The current turmoil of politics and pandemic has left my spirit lagging. I needed to take a break from these demoralizing times, and when my dear friend George invited me to go camping for a few days, I leapt at the opportunity. He has an exquisitely outfitted RV, said he would take care of  setting up camp, and all I had to do was lay back and enjoy it.

We camped in a Cottonwood grove by the Verde River, the Verde is a healing place for me. This is where I have come for the last 40 years to attend Native American Church meetings and Sweat Lodge ceremonies. This is where my healing ceremony took place a couple of years ago, where I stood arm in arm creating a human chain across the river to protest the building of a damn that would have flooded the Fort McDowell Indian Reservation.

This is a place that comes to mind if somebody does guided imagery and wants me to go to a peaceful place that dependably gets me to relax. This is my sanctuary for spiritual renewal.

George set up the camp and catered a Happy Hour. I felt like a Sultan in an Arab Emirate. It’s not natural for me to lay back, do nothing, and be served, but I quite liked it.

At dusk I strolled the riverbank, looked at Eagle nesting sites, watched a Great Blue Heron land, sat on a log overlooking rapids, watched fish rise in a quiet lagoon, and was captivated by a spectacular sunset.

Slept in a comfortable queen-sized bed and was awakened in the early morning by the pitter patter of raindrops on the roof. I love that trance inducing dance music of the Rain Gods. It hadn’t rained in Phoenix for three months but today it rained all day and I holed up in bed reading a novel… I can’t remember the last time, it was transcendent.

This is the season of new birth and miracles, it is especially important in these times of isolation, uncertainty, chaos and anxiety to go to a special place that reminds you to say thanks for the magic and beauty that surrounds you.

To all of you my Relatives, I send my blessings for a healthy and peaceful New Year. In beauty may you walk. With beauty all around you, may you walk.