The Place HTML version
speed up. The small streams that ran along the path coming in were now four feet wide and a foot deep going
out. It took me an hour to get to the car and load up the teepee. I was exhausted and hungry. I had stopped just a
few times during the day to eat some trail mix, so my blood sugar was down. After warming myself in the car, I
began the walk back to get the rest of my gear. By the time I retrieved everything and loaded it in the car, it was
ten o’clock at night. I was cold as hell and soaking wet, but I knew I was going to be all right.
While I sat in the car getting warm, I remembered the saying, “It’s not the destination, but the journey.” For
the first time in my life, I truly understood its meaning. I felt I had accomplished everything I set out to do
perhaps even a bit more.
I called Beverly from the first phone booth I could find to let her know I was on my way home. I told her
briefly what happened, and she instructed me to come by her apartment as soon as I returned to town. She said
she would wait up for me.
I told her that wasn’t necessary since I wouldn’t be getting in until midnight, but she insisted.
When I got to her apartment some two hours later, I was still soaking wetwarmer, but still soaked. Some
things just don’t dry quickly, others, not at all.
“Do you have any dry clothes?” she asked, as she showed me the bathroom and instructed me to get in the
“I think everything’s pretty soaked,” I replied.
“Where are the keys to your house?” she asked.
“Inside my jeans pocket,” I answered.
“Listen,” she began, “Crystal is asleep, so I’m going to run over to your house and get you some warm
clothes. You can’t wear any of these clothes home. Just leave them here and I’ll wash them for you tomorrow.”
I thanked her for being such a wonderful friend, then I turned on the hot water and closed the shower curtain.
I stood there for forty-five minutes waiting for the water to turn cold, but it never did. I emerged from the
shower looking like a prune.
Beverly had laid out my clothes, and for the first time in twenty-four hours, I felt warm again. I was never
more grateful to anyone than I was for Beverly that night. As I thought back to just how cold and miserable I
was, things could have been a lot worse.
Beverly would come to my rescue more than once in my lifetime, and I would welcome her help each and
every time. She truly was the angel I always knew I would find.
Chapter Nine: Meeting Eagle Man
Some things are foretold!
Beverly and I had become more than best friends. We often talked about spending our lives together. It was
simply a matter of time before we began making plans for our wedding. I was extremely happy, and so was she.
I think we both believed the quest to find that one special person had finally come to an end.
One Saturday afternoon Beverly and I were working on a jigsaw puzzle, when I accidentally received a piece
of mail that was addressed to my next-door neighbor. The outside of the brochure referred to a seminar that
would be held in the woods of Western Massachusetts, in a beautiful place near the Mohawk State Forest. As I
continued to read, it mentioned that Ed McGaa, Eagle Man, was holding a seminar entitled “Mother Earth
Spirituality.” It would take place in the spring, about two months away.
I couldn’t believe it. After receiving the book from the woman at the pow-wow and having read it a dozen
times or more, here was an opportunity to meet the person who inspired me to do my vision quest. Ed is a
remarkable man. He had been a lawyer, a captain in the Marine Corps, and a jet fighter pilot who flew over 140
sorties in Vietnam. He is the author of more than eight books, several of which are required reading at various
universities across the country. Ed grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation after leaving the Indian schools he
was forced to attend as a boy.