The lions slept last night. . .
“Work is worship.”
– Mahatma Gandhi
It was clear and chilly yesterday; perfect weather for a day of work at Grandfather Eddie’s property in Maryland. Half a dozen of us – armed with chain saws, bow saws, wheelbarrows and mauls – set about laying in firewood for the upcoming season’s sweat lodges.
In his camouflage field jacket, heavy sweater and Wellingtons, Grandfather looked like a renegade Sherpa preparing to lead us on a trek across the tundra, and the whistling of the autumn wind through the branches and dead leaves helped to complete the picture.
Between the six of us, we chopped and hauled two tree’s worth of kindling and lumber. There were more chainsaws than lumberjacks, but we worked at twice the manpower, drawing inspiration from the unwavering energy of the Elders who set the pace. There’s nothing quite as motivating as an Elder with a chainsaw and a plan.
By the end of the day, the wood was stacked and ready for next week’s lodge. We were tired, sore and happy. Our bellies were filled with lentil stew and corn muffins.
Grandfather Eddie smiled. “The lion sleeps tonight,” he said, grinning like a precocious eight year old.
“And the bears,” I replied, and we both shared a laugh.
This morning I’m not as sore as I’d imagined I’d be considering the extent of our labors. Knowing Grandfather, he’s already finished his pipe ceremony in the medicine wheel by the lodge. He’s walked among the freshly cut wood and thanked the Great Spirit for the ones who helped to gather it.
This coming weekend, we’ll put a good deal of it to the flame. The Grandfather stones will take its energy into the lodge and share their stories amidst the steam and the sage-smoke. Our love will mingle with that energy, and rise with our prayers to the Creator on Eagle’s wings. . .