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The Hopi Rainbow Basket of Dreams
A Day Out of Time
June 13, 2009
It was a day out of time, a day like no other.
We met the elders walking beside the rode. I rolled down the car window and spoke to them, trying to get them to wait for a ride from Rita. "Hello! Are you Morgan?" I asked. I was greeted with a luminous smile from a weathered, yet serene face. "And, you must be Joyce," I said, once again I received a beaming smile, this time from a small, but round woman, somehow old, but ageless. Her eyes twinkled at me, even the one, blinded by a cataract so white, I couldn't tell if she was looking at me, or not.
It Must Have Started On Saturday Evening
Change in the Air
Rita Cantu was coming to work with Mark on a project they were preparing for services on Sunday morning. Rita is an amazing singer/songwriter who occasionally collaborates with Mark on musical projects. And, Rita is a wonderful, joy filled spirit, whom I love dearly, and pray for constantly. Rita with the generous and loving and oh, so fragile heart had received a poem called "Cloud Temple" from a co-student in her Foundations class that she wanted to set to music.
She arrived late. No surprise there. Where ever Rita goes, the air fairly crackles with electricity and chaos! She always seems to have more going on than any 10 people that I know. We had sort of given up on her arriving any time soon and were preparing a bite to eat when hurricane Rita blew in full of bright ideas about the project and overflowing with laughter. We all ate and talked for a while before hitting the studio.
We worked for hours laying down the tracks for the background; recording some synthesizer and some vocals, leaving out the parts that Mark and Rita would present live. We had created a background of spoken texture over a base of synth that was amazing. We all had taken turns speaking one of the names of God in rotation. It was so powerful! Rita improvised an aria over the top that was truly sublime.
By 11:00 pm we had the first one in the can, so to speak, but had no clue what to do for the next one. Each Sunday, the guest soloist(s) are expected to have two pieces ready for the service. We only had one.
Rita had thought, initially, that another of Ken's poems would be the second piece, but we simply ran out of time to prepare it. Eventually, Rita settled on a piece she had sung several years ago, called "Walking In Beauty," an interpretation of a traditional Navajo song, which seemed an odd choice to me, at the time. It was fairly easy for Mark to learn it, and we were able to wrap up the evening at 11:30, all of us exhausted from the effort and the heat generated in that small room.
Satisfied that we had done all we could do, we called it an evening and sent Rita on her way, planning to meet up the next morning at The Center at 8:30 am.
We were, each one of us, flying pretty high from the energy we had created and shared over the course of the last few hours. It was, and still is, amazing what we had created in such a short time.
Walking In Beauty ~ Lyrics
Arrangement: Rita Cantu & Nancy Rumble
Beauty Before Me I Walk
Beauty Behind Me I Walk
Beauty Above Me I Walk
Beauty Below Me I Walk
Beauty All About Me I Walk
In Beauty All Is Made Whole
In Beauty All Is Restored
Repeat All to the Four Directions
Repeat Chorus to the Four Directions
V: Am (G) Am
C: C Am F G Am
c. Rita Cantu & Nancy Rumble
The Morning After
Sunday morning began a little roughly for each of us. Rita had arrhythmia in the middle of the night (something that has been happening with alarming regularity), and was having difficulty pulling herself together. She called us to ask Mark to go in early and set up the stage and the microphones. She would join us as soon as she could.
Mark was clearly nervous about singing with Rita. Mark has been playing solo piano & electronic keyboards and drums for decades. But, Mark has not considered himself a vocalist, by any means. He has a wonderful voice. It just hasn't gotten much use.
I had gone to bed, nursing an old hurt that had gotten re-bruised by a careless remark inadvertently made by Rita the night before. In the morning, I was feeling invisible and resenting it. (Certainly, not a pretty place to be).
We all pulled ourselves together, and made our way to the Center for services and whatever else lay in store for us that day.
Mark and Rita, being the pros that they are, rose to the occasion, and gave the congregation an ascendant experience beyond their wildest expectations. Both pieces were flawlessly executed (unless you ask them!), and the audience knew they had just witnessed something truly remarkable. Even I, in my funk, knew I had witnessed the divine in action.
Services were followed by a barbecue, after which, we three made our way to our respective homes for a much deserved nap and regroup, making arrangements for Rita to come over later to see me for a Reconnective Healing Session.
Later That Same Day
(I've Always Wanted To Say That!)
After a couple of hours of napping and meditation, Mark and I roused ourselves enough to at least make a start at being social. Rita was supposed to arrive at 4:00 pm, but I was not expecting her to make it after the episode with her heart the night before.
Shortly after 4:00 pm, Rita pulled up in front of the house in her Subaru, refreshed after her 2 hour nap, already making plans for the evening with Steve, a mutual friend from the Center. We sat around and talked for quite a while, rehashing the morning. Rita and I made peace with each other over the previous evening and were making plans for future endeavors when Steve called.
We invited Steve to join us before he and Rita went off for their sushi dinner a little later. Within minutes of Steve's arrival, Rita's phone rang again. I could tell by the way that Rita's voice escalated, that she was excited about something.
Hanging up, Rita turned to us and started to relay a long and complicated story eventually relating to two Hopi Elders alone and frightened in the city. Would we want to go take them out to dinner and make them feel welcome?
Hopi Holy People on Foot
With Bad Knees, No Less
Two Hopi Elders had been brought to Prescott for a festival so that they could sell some woven baskets. They were staying as guests in a house near us. Their host was absent, and they were on foot.
We agreed, of course, that we would love to take the Elders to dinner, and pulled our things together. Steve made use of our shower to clean up after working at the Center all afternoon. We were off, taking two cars so that Rita could transport the Elders back to their house.
We arrived at the agreed upon place, a Mexican restaurant, only to find that we were too late, and the Hopis had already eaten and left, on foot.
We Meet the Elders
Mark, Steve and I met the elders walking beside the rode. Assuming the Elders were uncomfortable in the city, I rolled down the car window and spoke to them, trying to get them to wait for a ride from Rita. "Hello! Are you Morgan?" I asked. I was greeted with a luminous smile from a weathered, yet serene face. The man wore his Native heritage proudly in spite of his worn out clothes. "And, you must be Joyce," I said, once again I received a beaming smile, this time from a small, but round woman, somehow both ageless and luminous. Her eyes twinkled at me, even the one, blinded by a cataract so white, I couldn't tell if she was looking at me, or not.
"We are friends of Rita's." I continued, "She will be along shortly to give you a ride." Hoping they would trust us enough to wait for Rita, who was around the corner, turning her car around. I could tell that their knees were in obviously bad shape by the way the hobbled along together. I really wanted them to accept a ride from Rita, not sure that they could even make it back to the house on foot.
They had resumed walking, when I spotted Rita in the rear-view mirror and called out. "Wait! Here's Rita right now! Here's your ride," just as Rita pulled up behind us on the roadside.
Rita, bubbling with excitement and goodwill, bounced out of the car and greeted the Hopi Elders. Dazzled by Rita's enthusiasm, I'm sure, the Hopi were ushered into Rita's Subaru and swept off down the road.
A Dream On The Mesa
The Spirit World At Work
We followed Rita's car as it wove its way through the neighborhood toward its destination, hauling its precious cargo. It was then that an old memory came to me that I had completely forgotten. It was the memory of my dream to go up to Second Mesa, not as a tourist, but as a guest. I could feel it beginning to happen as if invisible forces were working to make this a reality. My hands began to sizzle with heat just like they did when I performed my healing work.
We all felt a sense of anticipation, as if wondrous things were about to occur. My curiosity was running in full gear, yet I instinctively knew that I should not ask direct questions, or pry in any way. Just to be respectful in their holy presence would be more than enough for me.
Invited To Enter
An Audience With the Elders
Rita pulled her car into a small parking area in front of an equally small house in an older neighborhood filled with college students. There wasn't enough room next to her to park, so Mark parked in front of a house across the street. The cheerfully radiant Hopis alighted from Rita's car and invited us inside for a visit.
The whole time, Rita was chattering like a magpie, peppering the Elders with questions about acquaintances in common, the events of the day at the festival, and whether or not Joyce sold her baskets.
Joyce had sold all but one of her baskets, which she promptly retrieved from a cubby hole somewhere in the kitchen to show to us. Each of us were allowed to hold and examine this basket which had taken Joyce an entire month to weave. Intricately woven with the stylized depiction of rainclouds staggered around it, it was made of yucca and black sunflower seed and natural dyes.
The basket literally glowed with the prayer it held. I took it in my hands and could not believe the power that I felt radiating from it. My hands burned and glowed and pulsed with light at this point. I glanced at Mark, and from his expression and non-verbal communication, I knew that he was experiencing similar, if not the same type of phenomena.
It was a good thing we had Rita to forge the way conversationally, as I was nearly useless as a contributor to the exchange. Outwardly oblivious to my and Mark's condition, Rita cheerfully orchestrated a masterpiece, teasing snippets of information from the Elders. I remember her respectfully asking Joyce what she had asked for a price on the basket, and then telling her that she would sleep on it and see if it spoke to her in the night.
In my observation mode, I reluctantly relinquished the Rainbow Basket to Rita, and commenced to watch the Elders for clues to their remarkable presence. These seemingly ordinary people glowed with a golden aura that extended out about two feet from their bodies. Yet, they were carrying on a very ordinary conversation with Rita. I was astonished and very nearly speechless.
Roused From My Reverie
At Least For the Moment
By now, the conversation had rolled around to the last time that Rita had been up on the Mesa. I remember thinking, "Rita has been up on the Mesa?" And, before I knew it, the words I was thinking were out of my mouth, "I've never been up on the Mesa."
There was a split second silent exchange between Morgan, Joyce and Rita. Morgan nodded slightly, and Rita rallied with, "We have GOT to get you up on the Mesa!"
The next thing I knew, the Elders and Rita were exchanging information in order to make arrangements to bring us up to Second Mesa for the "Butterfly Dance." Stunned, all I could think was, "It's happening! This is really happening!"
Nearly in tears, I, once again, had been reduced to silence. I looked down at the basket searing my hands that I had managed to rest a second time from Rita. So much was going on, the undercurrents were nearly louder than the conversation. I found myself repeatedly using my hands to reflect the light back to the Elders, who undoubtedly noticed my strange behavior. Thankfully, no one mentioned it until later at dinner, after we had left the Hopi to get some much needed rest before leaving the next morning to return to Hopi.
Rehash Over Sushi
Letting Off Some Steam
We left the Hopi to rest after a long day at the festival, with promises to get in touch before we all came up to Second Mesa. Since we never did have that dinner, we decided to meet up at the sushi place at Frontier Village.
Arriving just minutes before the chefs were to close the kitchen, we hurriedly ordered a little bit of everything. Energies running very high, we drew quite a bit of attention with our loud laughter and merriment. I am sure that we were all carrying just a bit of the Elder's magical aura with us.
Before the evening was over, Rita and I rescheduled her aborted Reconnective Healing session for 9:00 am the next morning, I knew full well that she would either not make it, or be very late. Rita could be like a candle burning at both ends and the middle; really exciting and fun to be around, but she physically can't keep up with her energy level.
The Hopi Basket of Dreams
The Magic Continues - A Basketful of Dreams
By 9:30 the next morning, I had nearly finished making up a batch of massage cream with wonderful nutrients and essential oils, when Rita banged on my door. Breathlessly, she entered the house, saying something about having a good reason for being late, but she couldn't tell me about it.
Mark had already called me at 9:25 to inform me that Rita would be late, which was hilarious, as I had already figured that out. He told me to leave the door open for company. I remember thinking, "Oh, the Hopi are coming!" then dismissing it with, "No, Rita is just running late!"
She came into my kitchen where I was finishing up with my cream, talking a mile a minute, and asking a ton of questions about my cream, and the ingredients and my reasons for putting them in, and could I trust the manufacturer, and so on. I had started to get a little antsy as I had another client coming at 11:00, and this session due to start at 9:00 was now a full hour late, when the dogs started to bark.
Going to look out the window to see what had the dogs so excited, I saw one of the Hopi, hobbling up my walkway with something in her hands. I opened the door to greet her just as she placed the package into my hands and said, "I think this is for you!" And she turned to hobble back to the car waiting by the gate.
I was moved to tears! I knew full well that Rita must have arranged to purchase the basket from her and then given it to me! Ah...the reason she was late, of course!
We must have talked about something out there beside that old Mercedes before the Elders climbed back into it. But, I can't clearly remember much other than I had just been multiply blessed in ways that I could never even comprehend, much less express.
After the Hopi departed on their long journey back to Second Mesa, Rita shared the last bit of the story. She had called the Elders about an hour before our scheduled appointment, but they were already on their way. They had a ride with a man by the name of Brent, who lived at Arcosanti. He had already picked them up and they were in Prescott Valley, about 15 miles away from us, headed for I-17 North.
Rita told them how moved and honored Mark and I had been to have met them, and that she wanted to buy the basket for me. But, since they were already on their way, she would get it when we came up to see them for the ceremony on the Mesa. Morgan agreed and hung up.
A couple of minutes later, Joyce called back. They had talked it over with their ride, and decided to come back to deliver the basket.
I am still humbled by this entire experience. It has been a dream come true, with more to come. I can hardly wait to make my pilgrimage to Second Mesa. What the spirits have in store, I cannot even begin to guess. I only know that it is good, and very good.