The Past :

My Grandfather was over tonight! It is his 88th Birthday & one thing he wanted to do, which he has never done before, was to look at my flutes on ebay... Well, the first thing I did was to take him to the Madriverflutes website. Now although my Grandfather was also an aircraft mechanic, he has never been around computers. I think he wants to buy one now! hehe..... Anyway, when we opened the website and the flute began to play, my Grandfather turns to me and says, "Boy!!! That guy can really play a Native American flute can't he?" :)) Needless to say, I was trying to make his night, and he ended up making mine! When I later told him it was his grandson playing the flute, he had the proudest look on his face!!! His age is finally showing a bit, and his time is soon to be over. Before leaving he looked into my eyes and said, "I will always remember this night my grandson, and you will remember too." We only spent about 30 minutes looking around since everyone came here to celebrate. He says he can't wait to come back over to spend the day surfing in the sun! :))

Brother Fox

The Present:

On a Georgia morning, I had no idea what totem would be chosen for for the Walnut flute as it spun on the lathe! A cool wind came out of the South which helped to keep the flying walnut chips from my face. Stopping to get another tool, my eyes caught movement at the edge of a wood-line on a beautiful green grassy knoll. It was my Wolf friend "Pathfinder", a beautiful creature that someone surely decided to part with, but 100% wolf! I have tried many times in the last months to tame him, but he has decided to live the old ways. Sometimes I have found myself wanting to follow him to see where he goes for weeks at a time. On one such morning I had been kayaking in a nearby swamp and upon reaching a shore, I could clearly see his "larger than life" tracks in the soft mud which would dwarf any dog living in this area! Sit back, and let me tell you a true tale of a purification ceremony where a hunter, Swampfox (me), in pursuit of my past, found that I myself had become the prey! You might ask how I have received this gift of tracking an animal, and I'd answer, my Great Grandfather, and Grandfather, and Father! Many times my elders have been called to find a deer or other animal that a hunter would have never found otherwise. Now I know some folks are against hunting, but both of my Grandfathers fed their families in this way. It is very similar to someone going to the grocery store and buying a chicken, except they went to the woods and brought home a deer. Both chicken and deer gave their lives, but most likely the deer was the only one which the Creator was given thanks for... Even if you are a vegetarian, the plants you eat have given their life for you, and so it is with most everything we eat. As I stepped out of the kayak, for an instant I had a creepy feeling that something was watching me. Glancing around, nothing moved, no sounds were made, & the feeling faded just as quickly as it came! The mud clearly showed not only the tracks of the wolf, but also a very large buck! Hearing a twig snap, I quickly changed my vision so it was more wide angle, a little fuzzy, yet sensitive to movement. I pinched my nostrils and blew softly opening up my Eustachian tubes to allow all the sound that might be made to come to me. I could hear a grey squirrel rustling in the leaves, then jumping on top of a stump to tear into an acorn. In the distance the rush of the river headed north... Now if you have ever been around a wolf you will know that they have a distinctive odor about them. I scented the creature and it was at that moment, in my mind at least, I had become the wolf. This is what the old ones meant many years ago, when they spoke of "shape shifting". For almost half an hour I traveled a line of tracks. It had been a long time, but I had not lost the skills of our Elders. Taking a compass reading, I headed up a small ridge which overlooked the river. I had the sensation of being small, of being outside myself, a stranger, yet comforted in a wild place. I could hear the river now. Closing my eyes, I could feel it's rushing energy flow up the hill. It surrounded me... I must have dozed off for a moment, but when I opened my eyes a small fox ran across down below chasing a rabbit! After eating an apple, I gathered my things and dropped down towards the river. I could hear the old ones telling me, "when you are on a track, stick to the down hill side and keep your eyes on the animal's direction while also watching the land ahead." You can tell what an animal will do miles ahead just by following tracks only 500 yards. Three quarters of a mile from where I cut the track, I found where the buck had met it's rival the wolf on the knoll of another ridge! Clumps of grey black hair were clumped in the center of a circle where horns met flesh! Tiny specks of blood limped east toward the soothing waters. The Timber Wolf did not succeed this time! I was in no hurry as I had engaged the dance of the Wolf, my thoughts of home were but shadows behind me. I was walking in the land of the ghosts now. My Grandfathers had given me the skills to move freely in the wilderness, to sense a world invisible to most. I wondered however, if I would ever be free from the things certain people have done to this world. Shaking my head I was not ready to face the bloody issues of the past. Instead I forced myself to dwell on the land before me, to be Swampfox again. It was at this point that I had the feeling once more that I was being watched. The back of my neck had goose bumps just as a wolf would raise the hair on his neck. This time it was real! Turning slowly and looking directly behind, I could see a creature that could, with no problem at all, take my life, just as a hunter takes a deer! Reflexively, I bowed my head, and gave thanks to the Creator of all living things for the life I have had on his earth. And then, the retracting daylight calmed the forest, until all was a deep almost funeral silence. At that moment I made the decision to jump down the slope slipping further and further down with every stride and I remember thinking that nothing could catch me when I felt like this!!
The only problem was that I was wrong about that my friends! I could now hear the wolf coming like a bolt of lightning down the slope behind me! While still moving, almost flying out of control down the slope myself, out of the corner of my eye I saw the wolf directly to my right! After another 20 yards, it was then that I realized this Wolf was running not to catch me at all, but actually running with me as if moving in a pack!!! And I felt the Powerful presence of the Old Ones once more, the stories of their lives and the words they spoke, and I knew their meaning of the Pathfinders and of the Shape Shifters, for I had become one of them.


The Future:

Something happened that was so funny this morning, I just have to tell you guys about it......As usual I was taking my two boys to school and it is quite a drive. We always play some sort of game, and this morning it was the animal guessing game... I think of an animal and they have to ask YES or NO questions until they guess what it is...If they get a YES, they get to continue asking questions. It also had to be an animal that we have seen on our land before. I was thinking of a chipmunk, and they had established that it had a short bushy tail, orange/brown color, and a black stripe. The boys are 7 and 4...When it was the 4 yr old's turn again he wanted to get some YES answers, so he asked, "Daddy, does this animal have a foot?" I said yes...Then with his next two questions he made me laugh so hard that tears came to my eyes!!!! He says, "Dad, does it have another foot?" We all just died laughing!!! Last he asked, "Is this animal a CATFISH?" He was trying to be funny at this point! Maybe you had to have been there, but man was it funny at the time!!!




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