Sunday, December 14, 2008
The Side Of The Road
It was Grey Wolf who gave me the name of Walking Wolf Woman, for the colour of my eyes, the clan he was adopting me into, and for the miles under my feet. Fitting that we met on the side of a country road, 'round Fulford Harbour, on Salt Spring Island, B.C.
What do you say when you ask for strength of spirit on a walk...and a car almost immediately pulls over to the side of the road behind you? How do you explain when on old First Nations man gets out of the car to take you in his arms? If you are me, and have trusted the journey since birth, you say thank you and hello.
I had come from New York to this small island in the Georgia Strait to say goodbye to my best friend of twenty years. In 1991 they had not made all the advances with breast cancer that are available now. Still, we had our small miracles; she woke up from a coma the day I arrived in February, and we were able to take her home two days later. I came back to her in September, knowing it would be our last visit. She was so tired but still neither of us wanted to let go.
This is what I was wrestling with, in my heart, when Grey Wolf came into my life. His eyes looked so big behind the thick glasses he wore. His frame was frail and crooked but his strength of spirit was to change my life forever. After our hug, he told me that he had to run to catch the ferry but made sure I had his address to write.
A couple of weeks later it was time to say goodbye to my best friend. We were a generation of the road so, of course, we were once again beside it as I headed towards the ferry and a flight back to New York. Both she and Grey Wolf felt so small in my arms; both so large and connected in my life. Anne journeyed-on with the full moon of November that year. Still she kisses my cheek in the passing breeze, as I walk along the byways.
Grey Wolf and I began a correspondence and the trading of stories on the "talking leaves," as he called letters. The road was to lead me back west and my first visit to Washington state by the following summer of '92.