Here’s What I Think About

Lights In the Distance. . .

Walks’ Outdate – 82 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

Someone once asked me, “So Walks, what are you going to do when you get out?” Man, what kind of question is that? I want to do everything I have been planning! I want to go back to school in order to get certified to counsel, but I really don’t know how much I will have to do or what it will take. I know my credentials are impeccable if you’re going on life experience but somehow I think there is more to it than just going out and applying for jobs as a substance abuse specialist or counselor or a juvenile counselor. I’ve got a feeling I’m going to be spending a lot of time in school or on the computer studying “on-line.” We will see. When I get home I’ll go out to the college where they will think I’m someone’s grampa.

I also want to get a new line of “rocks on a string” started. I want to do some religious jewelry like super nice rosary’s and nice necklaces with various crosses or religious pendants. I think there would be a market for them. So on that I will see as well. I was just telling “Sings Many Songs” on the phone earlier that I had an idea to put up flyers wherever they had a bulletin board, like in grocery stores, laundromats and such offering custom made birthstone jewelry and other jewelry. Heck, I might even try selling online in order to help me obtain a used car, maybe offer custom made one of a kind pieces of jewelry for every donation or a pair of free pearl earrings with every purchase over $20.00. Sounds like a pretty good idea to me, but I don’t know. I’ve been away for so long that I have no idea how the world works now.

And… I want to do all of these things:

I wanna go swimming and do a cannon ball. I know it sounds silly but hey, I wanna so I will and I know just the places to do it.

I wanna maybe join a band or just have some friends to jam with, I miss the music. I’m sure I could go to a church and sing my way into a choir or a gospel band but it’s not the same thing as good rockin’ music. Man, I’m gonna be in big boy heaven when I get that!

I know I want to go out somewhere for a meal and I long to hear some nice person ask, “May I take my order?”

I want a deep dish pizza with extra cheese, black olives, sausage and pepperoni.

I want an ice-cold glass of iced tea, no sugar, and I want to have more if I want more.

I want to be able to go to the Goodwill thrift store and buy clothes – anything but gray or khaki. lol.

I want to just be able to walk outside or sit outside and daydream, in freedom, without someone breathing down my neck to get inside or whatever.

I want to go to the library and get a library card, check out books, or listen to a book on tapes. I guess they are audio books, I’ve never done that, and I do so love a good story.

I want to go to the park and feed the ducks and maybe have a picnic there, even if it’s by myself.

I also think about taking my pipe to the park and having a pipe ceremony. I know I can do a pipe ceremony almost anywhere, but I like the idea of having one outside where the ancestors may have roamed. That would be amazing to me.

I want to see animals and maybe pet a dog or a cat. I love animals but outside of the occasional scruffy prison cat or the dope-sniffing K-9’s they bring in here, I never see one in real life.

One thing I think I will enjoy most of all is just the freedom to do what I want when I want to. If I want leftover pizza at 3am, I would be able to go to the refrigerator and have it.

And another thing, I wanna just sit with the door open, knowing I’m not being locked away from the world anymore unless I choose to close and lock the door.

If I want to walk around my own house in my boxers, I don’t want to have to feel uncomfortable for having done so.

So there it is, just a few things I think about that you probably take for granted; these things may sound silly to you but to me they mean freedom…

Published by Edna Peirce Dixon

I am an elder well into my eighties. I have lived an ordinary life doing all the ordinary things expected of women of my generation. But through it all, 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. A registered nurse by profession, I have long had a strong interest in writing and genealogy with a special interest in Southeastern Creek Indian history and culture. In my golden years, just when I was thinking “retirement,” some unexpected things happened that led me down a totally unfamiliar path. I’ve since learned it took a lifetime of experiences to prepare me for the challenges to come. My journey – indeed my calling – led me to a remarkable man, a Mvskoke & Ani-yun-wiya known as Ghost Dancer, hidden away for decades behind bars in state and federal prisons. Communicating daily by e-mail for the next nine years I had the opportunity to walk many paths with Ghost Dancer discussing many common interests with candor and respect. Most remarkable to me was Ghost’s absolute dedication to his spiritual leadership role within the Native population. With loving kindness at all times, Ghost shared many of his teachings, including lessons from within the sacred sweat lodge. A full index to Ghost's shared teachings can be found at GHOST DANCER'S SACRED PATH. Over time, Ghost gradually revealed his personal life story in small bits, like pieces of some gigantic puzzle. Now with his health a shambles, Ghost Dancer is at last free and has begun putting those pieces together; he wants the world to know the whole truth of his amazing personal journey in the chapters of his book in progress, ALL FOR THE RIGHT TO PRAY. As his friend and editor on JOURNEYS OF THE SPIRIT, I can say this is indeed a story so big that even after these many years, I continue to be astonished as Ghost reveals new details of his solitary walk on the Nene Cate (Red Road). From the day he was born, a happy, loving, gifted child, he felt a strong bond with his cultural heritage in a world where family loyalty was a sacred trust and Native roots were kept secret. As a result the callow youth endured many heartbreaking sorrows, betrayals and exploitations. As a young teen, Ghost heeded the call to learn from the great Native spiritual leaders gathered at Wounded Knee. The influence of the elders and spiritual leaders on his young mind was profound but the political conflicts of the moment ultimately cast this loyal young boy as a target of a system determined to destroy him by any means. For the next 40 years in and out of prison, Ghost would struggle to remain true to his calling both as a teacher and an activist fighting for the religious rights of Native Americans. (Note: Currently Ghost is focused on things he must do to regain his health and has put writing the final chapters about the the wrongful convictions that put him in federal prison for the past 28 years on hold. He still has dreams for the future so he will be back!) Ghost Dancer would later introduce me to Walks On The Grass, one of his spiritual brothers and another federal prisoner. Walks’ story on JOURNEYS OF THE SPIRIT is totally compelling, though very different. In LONG ROAD HOME, Walks has shared his decades-long spiritual journey from deep addiction to wholeness. He follows up with ALONG THE WAY and finally, LIGHTS IN THE DISTANCE as he prepares emotionally and mentally to transition to life outside after 37 years of incarceration.

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