When I gifted myself with a drum this past year, I had little idea of the effect or importance of my gift. I have been visiting East Glacier Park Village for the past 8 years, attending a traditional Blackfeet sweat lodge, multiple pow wows. And this journeying to my holy ground of northern Montana began the most radical and most needed leg of my spiritual quest to find myself. I had spent decades avoiding my inner landscape, and yet, through the beauty of nature’s seasonally changing attire on the Blackfeet Nation’s glorious rolling high prairie and majestic mountains — introduced to me by my life long friend, and adopted Blackfeet tribe member, Anna Rainingnight. There is not a good description of Anna other than an incredible friend, strong, generous, mindful of others, an intellectual superior. always present, always the teacher in my life.
The sky of Montana seduces, completely. The wind — the sun- the stars– the northern lights in June and July– all beckon like a Lover’s kisses on my needy brow. I see my travels there as my sojourn to myself, my acceptance of my mortality and my spirit. I travel there as often as possible, regardless of price, regardless of time spent there- I must see the prairie and the mountains.
This past summer, I left my holy ground unexpectedly soon, and in a hurry this time, returning with Anna to attend to her father as he passed over to the Spirit World — July 2013 when Mandela began his same journey. The last night I spent in East Jesus – a.k.a. East Glacier- allowing Anna again to teach me about mindful generosity as she took me to Two Medicine Lake at dusk before we packed to drive a marathon back to Arkansas -1698miles -as quickly as possible. The drum I purchased earlier that spring awaited me — hanging on my bedroom’s wall, to be drummed when Howard passed — after I heard his soul greet me with laughter only hours after he had passed, a mere six hours after Anna and I arrived back to her family home here in Arkansas. So, tonight after the first Christmas without Howard, without Anna’s annual sojourn home in December but Anna still present with gifts.. With the lesson, Anna gives me every year- compassion and generosity– I see the Montana Sky in my mind. I feel that Kiss of Montana, and tonight I will play my drum in honor of Howard, Anna, Valentina, Betty, Star, Autumn and Em, Annie and Allen… The kiss of my Spirit. The Drum Dance of my return to my soul.