On the liminal day between Good Friday and Easter this year, a group of adventurous souls met on the shores of the Great Salt Lake to enact a ceremony of community grief-tending. It’s that same thing I’ve led in spring and fall out there for the past four or five years — now partnering with a friend with the intention to co-create an ongoing, living ritual for our community.
Something happens out there, under giant skies, with the hum of the freeway, lights of the city, wet ancient sand under our feet, and the sun fading in the west. It’s like the wild space out there is big enough to hold what we fling out to it.
I always feel different the next day. Quietly connected and washed out all at once.
This year the weather was chilly and cloudy. No firey sunset. Just pregnant grey clouds everywhere, and far-away lightening and thunder on the mountain range to the southwest.
And again, it was good — ceremony, touching into the world-behind-form, in some gentle altered state, right there for real. For real in the modern, civilized world.
* * *
Three days later, I felt an urge to go back to the lake, for myself. I needed to lie on the ground, to be in a wild place, to feel myself and to feel this planet. Maybe I was fighting a bug. Maybe I needed to just be still and integrate all the radical change that’s been going on inside of me since March. I wasn’t sure. I didn’t need to know. I just needed to go.
So I took my drum and a tarp and some water and drove down in the late afternoon. I walked out west and a bit north, going toward what looked like a wrecked walkway. It was a ways out. I lost cell coverage.
When I arrived, it was the right place, and I spread out my tarp on the sand and laid down, near the shallow water. I laid there for some time, feeling my body relax and ground down, allowing myself to be held.
I noticed I had no story, no upset I was trying to sooth. I had no problem I wanted to solve. I had just felt a call, and I went. I just felt tired and wanted to lie down on the earth.
And lying there, watching the sun drop closer to the horizon, waving away bugs, feet bare, listening to the faint roar of the city, ‘I’ didn’t even feel like a thing. ‘I’ was there, but ‘I’ was translucent, permeable.
* * *
Two hours later as the sun kissed the mountaintops, I stood up and got my drum out and just started drumming. When the last burning edge had slipped down behind the now blue silhouette of mountains, I kept drumming. As the sky turned yellow, clouds illuminated orange from below, I kept drumming. Then the whole sky turned to fire and I kept drumming. All at once, I felt a sensation of zooming and I turned all around — into the firey sky, into the snow-capped mountains and the giant Kennecott smokestack, all of it at once. Three-hundred and sixty degrees. No separation.
I kept drumming.
No big deal.
All of this is simple and real.
It happens every day —