So Little

Light In the Distance…

OUTDATE – 186 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

OK, I’ve been thinking. Yeah, I know that’s dangerous and I ain’t supposed to do it on my own but there is just so much to think about and so few that I wish to share the endeavor with that I sometimes just go forth alone into the wilds…again, my brain, scary place. But back to whatever… I sat in the cell last night after watching Gold Rush on TV, just waiting on the cop to lock the door, and I got to looking around at all my “junk,” clothes and bowls and this and that, and it led me to thinking, man, I don’t need all this crap, which of course led me to thinking about what I will and won’t need when I get “home,” whatever that is. It sure won’t be all the material things that one would think of.  My needs are going to be minimal for the first year at the halfway house. I’ll need a phone, some clothes and a laptop for school and writing and merchandising or ordering materials for my business, “Rocks on a String” earth jewelry.

So there it is. I believe I’m going to need a vehicle, but that is such a big cost, especially with the way things are these days, so I don’t even know how that’s gonna ever happen for me. I would have to buy insurance and fuel, so whatever happens it doesn’t look good for my lowest of the low budget. But I digress. I love using that word, makes me seem smart. Smile. So I was at what I need. Now my wants, shoot, that’s a whole different creature but I have gotten to the point where truth be told my “wants” are pretty much my needs.  

Why? Well 2 reasons: First, I just don’t need all the top of the line, state of the art wisecrack gizmo’s. All I need is utilitarian and functionable because I don’t got a clue how to use all that stuff anyway. I have never touched a cell phone before, and don’t know how to get “on line” with a laptop let alone do all the cool things that only time and patience and s.l.o.w.i.n.g. d.o.w.n. will allow me to learn. By the end of my first year I ought to be able to be past the ID-10-T error stage (that is so hilarious).  The 2nd reason is because I don’t got no money for all the top of the line gimcracky, whiz-bang devices.

So there it is, and on that note I will go on to say that the kind chapel lady came to the unit and announced religious services. She yelled for me and asked if I wanted to have a service? I was shocked. I had forgotten that the Native slot for this block was on Friday evening. So I said yes! Let me get my coat!  I grabbed my coat and my pipe bag, and off we went.  I’m the only Native in my block, so I was the only one to go. All the others are back down in the Unicor unit and since I no longer slave for Unicor, I went to my first pipe ceremony alone. The lady asked me if I would be able to have a service by myself and it dawned on me – another A-ha moment – in order to get closer to the Creator, all I need is me and my pipe, a hand drum and a smudge. Man, it was amazing. I was able to smudge my pipe and myself, to purify after the move and the lockdown. I was able to smudge and purify the group’s drum as well. So even though it would have been good to share the ceremony with my brothers the Creator would still be with me and hear my prayers.

I know I have my own drum and an abalone shell and some sage waiting for me at Sings Many Songs’ house, so when I get “home” I will actually have everything I NEED to hold my own ceremonies, even if there is no one around to sing and pray with me. All the rest of those other “things” won’t matter, as long as I can remember to relax, keep my prayers strong and my heart good, all the rest will come along if and when it needs to. Yeppers, gotta get to the meat of it all, the heart of the matter. I have learned to live in a space only slightly larger than a bathroom, with a minimum of stuff to use and live, so what do I really want?  Pretty much my pipe, my drum, a smudge, my songs and prayers and the love and understanding of the Creator. I will rely on the Creator’ strength to navigate a new world and a whole new adventure. What do I need? The Creators’ help in getting by and getting my life together. See, as we all know by now, I was born broken, but I’m still trusting in the fix… and that requires… so little…

                            What You Need

Do you know what you need
Or where to go 
Or how to plant the seeds
It’s just a matter of less is more...

Will you have what it takes
Will you make the moves
Shake the breaks,
It’s just a matter of less is more...

Can you make it
With what will work
Without the glitter or brand new perks,
It’s just a matter of less is more...

Remember to keep your strength,
Pray with all your heart,
And don’t try to finish  until you start,
It’s just a matter of less is more...

© Steven Walks On The Grass Maisenbacher, February 2022

Published by Edna Peirce Dixon

I am an elder in my 9th decade. I have lived an ordinary life, I’ve done all the ordinary and expected things, went to school, got married, raised a family, tried to be a good person. Throughout this life I have also been a seeker, an outsider by nature, always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. Then in my golden years, as I sought to find meaning in my existence, some unexpected things happened and I’ve since learned it took a lifetime to prepare me for the challenge to come. My journey – indeed my calling - led me to come to know a remarkable man who happened to be an inmate in federal prison. Nothing could have been more foreign to my personal experience. GHOST DANCER Communicating daily for nearly nine years I had the opportunity to walk many paths with Ghost discussing our thoughts on many common interests with candor and respect. With enormous generosity Ghost has allowed me to share his wisdom and knowledge of his Native American heritage on Journeys of the Spirit. Over time, Ghost gradually revealed his life story in small bits, like scrambled pieces of some gigantic puzzle. Now, after spending more than 40 years in prison, Ghost Dancer is at last free and ready to tell his amazing personal story. As the saying goes, “you can’t make this stuff up” and as his friend and editor I can say this is a story so big that even after working with him for nearly nine years, I continue to be astonished as he shares new details my mind simply could never imagine. From the very first chapter, Ghost leads us on his journey and invites us to walk with him on his Nene Cate (Red Road). From the day he was born, a happy, loving gifted child, he endured heartbreaking sorrows, betrayals and exploitations. Through it all, Ghost fought a system determined to destroy him by any means, as he struggled to remain true to his calling. Through Ghost Dancer I also met and came to know Walks On The Grass, another federal prisoner whose story is also compelling even though very different. In Journeys of the Spirit, Walks has shared his decades-long journey from deep addiction to wholeness in LONG ROAD HOME and shared other bits of his story in ALONG THE WAY. Now as he approaches his August release into this crazy world of 2022 Walks shares his the thoughts and misgivings as he counts down to the big day in LIGHTS IN THE DISTANCE.

One thought on “So Little

  1. 🌺The highest honor one can ever have in life is the privilege of walking with one who was so broken and lost, but has found his way back to Creator’s wholeness. Now just 6 months from release from a lifetime in prison, Walks On The Grass will be facing a strange, indifferent, even hostile world alone. I pray God will continue to keep him safe as he prepares himself physically, mentally and spiritually to deal with whatever comes and make a productive new life on his own.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: