This one is dedicated to my deceased husband David Reel… who passed away January 16, 1996 following a long illness. We had been together for 4 years when he got sick… and soon after that we had a large community wedding on Winter Solstice 1991, sort of a blend of new age, native american and christian…. a ceremony we created more or less on the spot and involved the whole crowd. The men followed David into the chapel from outside and circled the building clockwise to make a circle filling the whole room, and the women followed me in a counter clockwise circle ending up in a circle inside the circle of men… with David and I standing together with our Native preacher friend… My daughter joined in our ceremony, by reading out loud a wonderful poem she found called “Don’t you Quit!”
The ceremony was profound, I felt… and later was told that forming part of the circle was an experience for many rather like getting married all over again, renewing their own vows . After the ceremony was over, musician friends of ours in Port Townsend started playing a Polka, and David and I danced all around the room until we were breathless… joined by the others after the first few moments…
At the time, David had a IV port in his arm, and had energy for only one dance, but oh, we had so much fun! Sadly he ended up back in the hospital once more after one night of honeymoon.
The reason I chose this photo (taken on January 15, 2009) was because of a memory from our extended family honeymoon that took place in May of 1992. We all drove across Idaho camping at hot springs along the way, with David almost entirely blind at the time. Often, after the camping chores shared by all 3 of us were done, I would read out loud to both he and my daughter before bed. It was a timeless journey, with fishing and hot springs, laughter and frustration both. We came to Yellowstone and spent a week or so wandering around… my daughter still remembers me sitting in the open door of the camper van playing my Native American flute for the herd of Buffalo crossing the road and wallowing in the dust nearby. She tells me they came closer, listening to the flute.
At one point, my girl and I were outside the van, taking photos of the buffalo and a large moose with calf off the road a ways. David, who could not see more than some movement and light, was sitting in the van with the window down… while a buffalo was browsing in the low bushes beside the road not far away. Later, he told me he learned a new breathing meditation….. “Buffalo Breath”. As the Bison grazed, she would take a deep breathe and exhale it all out with a whooosh… so for awhile when things got rough David would practice his “buffalo breath meditation. Hmmm… now that I think of it, it was rather a lot like the kind of breathing they teach a woman to use in labor!
Back here in 2009, In this photo, it was freezing cold out, with rime frost on the trees and plants… and as the Bison breathed, their breath became the fog you see around the back buffalo. Seeing this I was transported back in time to the trip to Yellowstone. This small herd was living on a ranch near Trout Lake, Washington, but change comes to all things eventually and the herd is gone now.
Life has never since been the same