Thursday, October 8, 2009
October Tipi Lodge
It is October, the winds have picked up and a chill is in the air. It is time to put the tipi liner in the lodge. I did that today. The liner is the inside insulating wall. The air that comes into the tipi in the summer is cool and refreshing. When the liner is hung, the air comes under the tipi still, but is blocked by the liner. There is a "skirt" on the liner at the ground, flat stones were used to hold the skirt down flat on the ground. When you have a small fire inside the tipi the draft coming between the walls takes the smoke up and out through the top of the tipi. It is wonderful how well it all works.
While tying the inside liner to each lodge pole, my ceremony was to say a prayer with each tie. There are 15 poles and they are tied top and bottom. When I finished it was pleasant to sit inside the lodge and just try to remember what a sacred place this is for me and what it meant to those before me.
Then I remembered a vacation we took out west. It was Richard and I, our son Ryan and girlfriend Tere. (They are married today.) It must have been about 1994. We were headed to Wyoming, the destination was Atlantic City and a wagon train ride on the Oregon Trail (also Mormon Trail). That is another story.
We camped at a place called the Terry Bison Ranch. We were driving pick-up trucks and sleeping in tents on the ground. This ranch had a nice restaurant, entertainment and you could also rent horses and ride. Well, of course, we wanted to ride. When they ask if you can ride, we said yes...... I know they were thinking, sure, sure, just some more Easterners who want to be "cowboys"! The guide told us there would be NO CANTERING. It wasn't long before they knew we were serious horse people, we knew to check the see if the girth was tight before mounting and I ask them to shorten my stirrups. We got to do more than just mosey along when they knew we could ride. There were two amazing things that happen to us that evening at sunset. As we rode the mesa of brown colored prairie grass and green sage, we came to the edge, down below was a "Dances with Wolves" moment for me, the bison grazed there by the hundreds! It took my breath away and I still get goosebumps remembering. It was so beautiful!
The second thing to happen and I think it happened because we could ride. We were taken to a place on the prairie that had revealed something the ranch people had never seen until that summer. As we rode our horses on this plane of flat open country, our guide pointed out an amazing thing upon the earth. He explained because of all the rains this summer and of course the wind blows constantly out in the west, something had been uncovered after who know how many years of concealment.
As we looked where he pointed we could see them too. Circles of flat stones lay on the earth, there were anywhere maybe 15 or 20 circles of stones, different sizes too. These flat stones held down the liners inside the tipi lodges from long ago. I was in a sacred place, a place where true indigenous people had walked and lived. Wow, what a special gift to see this place. I remember these things as I sit inside my tipi lodge.