Friday, August 7, 2009

The Rocking Chair, The Rabbit & The Stranger

Cliff Notes: Given this is a long one, I've summarized in a paragraph! the story that prefaces my recent hike into Havasu Canyon along with two forthcoming ones. Hopefully you’ll read the entire story and click on the links related to the people I magically encountered as well as passing these links along. (You can always print for bedtime reading.)

Here's the paragraph....

From my rocking chair in the airport, a rabbit sprinted across the tarmac before me. How could I ‘relax and stayed connected’ as the recorded male voice suggested, knowing this bunny was in the flight path of a nearby departing jet? Assuming I was marveling at the plane, a young man expressed amazement at the mechanics of planes. To his surprise, I shared I was blessing a rabbit outside. To my surprise, he shared my concern and a conversation about finding a better way to balance our human lives with nature. My airport acquaintance marveled at the mechanics of planes. I marveled at the mechanics of the unseen planes, the planes of reality holding the many threads of the web connecting us. From meeting a young woman reading “Spiritual Midwifery” whose author helped start The Farm in Summertown, TN the headquarters of Plenty which is connected to the Lakota’s Pine Ridge reservation (from where Karen my hiking partner had just participated in their Sun Dance), to encountering Supai Waters who's grandfather was the last Havsupai Shaman and unexpectedly attending the Hopi Festival where I met spiritual runner/Hopi resident Bucky Preston. Last but not least, thanks to Supai, I returned home to find author and peacemaker Robert Roskind and family, ambassadors of Bob Marley’s ‘One Love’ who have orchestrated over 80 musical events in Jamaica, the Hopi mesas and Supai, the village into which I had hiked and hold peacemaker gatherings in NY and NC. A personal version of string theory presented itself as the planes of reality revealed threads of the web connecting us.

Here's the story......
The Rocking Chair, The Rabbit and A Stranger

Recently in the San Antonio airport, I wandered about looking for a place to sit during a brief layover. I was meeting a friend in Las Vegas with whom the following morning I’d hike into Havasu Canyon in the Western portion of the Grand Canyon where the Havasupai have lived for over 800 years.

To my surprise, at one end of the small terminal I found rocking chairs from which I had a view of the horizon. I bought a gallon of water to continue hydrating, hike-speak for drinking lots of water since well meaning friends and family reminded me of the myriad of ways I might die from drowning in a flash flood or in my own bodily fluids due to low salt levels, to falling, snake bite, heart attack or heat stroke. It seemed Mother Nature had made it to the top of the terror chart.

My carry-on became my foot rest as I hydrated, read, wrote and enjoyed the sun and sky before me. I was contemplating the possibility of a national campaign mandating rocking chairs in all airports and public spaces when a recorded generic male voice excitedly announced: “We know how important it is to be productive. We’re providing free wi-fi so you can relax and stay connected.”

Momentarily forgetting that our present economy is based on productivity, I immediately wanted to find the man behind this man and ask, “What’s so important about productivity?” and “How on earth does getting connected via the internet where I’m exposed to the latest news promote relaxation?”

Instead I relished rocking non-productively and prepared to read, doze or whatever I felt like doing or not doing. As I settled in, my relaxation was cut short as I saw fifty yards out, a rabbit sprinting across the tarmac. It stopped at a directional sign, the kind meant to point pilots to a certain runway, then raced to another.

Being properly equipped for my upcoming hike, I pulled out my binoculars to ensure I wasn’t seeing things. Sure enough, sitting in the shade of the small runway sign was a rabbit. The longer I watched, the less relaxed I became. I attempted to send it blessings then had an imaginal conversation with a fellow flier in my mind who defensively said, “A rabbit doesn’t belong on a runway” to which I responded, “Maybe the runway doesn’t belong here. This land belonged to the animals long before it ‘belonged’ to us.”
The fact the rabbit had shade offered me little consolation.

My body rocked as my mind turned. I thought, ‘What are we doing? We’re the terrorists, especially to the animals in the world as our growth continues to encroach upon their habitat. Is anyone thinking?’ In the short run, it’s easier to not think which may be where productivity comes in. If I’m busy being productive, then maybe I don’t have to time to connect the dots. Thinking of course can lead to anxiety which leads to anti-anxiety meds and an array of anxiety binding behaviors. I obviously was doing way too much thinking so I rocked. I rocked myself into an even more distressed mood. My mind had no brakes as I wondered, ‘What in the *&$# are we doing?’

As the bunny sat in the shade more than likely unaware of my torment, I was being offered a gift thanks to this dear animal and situation. In the midst of feeling sad and hopeless, I realized I had my heart. From the rocker in the San Antonio airport, I sent love first to the rabbit before me then to the entire animal world upon which our ‘growth and development’ encroaches. I then sent love to all of nature and the earth including us, her two-legged inhabitants. My judgments ceased as I prayed that this animal as well as all animals would find shelter and sustenance in the world.

My blissing and blessing was abruptly stopped as the only plane at my end of the terminal crept from its parked position. A large cart of sorts towed the plane in such a way that the jets were pointed directly at the rabbit at take off.

Leaning forward on the edge of my rocker, I heard: “Isn’t it amazing how they pull planes?”

I looked up to see a young man to whom I bluntly replied: “Actually I’m blessing the bunny and praying for the animals.”

To my surprise, he did not think me off my rocker. He exclaimed: “What? Is there a rabbit out there?”

He saw it too and commented that it was just like a guy to be amazed at something mechanical. He said, “You’re just like my wife. You’re a friend to the animals. You have a soft heart.”

I shared that men had soft hearts too and that neither he nor I was right or wrong.

He shared my concern and inquired as to whether I knew of the New York decision to kill several thousand Canadian geese near the city because they were disturbing flight paths and at times were the cause of plane crashes.

We spoke of the need for balance and how so often growth doesn’t seem to really take into consideration the many facets of our impact on the web of life in the long run.

As this dear young soul walked away, I thought, ‘His wife and I may have soft hearts, but I think of us as having open hearts as well as open minds. Obviously he did too or he wouldn’t have conversed so thoughtfully with me.’

And although we never exchanged names, we parted no longer strangers for the rabbit on the tarmac had given us the unexpected gift of building a bridge by recognizing the heart in the other.

As for the generic man whose message I first debated, I departed San Antonio aware that someone’s productivity created the plane in which I sat while feeling ‘relaxed and connected’ thanks to the rocking chair, the rabbit and the young man with an open mind and heart who was amazed at the mechanics of planes.

As my journey continued, I became amazed at the mechanics of planes, the unseen planes of reality for the gifts of the rabbit and strangers had only just begun.

1 comment:

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