Friday, October 1, 2010

The Bright Angel Trail

Last week I was backpacking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon via the Bright Angel Trail. I’m not a regular hiker. The most regular I get to hiking is a two mile morning walk. And I’m certainly not a backpacker.

I attempted this journey because I was answering a call, a call sensed months prior. I knew I was to go to the Canyon, actually go into it and Listen. I didn't know why. I only knew I was to show up. I tried to talk myself out of this challenge due to continued exhaustion from earlier surgery and wanting to hole up somewhere and sleep. My hesitation was always met by an inner knowing that I would regret not following this mysterious call. By not showing up, I was aborting my journey.

I’ve now returned to walking city sidewalks. I walk and listen.

Monday as I zigzagged through Hillsboro Village streets, I passed a brush pile enveloped in morning glories. I set out the next day camera in hand in search of that pile. I felt compelled to find it. Just as I was about to give up, there it was in the same yard where the Snow Goddess sat eight months prior during an infrequent Nashville snow.

This pile of dead wood covered in blossoming morning glories is an exquisite example of life and death, living and dying. The dead twigs and branches provide a framework for the flowers and ultimately sustenance for eventual new life as the wood and flowers gradually decompose. On this spot of Nature’s canvas, I witnessed death supporting life.

I snapped a couple of photos, hoping also to capture the star in each flower and returned home intent on sending out a tidy little short story.

I loaded the photos to my computer only to realize I was being gifted with much more.

See the light coming from center of the star? Death was not just supporting life, that life, the morning glory, was emanating Light.

I could not produce an instant story. As in the canyon, I needed to listen, to allow this morning glory to take me on a journey.

One of the things I heard last week early on in my trek was “We are all Bright Angels walking the Bright Angel trail.” I whispered this into my hand held recorder and forgot it.

Sitting on my sofa miles and miles away from the canyon, I sat with the morning glory and knew the Light it held is Love. Divine Love is the Bright Angel trail that each of us comes here as Bright Angel’s to walk and to carry.

In reflecting on the bigger picture of the wood and flowers, life and death, light and dark, I thought how often the Bright Angel within is most deeply contacted and brought forth in the darkest of times, how alchemically the pain of loss holds the opportunity for new life.

I thought of my dear friend who having lost all she owned and all that defined her, saw the Light of love in a child’s face, a Bright Angel in Africa intimately acquainted with death, rearing her younger siblings. That Bright Angel inspired my friend to be the diligent scribe for a musical for the children and elders of Africa. “I Dream” one of the songs from the musical debuts tonight as esteemed Broadway singer Ernestine Jackson presents it at the Washington DC benefit for Kenya’s Nyumbani Children’s Home.
I thought of the young man I met on my flight home from Phoenix, a young man whose family has lived through the unfathomable loss of their daughter and son, ages 3 and 2, to a rare motor neuron disease. During my flight I learned how this man and his wife, John and Laurian Scott, in two short years have created The Olive Branch Fund to increase awareness, provide families with resources and raise research monies for Brown-Vialetto-Van Leare disease. They’ve created ongoing, multi-city fundraising events for this cause, published Thisbe’s Promise a children’s show and tell book written by Laurian for her daughter who loved the myriad of animals around their Tennessee home and this past Spring attended the International Children’s Neurology Congress in Cario where Thisbe and Noah’s cases were presented.

This family and my friend have navigated great loss to emerge as Bright Angels touching not just those around them but answering a Higher Call to share their Light with others worldwide. As the pile of twigs and branches supports the flowers, these people have allowed loss and death to not only support life, but to help them ultimately emanate Light, the light of love and compassion, the Light I see streaming from the center of the beautiful morning glory.

I set off this week in search of morning glories. I was shown that we are surrounded by morning, noon and night glories, the glory of being Bright Angels showing and sharing love for and with one another in these times as well as with the greater Earth family.

I hope to continue listening long after this story is posted. For now I know that in all the dying in our world, so much unnecessary dying in our dear world, we are called to a necessary living, to each shine the Divine Light of love and compassion wherever we find ourselves on life’s trail. For we are carriers of Divine Love. We are all Bright Angels on this the Bright Angel Trail.

Deep gratitude to Sharon Mounu Riddell and to John and Laurian Scott for permission to write of them in this Musing. Please take a moment to be inspired by the two websites below.
-Dawn! Imagine the Shift! 1 October 2010

* The Angels of Africa Project - artistic projects using story and song to raise awareness regarding the orphan crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa. "I Dream" should be available at the site after tonight's performance by Ms. Jackson.
* The Olive Branch Fund- A Thisbe and Noah Scott Legacy

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you dawn. wow, ever think about your name? i'm sure you have.