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  • Photo by Superwebdeveloper

    At the Oregon State University campus, a Tribal Chief blessed the grounds of an auditorium as we sat on metal fold out chairs on the sidelines.  My eyes followed the wave of his hand and the smoke trails that lingered in the air as he chanted his blessing.  In the background, young Northwest Native American children dressed in moccasins and feathers prepared themselves for the ritual called Pow Wow. 
     
    After the blessing, the drum pounded away and the youngsters began to move in a circle raising their feet from the ground, arms moving up and down in all sorts of cool movements.  Everyone on the fold out chairs watched wide-eyed and listened wide-eared at the chanting and drums. 
     
    Suddenly, the children began to pull members from the audience out of their chairs in a gesture of participation.  It was funny to see all kinds of people clumsily attempting to join in the dance.  The children pulled more and more audience members into the circle until the entire audience became participants. 
     
    At first, I flushed in embarrassment with my awkward moves but slowly began to get in the rhythm of the beat.  After a few turns around the circle of dancers, my feet caught the beat of the drum, and after my feet came my breathe, then came the pounding of my heart and slowly everyones feet felt like unison to my feet. Then it seemed like everyone was moving in synch with the earth and the sky.  It was the coolest feeling. 
     
    We danced a long time and my body and mind never even noticed.  It was one of those things that come without explanation.  Marcela and I felt at peace for the first time in a long time. 
     
    The strangest thing, at the time, I worked for OSU and frequently spent time walking about the campus.  After the Pow Wow, I recognized some students that had attended the ceremony and we both smiled at each other in the most unexpected way.  It felt like we shared some kind of bond. 
     
    To this day, it makes me smile to think about it.   
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