Montana Wolf

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Journey of a Thousand Steps: Baboquivari's Cave of Emergence

Baboquivari at First Light

Baboquivari and I'itoi's Cave Cliff Face
The swoop of owl
silent wings through headlights at dawn          
foretold the power of I'itoi's Cave
where the Tohono O'odham People emerged
into this world on
Baboquivari's flank.
Her wake of wing beats
swept the ole truck
down the sharp stone two track
a desert oak campground
and a bathroom shaman
who emerged from the open-doored stall
a fist-sized flat circle of
woven grass hung from her neck
spirit stop sign
I forgot to pee
smiled and said
it's beauty-full
Her ankle length indigo velvet skirt
held sway
Her wizened face smiled
My People's maze she said
See here she pointed our spirit protector
a turtle. 

Double tie hiking boots.
Strap on the fanny pack.
Drink water. Drink.

How many turtles have crossed the trail to I'itoi's cave?    
Step step
up a cactus-studded cliff face
one thousand feet steep
serrated thorn trail
thick climbing rocks
all the hiking stick way.

Drink water. Drink.
Take a deep breath.
Thank you breeze.

an act of faith
to an invisible cave
my calves rebel
breath puffs
the trail levels out
none too soon
upon a high ledge
Carole at Entrance
royal blue kerchief tied to a branch
sways in the wind
behold! before me
a slight slit through rock
plump boulders
passage into ebony.
On any given day I would have passed them by.

Drink drink.
I have arrived.

Slither and twist.
Push the body into the mountain womb.
I drop into darkness
two feet ker-plop
into a chamber and wait for eyes to see
braids of sweet grass, charcoal, rows of hiking sticks, feathers and bundles, beads, shoes, photos, a 20'x30' stand-tall womb
a gestation of hope
and daring dreams.

I squat, pray and offer my gift      
turn toward sunlight
to birth head first
a belly down squirm
momentary panic
rock hand hold
I pull forward
elbows into dirt
my feet hit ground
full body flat and free
forceps spurned.

Drink drink.

step by concentrated step  
down ball-bearing rock
reality askew
dimensions pool
behind my eyes
I am not the same woman
but know not how
in a daze
through teary haze
'round the shaman's maze
of blowing spirit dust.

Drink drink. Blink.

This will take time.    
I free scrunched toes
from the tip of my boot
walk the base of a rock uplift
spine outcrop worthy of
lemon palo verde blooms
don't-dare-swat killer bees
a man's sweet smile
a sister's hug.

Day's end nears.
A wind-ruffed Crested Cara Cara
stands one legged
apex watch
on a lofty old sahuaro
short flight from her Mexican home
breathe the emerald desert
below the slit of I'Itoi
migrants all.

Ever-present Baboquivari 


  1. Tried to write a comment but it didn't come, J

    Saying..." Following you step by step through this movement toward certain birth. Am grateful for your power-full poetic dance words that resonate in my soul today, with all that continues to unfold and reveal itself."