MNN Column July 2008

Hensci. Feeling homesick about now. I’d like to get back for Green Corn. It’s expensive to go anywhere. Airfares from Hawaii have doubled since last year. Gas prices are outrageous. Someone’s getting rich. “I’ll pay for a tank of gas”, I told my daughter when she headed to Tempe to take my granddaughter for an ASU Indian student orientation a few weeks ago. I got the bill. It was almost two hundred dollars for one fill-up. Her vehicle has to hold five kids, the two step-grandkids she’s taking care of, and her husband. Cars are being made that run on air. Why not political hot air? There’s always plenty of that blowing around.
I’m down here in San Diego for the Autry Native Voices Playwrights Retreat with three other playwrights, Diane Glancy (Cherokee), Laura Shamas (Chickasaw) and Julie Little Thunder, another Creek. The playwrights chosen in the competition this year happened to be all women. Little Thunder’s play is The Girl Who Was Captured by Ghosts, about a Cheyenne woman dealing with breast cancer. The story is powerful and evocative. We are being given support to develop our stories through the assistance of a wonderful program for native theater built by Randy Reinholtz (Choctaw) and Jean Bruce Scott. We will do a reading of our plays in Los Angeles at the Wells Fargo Theater.

Arigon Starr is here acting in two of the plays, and as always, is larger than life. She’s also rehearsing her Red Road play, a one-woman show in which she plays eleven characters, and just returned from a successful Australian road tour. I also hear on the estv cate grapevine that she did a great job mc-ing and performing at the Creek Festival this year.

One of the actors, Robert Owens-Graygrass (Lakota) told us the strange story of how his son and granddaughter were in a pile up. His son drove around a corner and saw a car that had just rolled out of control. Just then his car went into a spin and rolled several times over the car that had rolled off the road. No one was hurt, just bruises and a little shock. Then, yet another car came around and rolled over their cars! They were all right, yet all three cars were totaled! Everyday he prays for his children and grandchildren. Those prayers must have helped, he said. Grandpa prayers are some of the strongest, I think.
And a final thought--about honor, came to me the other morning: Honor everyone who crosses your path. Everyone includes time as a person or persons. It includes sky, earth, air, water and other elemental beings. It includes your body. Think kindly; think light. Even each email, text, each word is a transmission. Each transaction brings either light or confusion. Paying attention is honoring. Even a roly-poly bug taught me about honoring. I saw one making his way across the bathroom of my hotel room in Kolkata, India. I’ve always liked them. I went into my light body; then we were equal. Then I saw the light around him, and the light trail his path made across the bathroom floor.


Chip said...

Heh-- that's some unusual thing, the three cars all smacking into each other so they're all upright by the end. : )

I'm the editor of a magazine and I'd like to republish one of your poems in our next issue: "Reconciliation: A Prayer." Unfortunately I'm new to this, and I'm rather confused about who I should be speaking with! If I might ask, should I be contacting you about reprint permission?

Thanks for whatever help you could give me!


Joyce Ellen Davis said...

Watched your show last night in Salt Lake City ~ We Shall Remain, Dewey Lecture, & enjoyed it tremendously. I have been a long time fan of your work. I noticed the fantastic tattoo on your right hand, but was a little shy to ask about it during the Q & A. So I still wonder what's with the tat?

I admire your philosophy, your prose and your poetry. Great blog! I'll write up last night's performance on mine today. Thanks again for coming to Salt Lake and giving us a great show.

Bishop Dan said...

Resonating with what you say about honoring. Today in Los Angeles I will read your poem, The Path To The Milky Way leads through Los Angeles to the Western Episcopal Bishops at Morning Prayer. It fits with today's saint Aelred who taught the value of special relationships -- valuing each other for our unique selves. Honor everyone, actually each one, not in general but specially. Thanks for the poems.

Bishop Dan said...

Resonating with your words about honoring. Today in Los Angeles I will read your poem The Path To The Milky Way Leads Through Los Angeles to the Western Episcopal Bishops at Morning Prayer. It fits with the teachings of today's saint (Aelred) honoring particularity, the shiny things Crow finds in human trash. Thank you for the poems.