Friday, October 09, 2009

The Search for Meaning -- and Home

Sometimes I wake up in the early morning, and I sit out on the front porch, looking down on the fog that slowly ascends up the canyons. I am still far-away in my dream world, trying to make sense of the world I have just awaken to, the "real world." So often this world of ours seems to lack meaning, and I struggle with what to do each day that has meaning.

The quest to "Find Home" seems so universal that my mind dwells on that. "Home" is not a house, but it is the place where your heart resides, where your dreams can be fulfilled, where you can do that which you were destined to do. As I think of these things, I recall a poem I wrote last year. I share it with you now…


Christopher Nyerges

In flat grassy lands hot and dry
Where mountains rose steeply to the sky
We walked narrow canyon and watched ravens fly
Along fire-burned willows that would not die.
Past acorn pancakes could smell if you try
And buckwheat mush that mama would fry.
A hot summer day, a distant hawk cries
I’m trying to see what the present denies.

Vibrant little village hundreds years ago
Down by river where the waters did flow
Sheltered by rock from the winter winds blow
Open fields where wild crops did grow
Good clay abounds, lots of ochre yellow
And asphaltum seeps back in the canyon low
Back in the willows could see hidden doe
And grew here all the reeds for crafts and show.

It’s Tataviam summer in this wild grass plain
Where men fasted in the cave out of the rain
And social structure kept you from going insane
While families collected the wild grain

It’s Tataviam summer and I’m looking for home
I’m getting tired of my civilization roam
It’s been a hard millennium away from our loam
It’s time to get back to our Tataviam home.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


[Note: this is a bit long, but please be sure to read the final message.]

I planned a gathering to commemorate what would have been Dolores’ 63 birthday. It was for Saturday October 3, 2009, the day after her birthday. The full moon was Saturday night – it was the "harvest moon." It may have seemed like a casual gathering, but a lot of planning and preparation went into our small gathering.

Michael and I cleaned up the area around the two trees where we buried Dolores’ ashes earlier in the year, and we made sure that the many steps leading down into the Island orchard were safe and not slippery. We set down strips of carpeting on the terraces so that guests would have a place to sit. Plus, I’d noticed that a raccoon had been coming and digging around Dolores’ two Meyer lemon trees, so the layer of special rocks and quartz and handstones that I’d carefully placed under the trees was now tumbled and jumbled. So I re-aligned these specially-placed stones.

This is Dolores’ gravesite, I kept realizing. This is where I go to commune with Dolores. That is not strictly true, however, since I often feel Dolores with me while walking, while driving, while typing at home. But the grave site is still that one unique spot where her final physical remains are buried, where "she" could overlook the burial site of our three beloved dogs, Ramah, Lulu, Cassius Clay.

I invited 50 friends to join us for the October 3 event, and by Friday – Dolores’ actual birthday – I felt pretty prepared for the gathering.

I drove to the Island around 5 p.m. and set things out in the grave site. I was greeted by both Racina and Nicole, who’d arrived before me. Nicole practiced her violin while I set out pictures and burned white sage. Prudence arrived. Frank Loaiza arrived. Frank never met Dolores but seemed to know her through her writings, and through me. Helena arrived. It made me happy to see Helena, since she, Dolores, and I were partners 15 years earlier producing maybe a half-million pencils for gift shops. We had a good several-year run of the business and became close friends.

We began with a toast. We filled our cups, and as we touched them, I read the Shining Bear work called "Herbs and Meat," which Dolores orated at the closing ceremony of the 1989 commemoration of the Trail of Tears in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. I pointed to a photo that I set up by Dolores’ tree. It was Dolores reading "Herbs and Meat" in the Cherokee amphitheatre in Tahlequah.

The sun was low and it was cool, and I felt an aliveness of the spirit of Dolores as we touched our cups in that act of communion.

I then began the prepared Thinking and Destiny reading, which described each afterlife stage, and compared each lifetime to a day in our life, and compared the death stage to the sleep and dream stage each night. After looking at some photos of Dolores, I told everyone how I intended to continue some of Dolores’ life’s work, such as the corn research I’d be sharing that day.
We all then added some more quartz stones to Dolores’s grave site, and then we planted a little corn patch. For this planting, Frank Loaiza gifted an ear of blue corn that his father had raised for several generations. I had soaked the corn in water for some time, and then we each made little holes in the patch with sticks and planted our corn.

Prudence asked me if Dolores had ever worn long robes and beads. In response, I read a paper Dolores had written about how she made and sold clothes when she lived in Hawaii. Prudence said that she "saw" The Lady Dolores there with us, adorned in what appeared to be blue and maybe tan long garments and beads – like braided with her hair and falling on either side of her face. It was as if the beads were part of her hair. It looked just right.

That made me happy that someone else "felt" and "saw" Dolores presence. I couldn’t remember Dolores dressing like that though, except maybe when she did a SerpentDove reading on the Island and dressed the part like an older Native American woman.

Everyone was quiet as Nicole played beautiful sounds on her violin.

As it was getting dark, we all gathered up the hill around Dolores’ redwood table by lamps, and shared her favorite brand of pie, by Fabes, which had no processed sugar. It was a pumpkin pie, along with coffee-elixir, water, and fruit juice.

I shared some of the details about corn, and how the Hopi and others believed that humans were created way back in time from corn kernels. Plus botanists do not know the exact origins of corn, adding to its mystery.

Despina showed up and we read more of the Thinking and Destiny reading.
At the same time, Racina and Nicole glanced at each other. Nicole looked at Racina and said, "You know Dolores is present right now?" Racina nodded knowingly. A very loving and sweet Dolores proceeded to give Nicole a beautiful "soul hug" and whispered very kind thoughts about her and Christopher right into her ear. Racina then looked at Nicole and said, "Oh my gosh! Dolores is here and she is making me smile!! I just can’t stop smiling…." The next moment Dolores’ spirit lovingly moved around the table…a light and loving presence was shared by many of the guests.

And towards the end, even Mel showed up and joined in our conversation. I also read some corn-related selections from the book by Dolores’ mother, Shiyowin Miller, entitled The Winds Erase Your Footprints, a true story of Shiyo’s friend, a white woman, who married a Navajo man and moved to the Navajo reservation during the 1930s. The section I read pertained to the ma-itso, or wolf clan, which used corn pollen to "cast spells" in what was referred to as "Navajo witchcraft."

Prudence said that while I was reading this, she could "see" Dolores shielding her face with her arm, as if protecting herself from this dangerous information. I shared it to point out that all things have a "positive" and a "negative," and the passage from The Winds Erase Your Footprints described how corn pollen was used for evil purposes.

It was a wonderful gathering to commemorate the special being of Dolores, and to recognize how she affected each of us.

When Prudence, and I, and Revve Weisz further discussed the event the following day, we recognized the positive influence that Dolores was now playing in our lives.
RW pointed out something that both stunned me and made me feel uplifted. He said that there was something I should HOLD in my forethought. It was my (The Christopher’s) miraculously Loving interaction with Dolores (The Lady Dolores, as he referred to her Doer, her Divinity) that totally altered The Lady Dolores’ Doer.

We discussed that for a bit. It was obvious that my interaction with Dolores during her last days changed me, but I had not considered how I had changed her. Prudence and I both witnessed an incredible new being arise within Dolores in those last weeks.

RW added that this radical alteration of The Lady Dolores’ Doer will never be known by anyone else, because I (The Christopher) did it all alone, at a huge personal sacrifice, only to benefit The Lady Dolores and not at all "for show" to anyone else. I cried as I re-lived and re-membered those days.

It was late Sunday, and we were ready to depart. RW then shared what was a final "farewell" message from The Lady Dolores, something that Dolores conveyed psychically to him. It was her URGING for how all of us should begin interacting with each other. But it was also such a universal message that is needed by all people, that I share it here:

This could be the last time that I see you.
Either of us could die ere we meet again.
so please know that I deep-admire your admirable traits
and laud your ceaseless efforts to perfect your soul
and elevate your character (and that of everyone you interact with)
I hope we interact again (in this life or the next)
but if we don’t
I want you to know
my life has been enriched by having known you
and I hereby wish you Godspeed
in your sojourn through Eternity.