Friday, 13 December 2013
So, today is Day 13 of the Blog-a-thon. And it is Friday the 13th. And I’ve got my 20 oz. Starbucks sitting right here beside me. On my desk I’ve got my as yet unopened swap journal, returned home to me yesterday after a 2 month plus journey. It’s a Christmas gift unto itself. Our swap consisted of three people this time (small was good, it gave us a longer time to be with each journal – 1 month – and it was a trustworthy group so I knew my journal would eventually come home to me). Ah, but once again, I digress…
So, what memories do I have of firsts? What’s actually amazing is all of the “firsts” that I don’t remember. (and that’s exactly why I journal – because someday I can go back and read about all the things I’ve forgotten).
I can say that I remember the first kiss with a girl that mattered. And I say that because I think there were exploratory kisses with neighborhood girls earlier in my childhood. But that first kiss with a girl outside the neighborhood – now that one did stick. I believe I was in 7th, or possibly 8th grade – definitely Jr. High. But we weren’t in school that day either – we were actually at the center of town where I grew up, walking around a group of retail buildings that were in the process of being built. And the background to all of this is that I was a painfully shy child. Blushed at the drop of a hat (man, did I hate!! that). And this girl, well, she was a little “rough”, but not rough in a bad way, but just that right amount of “bad girl” roughness and, at that time, what I would call pretty attractive so that this was approaching “out of my league” territory. And for all of that, it was just a kiss. Nothing else happened. We didn’t go steady. We didn’t become boyfriend and girlfriend. But there was, just for a moment, a possibility, and that was it. But it showed me that possibilities exist and that I did indeed have some worth in the eyes of another.
I remember my first car. Dad bought it for me. It was a gray/silver 1967 Mustang 3-speed stick shift, black interior. I eventually installed an eight-track player in it. I can remember listening to my dad’s Kenny Rogers 8-track tape in that car. I can remember sometimes hearing 3 songs overlapping each other and “ghosting” when the eight-track tapes started to get “tired”. What other medium gives you that experience? When my sweetie’s dad passed away a few years ago, the first thing I got was his old portable eight-track player. He and I shared a love of music and I believed that it was his music that meant the most to him (and to me) and so I think he’d be happy knowing that his music ended up where it belonged.
I remember my first attempt at doing a solo vision quest. (It was only on the third attempt, that I got it right). I had returned to a campground that we used to go to when we were teenagers. My parents were pretty good about giving us our independence. As soon as we got cars we were allowed to go camping by ourselves, pretty far away, with no parents. That was pretty amazing for them to let us do that and showed a deep sense of trust that we would do that right thing. Mostly, their trust was well-founded. Yes, we drank, and yes, we did other things, but mostly, we stayed in control and it really was about the camping and fishing and hiking. Anyhow, one year we went up early in the spring, it was just shy of my 18th birthday. The very short story is that we had no sooner arrived, in the middle of the night, then I started to feel very sick. I convinced my brother to drive me back home the next morning and spent the better part of the next three months in the hospital with complications from a burst appendix. So the backdrop to this is that I nearly died and I had connected that near-death experience to this campground. So, for my “first” vision quest (and the subsequent two that followed), I felt like I needed to return to this place and “face that fear” of being back at the place I associated with death. Looking back now, there couldn’t have been a more appropriate place to do a vision quest because there is an inherent sort of death/rebirth aspect to vision questing, at least for what I was attempting to do.
So, once again, to shorten this a bit, I had selected the month of June for my vision quest – and I selected the summer solstice, which just happened to coincide with a full moon. Novice that I was, and unattuned to the powers of such celestial events and energy matters – I was in way over my head. I will say that I did stay for one night. I had all of my Sacreds with me (my drum, my pipe and Kinnikinnick, which is a Native American smoking product, typically made of mixture of various leaves or barks with other plant materials). At the time, I had every intention of staying for three days and nights, no food or water. Well, I settled in, sang some sacred songs, prayed, and waited for “something” to happen. Now I was in a pretty backwoods campground and it was largely empty, which was perfect for my vision quest. I had the solitude that such an act requires. And I was in the mountains of New Hampshire and it is really wilderness up there (at least to this suburban bumpkin).
When that full moon started to rise, it was just incredible, and incredibly huge! And I began to have an inkling that there might be more “energy” at work tonight than I was capable of dealing with. And that definitely turned out to be the case. In retrospect, it was kind of funny. I remember having very strong urges, throughout the night, to pack everything up and get the hell out of there. However, I did also have some interesting experiences and learned a few deep things and it really did set the stage for what I would eventually learn and do so there was much value in it. Now I’m being a bit purposely vague here because a vision quest is a very personal matter and really, usually meant only to be shared with a Elder, medicine man, or some other wisdom-keeper who helps you to interpret your vision, at least that’s how it would have been done traditionally. I believe Black Elk talks of this a bit in Black Elk Speaks. That being said, I can say that I met my spirit guide which was quite an unexpected outcome (and this coming from a left-brained skeptic).
And it really did set the stage for everything else that followed, right up to my meeting my sweetie, and to us eventually becoming a couple and then, married. Sometimes I have this image in my head (and it’s like this cosmology kind of thing) where I see all these “lines” of possibilities, and all the different choices we can make (and the thing that it reminds me of, sort of, is lining up a pool shot), and I kind of see all of the lines that it took, and all of the choices to go down one path instead of another, until finally my sweetie’s lines and mine intersect. And there is a time element too, so that I can go way back to my childhood and see all of the lines/choices/paths that I selected which all led me to where I am today. Destiny or free choice? I can’t say. As “The Rock” said at the end of Scorpion King, “I make my own destiny”
So that’s three firsts – First Kiss, First Car, First Vision Quest. No particular order, and no particular value of importance. But they do stand out as Firsts.