From the beginning, the rhythm was felt. The forest emporium was filled with dancers. There they all were, dressed in their full greenness – breathtakingly beautiful trees, whispering excitedly to each other, and swaying slightly in anticipation of the storm. I quietly made my way through grand halls of awesome heights. As I walked, the tribes of standing ones lowered their boughs to me. “Welcome, two-legged one” they breathed out, aided by the gathering winds. I came to a tiny glade, where many dancers lined the space within. “Be still!” they called to me. “Hush!” the winds whispered around me. I held my breath, and looked to the ceiling. The sky was filled with orchestral beings, all seated and ready to begin. I held close to a slender spruce, and she rocked me reassuringly. She breathed with me, deep and long, until I felt my roots entwining with hers, giving me a strong grasp on the Mother’s breast. I was ready – the excitement rose within me and I breathed it out into the space before me, my senses tingling with each exhale. The orchestra gave short bursts of sound from above, promising a musical marathon of experience.
The baton was raised, and with harmonious precision, the wind played her first notes; hushed at the onset, then gradually building to a crescendo of woodwind instruments. The dancers made a tremelo of excitement when the wind blew a shrill whistle through their hands. I continued to breathe, long and deep, with the spruce, and we held tight to each other as the music grew, and blew about our bodies. Down below, on the forest floor, I noticed the background noise, just as it flapped, shuffled and scurried into nests and holes, leaving the space free for the dancing to begin. Safely hidden in the dense thickets around the walls of the dance floor, they lay in silence, waiting for the show to start, and confident that they had the best seats in the forest from which to watch it.
As the dancers began to wave their arms high above their heads, the tiny glade in front of me beckoned, offering space for me to wave my own limbs in time with the music. I let go off the safety of the spruce, and as I moved away from her, she showered me with needles. “Bravo!” she called to me with joy. The wind was picking up. The dancers loved it. I looked up at their arms moving with sheer exhilaration, and I sensed that I was not the only being there whose heart had begun to sing.
The woodwinds were playing louder now, and their winsome notes swirled about me, enticing hair and robes into the dance with me, and catching hold of my breath, they swept it around the floor. Filled with joy, I spun and spun, lifting my face towards the ceiling where large droplets of rain began to play. They shook their rattles faster and faster, flooding the music with their sound. And as each rattle spent, the droplets hit the floor, and leapt and pranced with showy skill. I kicked off my moccasins, and taking their lead, followed the raindrops, rattling down with my body, and skipping from step to step. With growing confidence, I skipped around and around the dance floor, reaching my hands out to the trees. The joy grew within me. It grew and grew, increasing my confidence. With each step and skip, my breath laughed and raced around the space, and my feet intuitively found the next mound of springy moss from which to propel my body forwards like a spritely deer.
Then, when my joyful heart could no longer contain it, a song burst forth, up through my throat and out into the space, where it was caught my the music, and carried throughout the entire emporium for all to hear and know. Very soon, every being there was singing that song. My spirit soared in holy communion with all that was.
The woodwinds and rattles played on, bells and whistles chimed and shrilled. Suddenly, as if from a distance, drums began to roll. The rhythm quickened as the drums thundered above. The dancers danced, and the rain rattled, faster and faster, and I skipped and swirled and shook and sang, until my heart beat loud and fast, keeping up with the rhythm and joining the drummers. The song sang itself on and on, springing out from deep within my soul, and all about me it was repeated.
In the darkness of the thickets, the audience was still. The music magnified the silence between its notes. Then, for a few moments, a hush swept over the space. I held my breath. I could hear the audience call to me with bated voices– “hurry, hurry!” Then, clash! Symbols sounded, and my heart seemed to burst wide open as a blinding white light spread out from the symbols, filling the entire emporium and showing beauty beyond this world. Rainbow colours twinkled everywhere and each dancing tree was highlighted in crystal light. My song sparkled in a stream of heavenly azure, and seemed to be echoed by a choir of angelic voices. I could no longer hear the orchestra, nor could I hear the audience calling to me. All I could hear, was my song, filling my senses with its presence. For a few moments of eternity, I was submerged in a spiral of music, my body seeming weightless as the notes carried me around and around. And then, my heart stilled as the song began to quieten. When the song was done, I dropped to the floor. I lay there for what seemed to be a very short time, although when I opened my eyes, night had come, and the orchestra had ceased playing. The storm was over, and I was left there on the forest floor to ponder the wonder of my existence.
Eliza White Buffalo and Black Elks’ books can be found in the Inspirational Storytellers Book Store