She wrapped silence around her like a shield. Sitting on the shadowed side of the meditation hall, she seemed to glow with concentration. I could not help but notice her, her pale denim clothes and long white hair, which was tied near her skull with a thin red ribbon.
Two Tewa elders had been invited to open the meditation retreat entitled “In the Arms of Mother Earth.” They stood on their ancestral lands welcoming those who came to celebrate the planet and focus on ways to protect it. We were in accord.
She seemed to pay particular attention to the elders, both apparently younger than she, both wearing simple dresses with colorful traditional patterns.
Three days later, she was back as the two elders spoke their closing blessing then invited participants to come forward and take an item from the ‘give away’ table.
That’s when she sang. Before any of us moved forward, she leaned back in her chair and sang. The song, in the Tewa language, reached every person in the hall. It reverberated in my soul. Although I could not understand the language, I understood the meaning. It was a hymn to the sacred planet, so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes.
The item I took from the table was a small round of glazed clay inscribed with the words, “I am Blessed.” As I walked from the hall, one of the elders used a large feather to anoint me with drops of water. Looking up I saw the singer standing nearby and was able to thank her and shake her hand.