A Wonderful Mystical Experience
edited: Monday, June 30, 2008
By Regis Auffray
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Monday, June 30, 2008
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Another of Sha'Tara's kayaking adventures on the river... ...I apologize for the formatting but I find AD's publishing program next to impossible to "get right."
A Wonderful Mystical Experience
[a River odyssey - by Sha'Tara]
Those who for years have followed my wanderings on this medium know of my
teachers, YLea, El Issa, Phaelon and Asesa being my life-long 'guardians'
and 'angels' and teachers. This intro as a reminder.
Today was the day I finally got everything in a row - health, weather, time - and made it to the River to soak up some sun and just look around at the changes wrought by the strange weather patterns we have experienced this
spring, and what the high waters created, or carved out of the old landscape. The waters have dropped about five feet now -roughly 1.5 meters
for you degenerates out there who no longer understand proper measures(!)-
and new sand bars are appearing. The great gravel bars will re-appear in 2 weeks to a month, you can see the currents speeding up already in the shallower areas and the waters changing shade - darker, less gray in shallows.
Its been a very cold spring, if one could call it spring at all, and there is very little bird life out there now. Of course it is also June and what is out there is busy feeding young ones and hiding out. I saw quite a
number of the twittery, jittery solitary sandpipers. Oh, and one quite fat
deer laying on a sand bar quietly watching me paddle by, periodically waving its large ears. I wonder if he's heard of the movie 'Super Size Me'? Do they have junk food drive thru's for deer now?
When I left this morning I sensed something would happen today. Not exactly earth-shaking news: something always happens when I go out on the River, else why would I go out at all? I traveled well-known channels and soaked up the sun in familiar areas. Still I sensed 'something' and was restless.
The water, except for pools, is still too cold to swim so that was out of
the question. I walked the small islands, or ran around them for exercise.
Walked the trunks of fallen trees to find my 'natural' sense of balance and
played in the muddy pools, then washed in ice-cold river water. There are
moments when I truly admire fish, otters, seals, beavers and diving ducks.
How do they handle that freezing water? Smart body design. Where have we been all these years while the rest adapted to this world? Oh but of
course, we are smart and they're stupid animals - how could I forget that?
When I got tired of listening to helicopters, planes, jets and power boats and parts of me were beginning to sizzle on nature's barbecue, I headed upstream and east, for home. Emerging from a side channel - now a virtual river - to enter the River proper I saw several canoes being paddled down the River, near the eastern shore, or my side of home. They seemed a little strange but were a long way off yet, and with the heat waves over the
waters, I couldn't make out what they were. I like to interact with those
individuals who still care enough about the River to take her on with simple, age-old craft, like kayaks and canoes. So then and there I decided to cross and intercept them to find out who they were, where from and where they were headed. They couldn't be going far as it was already late afternoon.
When crossing the main River channel you encounter a very powerful current.
The drift for my sea kayak is about a quarter mile when I paddle heading
straight across at high water. While the other canoes were coming down stream like gang busters, I was drifting steadily. I kept my eye on the first canoes and realized they were dragon boats, or so they seemed. They drifted into the first Hope River entrance, one after the other. Some were
still a long way upstream and I counted over twelve of these boats, filled
I missed my first land target and kept drifting, missed my second entrance into the little Hope River and finally hit shore well below where I would have chosen. Now it was a matter of fighting back upstream to the second entrance and it's not a good one as two very powerful currents sweep out of it. Well, I wasn't the only one who missed! Some of the canoes also missed the first entrance and ended up almost as far down as I.
Then I realized why they had turned into the Hope. They were Haida trading
canoes and this "armada" was a re-enactment of the old ways, when groups
from the coast, or from the Islands, would paddle up the Fraser River all
the way into Harrison Bay and (as long as they weren't raids, or war parties but trading parties) there would be many great feasts and trading of goods at the various villages along the River and on Harrison lake proper. All the paddlers were native. but not all of them were paddlers! To fill these large boats they had to undoubtedly use very inexperienced people, many who were quite young.
One canoe in particular had a very difficult time getting turned around in
the current without flipping over - close! I tried to show them a way
through what I call 'the split' - a place between two powerful sets of
current where the water actually roils 'backward' and can propel a light
craft literally upstream. It's an old trick I've used time and again in impossible situations and it works well if you know exactly where to place the prow. One little sweep left or right and your craft spins 180 degrees and you're heading downstream like a straw. You can't fight it and stay upright at the same time, so all you can do is drift until the current
changes again. then you get to do it all over. So much fun!
After a lot of yelling and screaming of countermanding orders from their team-mates, they caught on that I was showing them the way upstream and
followed me, but then they continued to follow when I chose a path over a
sand bar - deep enough for my kayak's three inch draught, but not for their
heavier boat. Predictably, they bottomed out and had to get out, wade
through the 'quick sand' (freshly piled sand bars are water logged and you can sink to your waist in them in seconds) and push themselves off. Then they had to put up with good-natured jeering and taunting from those who had already lined their boats up to face the 'landing' of the Skway reserve band
(Not sure of the Sta'Lo spelling).
And there they were, all of those so beautiful boats filled to capacity with
eager paddlers, lined up side by side to engage the ceremonial performance
or ritual, demanding access to the shore, of those standing there. That's when it happened. Suddenly my heart just jumped to my throat and I couldn't breathe. I felt tears welling up, blinding me and I entered into a vision.
The same basic scene. The boats, the paddlers, only much drabber clothing and no life jackets! Many more people on the shore, and a much wider area
to land the boats. Smaller dug outs pulled up out of reach. Important
looking people walking to the shore to greet the leader of the trading
group. Much talking. And me, in one of the boats, waiting impatiently for
the ceremonies to finish so I can jump to shore and meet with my own people.
For this is El Issa's vision of the time, some thousand years ago, where she lived and performed the duties of shaman, healer and midwife. I can see
myself, small - under five feet tall, middle age with lines in my face, but
a large smile. My hair is straight and black - like everyone else's! I am
wearing a plain grey robe made of cedar bark fibers, cool and comfortable.
And I'm restless.
Finally, permission to land is granted and the boats move as one to face the
shore, butt in, and the people walk to the front and jump off. I seek out a
group of women who had been waiting for me and with a few of the older
girls, disappear into the thick forest to a special women's place of worship
and learning. We light the fires and place our drums near the flames to dry
the skins. The oldest among us, our official crone, smudges us and performs the incantations. Then we have stories, cry, laugh, and sit quietly,
motionless as someone tells a story about the ghost spirit of our land. A
baby coughs. I motion the mother to bring it to me so I can hold it. I take the naked infant in my hands and hold it near the flames to see the reflections in its eyes. I ask the crone to smudge the baby and I so we can enter into 'confirmation' of intent together.
I wait and the child's mind speaks to me. It is sad, but not unexpected. I
call the mother to come forth and hold her child. Then I tell her the child
has chosen to leave the tribe this time. She must let it go as it wishes to
do. The mother cries silently but her eyes thank me. She withdraws to the
back of the group to breast feed. The attachment between them is strong and there is going to be a painful parting.
We begin our drumming, for the child's safe passage to its next life; for
the spirit ghost who watches our villages; for the girl children who will
bear the next generation of the People; for the men, that they will successfully conclude their trades without violence; for the fishing, that it will remain plentiful without ever harming the tribes of the water people who keep us alive with their own lives. Our thanks given, we relax and pass around our discoveries, new herbs and medicines; strange plants; colourful or unusually shiny stones found on the treks. We talk about miraculous
recoveries and we expound our theories on the reasons why one person recovers from an infected wound while another does not. We laugh with the younger ones as they speak of their 'men' whom they are lining up as possible life mates. We compare the men's physical attributes and their state of mind; how they treat their women during the days of hard work bringing in and cleaning the fish on the open gravel bars while the cold winds blow and the rains pelt down.
Much is remembered. I am torn between El Issa's powerful desire to join
with this anachronistic group and my own awareness of our current reality. She is a ghost of times past now and cannot 'join' with the people today.
With a sudden wrenching I take my paddle and force myself away from the
cheering natives in their white man outfits and go into my own hidden place,
a 'slough' created by an old channel long ago. There are ways into this
place at high water and once in there, I work the emotions back down. I
realize then I'd been crying, sobbing, heaving and could hardly breathe with the effort of controlling El Issa's remembrance.
I say controlling, not stopping, because while she is with me, or is me, I
find myself addressing the trees, the grasses, flying birds, insects, the water and the wind. My rush of communication is understood and accepted. I notice how polluted the waters are now, compared to 'my' days and crying in
sorrow I apologize for the ignorance of my people today. I promise the
trees that I will return in a time when they, as a people, along with all
the non-human life forms of Earth will have the freedom to be what they want to be once more, without oppression. I promise them all they will be free.
But the drumming of paddles on the sides of the boats (today's reality!)
continues and I know I have to get away from this place or lose my mind to
my ghost. I paddle out, and up the river to home, choking down my heart, so to speak, and remind El Issa that we are just a ghost now. the spirit ghost
that watches and waits for changes that other parts of us are going to help
bring about here.
Although I could 'see' out of it, the vision lasted until I came home. Only the intruding noise of traffic, roar of motorbikes, lawn mowers, muscle cars, racing go-karts, and the usual sensual garbage that is now a constant
part of Earthian life, made the ghost disappear in the trees along the Hope river. But I remember. and I won't forget.
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|Reviewed by Morning Star
|Wow this was an exciting and enjoyable journey
of ancient memories of things of the past
And of our current reality!
You always write such powerful articles that
I always have to read them a few times!
Very interesting thoughts in this Article!!
Peace Love and Light....Yolie
|Reviewed by Jill curry (Reader)
|wonderful visuals i really enjoyed this trip|
|Reviewed by Elizabeth Price
|Awesome. Loved the vision. So real, so ghostly and shadowy in todays reality as you told your story. Unbelievably brilliant write. Liz|
|Reviewed by Sheila Roy
|An extremely engaging write! Love the details, love the ending. Well told! Love and Hugs,
|Reviewed by Ann Marquette
|Lovely story and thank you for sharing your other life experiences.|
|Reviewed by Leland Waldrip
|This is a wonderful piece, Reg. Thanks for the step backward in time to a pristine time of nature, unmarred by unfettered compound human propagation now harnessed to a positive feedback loop that twists ever tighter -- like one of those whirlpools you navigate around in the Frazer River -- into deeper negativity for Earthian life.
|Reviewed by MaryGrace Patterson
|I really enjoyed this trip you took us on .. Great write REGIS !!!!! Wish I could go back to Vt this summer, alas , its not to be.. We are going to Tenn in Aug so will get to see mountains and streams , tho a little different from the NE..M|
|Reviewed by Mary Lacey, Desertrat
Taking us back to yesterday, and all it's natural beauty.
|Reviewed by Pierre Ortega
|If we all listen a little harder we might hear those of old and the lessons they have to teach us. Excellent
Take Care, Pierre
|Reviewed by Jon Willey
|You carried me through a portion of your area's history. In the spirit of ones long gone, but still here. A remarkable, informative and highly interesting work. My thanks for a masterful job. God bless. JMW|
|Reviewed by Lois Christensen
|Such inspiritual ancient ones memories of things that are past and gone forever. I followed you through all the dream and recollections, and it is simply neat how you expressed the things that happened to those people long ago.|