One hundred and ninety eight treaty walks ago, I wrote, "Join me on my year-long-journey to and from school 'every day the busses run.' As I walk I will meditate on treaties, blogging and posting pictures along the way."
Three weeks ago, Michael and I went for our second hour of marriage counselling in our twenty three years. Our counsellor gave us some homework. Spend at least one outing alone, no kids, no friends, no tv, no driving, just being and playing, and don't talk about any of this therapy stuff. Then, we were supposed to individually spend twenty minutes, three times a week, practicing mindfulness.
Today is our last day of school. We have a staff meeting in the morning followed by lunch out with colleagues and cleaning in the afternoon. At 3:31 I am walking out the back door, cell phone in my shallow pockets; back pack, books, guitars, purse, in the Envoy. I am up and over the highway, into the deep grass on the other side, over the train tracks, through the hay field, onto the gravel road when I reach into my pocket. My cell phone is gone. I pat myself up and down, looking for the spot I must have hidden the cell phone. No, I put it in my pocket, these stupid shallow pockets. I turn around and start retracing my steps, through the grass, please God just let me find my phone, over the tracks, into the ditch, up toward the highway, and there the phone is, laying in the mowed grass. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I tuck the phone into my bra strap, turn around, and wade back into the grasses.
I meet up with Angie at the corner and we chat, exchange summer plans, good hiking trails, text a little, take a phone call, and pretty soon I am waving at Angie as she walks up her lane and I keep heading toward mine.
I get into the house, sweaty, and kick off my shoes. It's so hot outside, but the house is almost cold. I need a bath, but first, where's Moira. "Arwen, where's Moira?"
"She's gone for a walk."
We have to be in the city by 5:30 for our second session. Michael jumps off the bed where he was trying to get a little nap in, and he drives off, looking for Moira. He returns in ten minutes, no Moira, so I phone the Cooks to see if I can drop the girls off. We are just rounding up Arwen and her little buddy when Moira reappears. We wave and leave with a few I love yous.
The city rush hour is worse than we remember and we spend one, then two lights in line to turn. We're losing minutes and finally we get to the office and we're five minutes late.
One hundred and ninety eight days ago, I claimed the word meditate, and after today's session, I'm wondering if I have any idea what that word really means. I thought I was practicing mindfulness walking to and from school, and I'm sure on some level I was, but the counsellor said something to me today that nailed my heart to the back of my chest.
I said something about these last two Treaty Walk days and Michael not knowing what is going on in my world, then later the counsellor picked up on this, and looked right at me, and said, "If you're going to be a treaty woman, you have to be okay in here," and he tapped his chest.
And maybe it was right away or maybe later in a different context, but he added, "I just spent five days at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and we encouraged people to say everything, to get it all out."
So here I am, near the end of my journey, with two free days tagged on, but in some ways, today is the last day. I hope I was able to give something back, to be an ally, to offer a little restitution in the name of treaty, but I also know what the counsellor said was right. If I'm going to be a treaty worman, I have to be okay in my heart, and right now I'm not. So maybe part of these walks were for me to get to this day and know I need to get serious about my own healing. And maybe it's not getting serious, maybe it's lightening up, playing, being mindful.
Reason Number Three Why I Love Treaty Walks: It has been good for my body, mind, heart and spirit.