Monday, May 07, 2007

Drums along the Hudson

It was a simple Sunday, like most others. I awoke with the streams of the morning sun dappled along my face. Would I carpe diem, or carpe sleepum? That was the question.

In a fit of adrenaline-slash-guilt from pissing away the week, I quickly put together a coordinated designer outfit. If I was going to schlep around the tip of Manhattan, I was going to do it in style. Without even second-guessing, I hailed a cab. It was only after the driver pointed out that it was kind of ironic to take a cab to go hiking, that I even dared look at the impropriety of it all.

I was going to hike at Inwood Park, and then check out Drums Along the Hudson.

What followed once I arrived can only be described as magical. The sun was just making it above the ridge of clouds, and the dew was magically placed along the moss-yes, folks, moss along the granite boulders. Hiking shoes leading the way, I melted as I saw a brook make its way along the rocks and roots. Many trees were falling from the attachment of poison oak vines that were sapping its vitality. My goal was to make it up the mountain, along the terrain and back down before my coffee was digested.

I had a black out. That's the only way I could describe it. Miles away from any car or exhaust, hearing only the sweet chirping of chickadees, woodpeckers and bluebirds, as only a natural symphony could be composed, I found myself seduced by the sounds of this elegant bird score. I looked in wonder, as I heard the whistling of baby hawks, making their way to their nests. I sat on a collapsed tree trunk, with gruel in my hands, in utter amazement. This was still Manhattan. I was deep in nature, surrounded by oaks, cherry blossoms and white birch. My jaw dropped and I was humbled as a cardinal swooped down and took a kernel from my hand.

Hours later, I made my way out of the forest, and yes--I could see the trees--and just as I went to leave this paradise, the scent hit me. It was the smell of sweet sage which I had discovered during sweat lodge. My nose followed the murky sweet smell. This was a renaissance. The rebirth of connection.

Making my way to the origin of the sage, there were a line of women singing tribal songs with melodic drums beating in union. The songs were familiar from that day in sweat lodge that changed my life. Upon halting, I looked around and it was a greater circle than I had ever imagined. My feet were firmly planted on the ground as I watched Native American children playing with Aryan families, dogs rushing under alpaca wool, and glimpses of feathers and fur peaking beneath headdresses’. The familiarity of the music and the large circle took me back.

Transported to the tee-pee once again, I remembered my vow, "I have come to honor the mother" I said. As we faced the North door of the journey, I ran out of the tee-pee in a full sweat. Everything had become light. The thoughts and visions of my colleagues played out in their chakras like cartoons. Kneeling and panting before the burning oak, I knelt carefully and purged my inner demons, "Bring us back to nature! Remind us of our connection to the divine source!" I uttered, as the tears flowed from my sweaty face.

Picking myself up off of the ground, I wearily made my way back in. Seeing the shining faces in the dark, I knew my prayer had been for them all. It had also been for my home.

Although this event may not be repeated in this area, it jump-started a reminder: there are many events like this that celebrate nature and Native Americans. The realization of this, the serendipity of being at this event without warning and the smell of sweet sage, cleansing my aura yet again, played out like a distant dream, trying to find a voice. Our little island is jam-packed with surprises, isn't it?

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posted by Rumi @ 5/07/2007 10:56:00 AM |


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