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Encounter of the Native Kind

First day on the road July 29, 2014 made the grade up into Wrightwood without too much trouble. The visitor center is a gorgeous stone building built in 1926. Left the dogs and climbed the stairs. No one else here and seemingly no one around. I looked around at the displays in the lobby, nothing of note but a stuffed Red Tail Hawk. Finally I said, “Hello?”
A fellow came out of the back room. Looked to be native. Long salt and pepper pony tail, beautiful dark skin and kind, soft eyes. I told him I was looking for a place to rest and sleep until this evening before doing the push across the desert. That I had escaped L.A. and was headed out for a year. Well that did it. We had an immediate rapport. He told me how when he had come back from Viet Nam in ’74 he had traveled for a year getting himself together and getting back to the earth, his mother. Because he was a vet he was able to get a job with the Forest Service and finally got a permanent position in ’96. He had three years to go until retirement and like me about a year to go for the Senior Pass. (Damn I could save a lot of money if I was just 9 months older.) He talked for a while in a very intimate manner about himself. I asked if his earings were shell casings and he said, “Yes. 22 casings with rattlesnake bone,” and that he had earned his warrior status by fighting. He also had a breast plate made of AK47 shells, buffalo bone, torquoise and coral. I would love to see that. He said it was heavy and when you wore it you had to stand up into it. Proud. Some people came in with questions and he motioned to me and said, don’t go away. 
He said, “I have something for you,” and went to the back room and brought back a long bag from which he pulled a wooden native flute. “I’m going to give you a song for your journey.” He began to play, beautifully. I closed my eyes and stood reverently. I was being given a prayer. A sublime moment. He played for maybe five minutes during which time no one came into the office. 
He had the slow, deliberate manner and it slowed me down too. We talked some more about many things. He said that living in the city was like living in a box, like this room. He indicated with his reaching arm. That there is no place for your creativity to blossom. I told him that was a lot of what this trip was about for me. That I had my beads, my books and my guitar. Well then he perked up. Told me to make simple things, like this, and he pulled a small, beaded deerskin medicine bag from inside his shirt, “and then your creativity will take over.”
All in all it was quite an experience. This was the first human I encountered, the first morning of leaving L.A. The energy exchange between us was enchanted. Once again I was blessed by the universe, Mother Nature, Earth Mother. I was going to say it was heavy. But it wasn’t heavy. It was intense in it’s depth and quietude. Whoa. Or aho. Oh, yeah. His name tag said, J.R. Spiritwolf.
The vibe stayed with me throughout the rest of the afternoon as I rested under the willows and let the earth seep back into my body and soul. 


  1. jill Stanley
    September 10, 2014

    I am catching up on your blog:What a great start to your adventure! I am envious of your bravery as well as ability to make instant friends! ~jill

  2. kerry obrien
    September 13, 2014

    It’s much easier when you’re alone.


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