blogging from minnesota!
my first full day in minnesota and i'm a happy girl....i arrived last night around rush hour and we pretty much just went back to sweetie's and had dinner and slept.
but today, sweetie and i did a tourist-y riverboat ride which we both really enjoyed. we had the added thrill of an emergency docking because a woman had been stung by a yellowjacket, and needed to get some medical care asap. there is a cement ramp on the river about halfway along the 2-hour tour course, where the riverboats can put down a gangway, and the emt's met the boat there. very exciting, and i'm sure she was ok as she was able to walk off the gangway to meet the med techs without any assistance.
then we drove to a nearby lake for a quick swim which was very refreshing. so much water, and how green it is here! it's such a contrast from the stark (but also beautiful) aridity of my desert clime.
after our swim we headed southeast to hastings to attend a traditional sweat lodge that sweetie has been to about 3 times. i had not been in a lodge like that for years, and it was sweet to recall the more traditional ways of sweating.
when i first came to arizona, i was invited to participate in a few traditional sweat lodges, so my first experiences with this ancient and beautiful ritual of prayer and purification were in a similar vein. crawling in on hands & knees, clockwise around the fire pit....firetender bringing the rocks in one at a time, seven per round, and then closing the door flap....the utter, pitch darkness and womb-like feeling of the lodge....the leader giving a little talk about why we are here, and how the sweat will be conducted....singing, drumming, shakers, and heat....opening the door flap for air and, after a time, the next bunch of hot rocks.
it was a spacious lodge compared to those i have been in before, so there was actually room to shift position a little bit. the leader was a dakota elder who has been leading that lodge for about 10 years. his words were sage, humorous, and humble. we did 3 rounds with new rocks each time, and the 4th was lots of water on the 21 rocks there. during the 3rd round we went around the circle and prayed aloud, individually. one man sang and drummed softly as we each spoke in turn. it was good.
afterwards a feast: corn on the cob, buffalo stew, hummus, olives, ice cream: emptying out to fill again. a wonderful time indeed!
pixs to come later on...