Yesterday, I lost the conch you see here.
The occasion was the Thanksgiving sweat lodge, 2015. Standing on a buffalo robe, I joined other ceremonial conchs in connecting with the 8 directions. The sound of many blowing conchs lifted us into the domain of gratitude. The wind was blowing, gusting to 49 mph. The sky was blue. 30 of us linked and loved. A few minutes later, I reached for my conch, and it was gone. After the sweat lodge, I looked again.
Still, no conch. It couldn’t have disappeared into thin air. Someone had to have it, by mistake of course. I looked around to see who was the culprit.
As time passed, a tightness in my chest and tears in my eyes grew. I took a walk and thought of the story of this conch. According to my research, it was given to my great, great grandmother, a refugee from a Shawnee village brought to the strange country of Texas when Texas was an independent nation circa 1830’s. A local tribe likely gave it to her for ceremony. It had been passed down as a cherished relic, and I became the fifth generation carrier. I realized I would miss terribly the unique sound of this conch. It resonated with this web of eco-fields where I live in the Texas Hill Country. With it I joined 38,000 years of humans linking and healing with this particular variation of sounds. With its loss, I realized how important sound is, particular sounds to reach out of ourselves and become vibrations of our beautiful blue planet. With these sounds we become a morphic resonance, joining the ceremonies of untold generations of our species.
We looked everywhere, and could not find it. I looked in bags. Talked to most every one. Missed a good Thanksgiving meal and Lillie Rowden’s beautiful turkey. I suffered. Until Jane Jack Morales followed her intuition and suggested I look in Judith Yost’s bag. Judith is my beloved partner. Sure, enough. I had put it in her bag, not mine. Alas, I was the culprit.
We all laughed at my mistake. Lots to learn about mistakes. Human suffering. Momentary loss of awareness. A caring community.
But, the day after, I mainly relish and embrace the beauty of sound. The gift of the sound of this little shell. The creature who died to make it possible. And you for sharing this moment.