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Paul G 11-28-2006 05:34 PM

The Pow Wow
Posted by Mato Winyan

Sitting out in the waving and swaying breeze, I watch as the trees bow in graceful reverence. This signifies that spring arrived on the wings of the blustery winds. The evidence is all around me, the earth is indeed once again alive.

I open my ears so I might hear the source of this renewed life, the heartbeat of the earth. I strain to hear that thundering beat that had become so muted. After the long months of winter, it was now a whispering thud of what once resonated through my very core. As I listen, I hear the chatter of the friendships being renewed after the long months of solitude. They have gathered around the drum to celebrate and pay respect to this amplifier of the earth. In the midst of all the fervor I find myself holding my breath as I excitedly wait in anticipation of the first beat. Then it happens. The first stick makes contact with the hide. My heart responds with a jolt. The resonating call awakens the spirit. It speaks to all that are around, itís neither discriminating nor selective. Some choose to respond to this call and are drawn closer by some deep yearning that is truly foreign to them. Others come from afar in gladness because they know what awaits. My attention is drawn to some, that although they may be close in proximity, are so far away and are some how oblivious to what is going on. They seem not to hear. For a moment I feel sadness for them. Then my attention is captured by the words of the old ones as they come forth through the voice of the singers. The spirit needs no translator to tell the heart what language they sing. The ones that understand this language and answer itís invitation, join in and connect with the circle of life and celebrate in its dance. I watch as the men initiate this dance by entering first. These warriors place each foot soundly and precisely so each can tell of his own quests in life. They tell their story with pride, not of arrogance but humility. Some tell it so eloquently the eye becomes immovable as they tell of lifeís challenges and how they emerged victorious.

My heart quickens as I see the women enter this circle. Since they too are life givers, this is where they belong. Their beauty from within is captivating. This is proven in the way they sway in unison with such incomparable grace and elegance.

As the singers keep the rhythm with such skilled precision the dancers respond likewise. Each beat and step, cycle renewed energy back to the earth. Through some unexplainable awareness I know this has been the way since the beginning of time.

My attention is then averted to the younger ones, however awkward their steps may seem, I see the future dancing with not only speed, but with such enthusiasm and great diversity. Each is an individual. Their choice of dance and regalia expresses this so wonderfully. As they move around the circle in the footsteps of the elders, they bring not only life and creativity, but also honesty. They claim this dance as their own personal expression of spirit. Not just for this moment but for all future generations to come. They are laying the foundation for them. As they dance to the rhythm of the earth, their bells and jingles add their own melody. This only adds life to this moment. Some of the older ones, whose steps have slowed, watch and remember their youth. Some remember with fondness. Some with deep sorrow and regret, for not seeing this ancient truth in their own lives. They do not see this as lessons taught by the circle, nor can they grasp the blessing of the moment.

Just as gallantly and regally as this dance began, it also ends. The hugs. The handshakes. The well wishes and promises. The hope of seeing each old friend and new acquaintance on the powwow trail keeps this from being a time of sadness. Each who has been touched by the blessing of the circle knows that this isnít an ending. Itís a new beginning. We will go home and ponder what has just taken place, securely knowing whether we are there or not, the dance in the circle continues.

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