August, 1990. Black Tail Ranch. Wolf Creek, Montana.
With darkness falling through tall pines, we follow Brooke Medicine Eagle up a road, just wide enough for a pick-up truck. One bend. Two. Below our feet, gravel crunches, scuffs, and scatters. Above us, and above the trees, stars trail.
We are away from everything – husbands, homes, families, careers – the fixtures of our lives and frameworks for our choices. We’ve come questing. What can we know? How can we heal? Who are we? Who sends us? What sustains us? How may we serve?
In the morning we’ll be off to our chosen places. There to sit, to empty, and to receive. To sit so that we won’t be caught up in doing or trying. To empty that we might open our more subtle senses. And, while being and sensing, to receive: vision, insight, connection to spirit and our truest selves.
Now, it surprises us that we’re even away from camp: tents, teaching space, dining room, showers. Until now, everything we’ve done has been in daylight or in the lesser but comforting light of fire. Darkness always lay outside. Now, we’ve climbed to the end of the road. We are outside. In the night.
As we started out, Brooke told us it was important to experience the night in the safety of company before we go soloing in the hills.
We’re told to fan out a bit and find our way, through the trees, down the slope, to the lower switch of the road. Brooke, lithe as a doe, runs off between the pines. Eyes widen to keep her in sight. She turns. “Don’t try to see,” she calls. “It’s better if you trust your feet.”
She turns, again, and is gone.
Nervous laughter glimmers through us. Some take hesitant steps, eyes on the ground. A few more stretch out their arms for balance, and send first one foot and then the next, toes tapping before committing. Others simply walk. One or two whoop and run, barely avoiding the trees.
Everyone meets on the road below. Relieved. Proud. Jubilant.
♦ ♦ ♦
In starlight, it’s not really possible to see in the ways we’re used to seeing. When we seek something new, it can by like walking into a starlit landscape, one we once knew but is now unfamiliar. How do we walk into a mystery? How do we navigate? How does it feel to trust?
Imagine finding your way through feeling Earth under your feet, guiding.