine tundra at the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff.  As I neared what would be our departure point on the Colorado, I came upon the Vermilion Cliffs at Marble Canyon, near Lee’s Ferry. 

The Stone People

They carry the history of the Earth.  These cliffs record the changing environment during the Mesozoic Era – some 248 to 65 million years ago. 

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Returning to the Spirits: Ongtupqa – The Alpha

The CRACK was earsplitting!  It sounded like a tree limb exploding!  As if hit by lightning!  And I felt the blast simultaneously jolt through my left shoulder and ribs as the sound burst in my brain. 

I was disoriented in space.  Falling.  Spinning.  Tumbling.

Gravity showed no mercy as I rolled down the slickrock surface.  A surface punctuated by other large pieces of granite and ending in a pile of talus. 

The only thing breaking my fall was one of the other members of our group.  His position on the trail below crossed perpendicular to my trajectory.

But by the time he arrested my momentum, the damage was already done . . . 

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Flying Without Fear

I was perched on a cliff several hundred feet up from where the Columbia River collides with the Pacific Ocean when this feather came floating up on the Air currents.

It hovered for a very a long time.

Undulating with the fluctuating columns of invisible gases.  As if the Earth was breathing its flight.  In and out.  Up and down.  

Hypnotic. 

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The Miracle Half Mile

Being at “home” is not just being in a physical location, and arguably a physical location is not even required.  It’s a mental state of well-being.  Of being in a place where you’re not only physically comfortable, but where you’re loved and where you express your love freely.  It is a combination of all our senses – sight, hearing, touch, and even taste and smell.  Add intuition as well.  It could be in the embrace of a lover.  Or just lying in a grassy meadow by oneself.  A place of total peace and contentment.  And every adventure of ours will hopefully bring us a step closer to finding such a magical place . . .

***

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Finding Home . . .

It was well past midnight before the three families had fully gathered.  The room was lit only by the fireplace and the “Betty Lamps” burning rendered tallow from the hogs slaughtered in the family’s most recent Schlachtfest.    

While the brothers’ farmsteads neighbored one another, they were proceeding cautiously.  They traversed in small groups.  Concealing themselves from the moon-lit pastures in woolen, hooded cloaks.

All meeting in the senior brother’s home. 

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Calm

As he was pulled backward, I saw my chance.  Even through my half-swollen eyes.

I fired off two right punches, as hard as I could, and they found their mark on his left jaw.  The look on his face turned from anger to full-blown rage as I turned and bolted down the stairs . . .

***

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My Campfire – The Fire Within

I don’t remember where I heard this expression.  Or perhaps I never did.  It may have sprung into the recesses of my mind.  From a dream.  A whisper from the wind.  An echo from the stars.  But I use it sparingly.  With depth of heart.  For it holds several meanings to me.

“You’re always welcome at my campfire.”

***

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Compulsion to Flee – Part 3 – Modernity and Hermitism?

I’ve been writing about that urge to roam.  To travel freely.  Unencumbered.  To experience the world through the lens of constant motion.

My first post in this series introduced the terms “Dromomania” and “Drapetomania,” which placed this desire squarely in the medical model for disease.  The word “disease” itself has been defined as: “a condition of the living animal or plant body, or of one of its parts, that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms” that is “not simply a direct result of physical injury.”  A disease has also been said to be “a particular quality, habit, or disposition regarded as adversely affecting a person or group of people.”*

And there are four main types of disease: infectious, deficiency, hereditary, and physiological diseases. Diseases can be communicable or non-communicable, and when we have absolutely no idea what causes one, we call it “idiopathic.”

And let’s not forget mental or psychogenic diseases.

In fact, the suffix “mania,” in dromomania and drapetomania, arguably places the old terminology squarely in that category of mental illness.

So, is the compulsion to flee, to explore, to wander the world, a mental disorder?  And what are those so-afflicted fleeing from?

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Compulsion to Flee – Part 2 – Conversion or Reversion?

Picking up where I left off yesterday . . .

We’ve all heard the stories of Cortez conquering the Aztecs and Pizzaro conquering the Incas, but we often only hear the stories of those who are regarded as conquerors.  The victors.  Even if their acts were entirely atrocious and inhumane.

History is distorted that way.

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Compulsion to Flee

I often write about my travels and the things I experience while traveling.  The adventure of it. 😊  Particularly getting back to Nature and hiking in the wilderness.  Something I do whenever possible.  And the urge to travel, or to continue traveling once on the road, is always at the surface.

Lingering, like a Tiger ready to pounce on its prey.

Frankly, I like that feeling.  For it drives me to drive.  Gives me reason and purpose.  An impetus to greet Grandfather Sun each day.

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