Love, Awe and Serenity
August 4, 2016
Bent, New Mexico
Love, Awe, and Serenity
I told my coworker “I am content. I have everything I need.”
He said, “You need love.” Of course in some ways he was being facetious, as men so often are, but he was serious also, in a way the Native Americans seem to be far more than their Anglo counterparts. He was being rather direct also as he knows I have so recently parted from a long term friendship and that I am alone.
I told him, “I do have love! I love my family and my friends.”
He laughed at me and repeated his statement, “You need love.”
I countered; a little defensive perhaps but also playing along as I was meant to do, as it was all in good humor. “I have a lot of love in my life,” I said. “I love my life, myself, the sun and the sky. I wake each morning and say thanks for the beauty which surrounds me. I love the horse I feed each morning and evening and thrill at the way they run to meet me and nicker softly for their grain.”
He replied, smiling; “Now you’re getting it.”
I read an article the other day on the things we can do to maintain good health. In fact I tore it out of the magazine, ‘Time’ or AARP, I can’t recall at this moment so it must have been AARP, right? LOL, I might be aging but I haven’t quite lost it yet and I have mused about such things since my youth! The article, which I can recall, was focused on the need for ‘Green Spaces’ and the benefits they provide to us. The one which truly touched me, reflecting so closely on my own practices, was in regards to “Awe”. The example they used was the physical benefit of standing in the deep forest and gazing upwards to the towering tops of the trees. We can all agree such is awe inspiring but it went even further to explain that trees actually put off a certain smell, and energy if you will, which helps prevent parasites from attacking them. This same essence actually affects humans physically and emotionally and produces a healing, and awe inspiring response.
Huh! A scientific explanation for something I discovered as a young girl seeking solace in the forest, climbing to the peaks of the mountains, galloping across the fields and through the woods on my horse. It is the same I spoke of to my friend this morning and the thrill I seek in my many adventures. We are all drawn to the same and yet we discover it in other things also, those which in the past hindered my own progress, even so recently as a few weeks ago until I set myself free. It is the same thing I write of so often and by doing so retain my focus lest it be lost! Having discovered it in my childhood I made a promise even then, sitting on the lakeside at Lake Welch, that I would never allow anything or anyone to rob me of that sense of awe and the serenity it provided me. If I have stumbled along the way I have yet to fall and even in the worst of times that light has pierced the darkness and reminded me of that pledge.
I am surrounded by my love for all the wonders of my life, my family and friends and the beauty which I find in the sun and the sky, the mountains and the Plains, and I revel in the same. I am in awe of all of those things and every time the breeze moves the clouds across the horizon, or the sun touches the peaks of the mountains I take pause to honor the moment. I find the serenity I require in the same as I allow the peacefulness to soak into my spirit, sitting still for a moment to breath in its grace before I hurry off on some other thought or action. I am so fortunate to have the awareness and the opportunity to recognize this and I say thanks for the same.
It is a Native American custom that if someone asks you for something you should give it to them. My friend told me a while back, in regards to something I had that would be useful to him, that “You should give that to me.” At the time I still needed what I had but promised him I would, which I was able to do this morning. As I was walking out the door I saw a chainsaw carved axe, shaped out of an ideal piece of pine which someone had saw fit to leave at the shop. I picked it up and admired it and told him, “You should let me have this.” He told me, “Take it.” I asked if he was sure as it was a really special creation to my Anglo eyes, the carving so well done as to make the axe head appear as if it has been chipped from stone. It was all the more amazing as it was made by an “Indian”, making it a modern artifact for one such as I who after four and half years in this community is fascinated by the culture, even more so because of the proximity. These people have a belief set which to most of us ‘outsiders’ is just something we wish we could have. I have been so fortunate to have been immersed in that and I have formed some of the most wonderful friendships I have had in my lifetime. I ‘Love’ these people in a manner which I love few others and their genuineness and sincerity is far too absent outside the boundaries of the Reservations.
I told him, “Now I need to give you something in return”, as this is also a part of their custom. He replied, “You already have”. The fact is we exchanged something far more valuable than any material thing. We had, in our brief and casual conversation shared something else. “Love, Awe, and Serenity”. Thank you my friend.