Good Medicine

0215020722January 10, 2012
Nogal House
Indian Divide, New Mexico

Good Medicine

The light this morning was deceiving with the glow of the full moon brightening the sky long before the sun arose. As if in defiance of her light he remains suspended in the western sky, unmoving. It seems he is saying that he has taken possession of what is rightfully hers, at sunset. Her light gradually supersedes his as she brightens the peaks of the mountains but he remains clearly visible. In the perfect moment I would sit and watch the transition from an outdoor vantage point rather than here by the stove but it is another cold morning. I would rather write and record the moment for later reflection. I marvel at the fact that my life allows me all of these moments, the vision and the reflection, and that they are mine to record as well. True, I awaken early to assure of that but it is still a rare luxury and it is mine to keep.

This is all good medicine, as was the waft of sweet sage and cedar as I stoked the fire this morning. The coals remained hot from the pinion log that I tossed in late last night. When I rolled it over it crackled and burst into flames. I tossed a few more sticks into the fire but failed to finish the effort before the smoke wafted out the door of the stove. Rather than the usual smell of burning wood it was laced with sage, good medicine. I was reminded of the power of the smoke and knelt for a moment to absorb its essence, a breath of Zen and peacefulness, a morning blessing from the fire.

There is a ritual that follows the smoke. The Indians know this as it is a part of their religion. We borrow from that just as we do from the eastern ones and in this moment I must question our definition of ‘western religion’. It seems that we have corrupted that as much as we have everything else. What is a truer version of the western beliefs than that of our native peoples? Were they not here for centuries before we ever arrived and were not their beliefs as powerful as any religion that originated elsewhere? Isn’t their form of worship as valuable and meaningful than any other? If I atone to any set of beliefs it is theirs, it is good medicine.

Before I arose this morning I allowed myself to lay still and ponder my life as it is so important to do so. I asked myself what else I needed and where I thought I was going with my current pursuits. I have left my loftier plans aside, at least for the moment, and have decided to stand still instead. Work I must and work I will, but I find no need or desire for movement, I am where I am supposed to be. I marvel as much at the forces that brought me to leave as at the ones that caused me to return. I had to leave to rediscover the peace I found here and all the events were timely. Nothing but good has occurred since my return and is an affirmation that I have done the right thing.

As I stood before the fire to drive back the chill of the early morning air I asked myself what is it that I might wish for this morning. I often do this for myself as it centers my attention on the things I should do. I found no selfish wishes; the needs of others go well beyond my own. I thought of my sons and daughter and wished for them the things they require. I thought of my closest friends and what they need and prayed that they would be addressed. Only then did I direct my thoughts to myself and they grew still, I have all that I need in this moment. Mine is a simple life, it is all that I have ever wanted and it is mine to be had. I could make my house a bit warmer, which I will, but beyond that I have no other immediate desire. What loftier goal could there be than ones’ own basic happiness such as I have attained in these last several years that I have lived here. That is what I call good medicine.

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