On Saturday, October 18, the hints of yellow and red on the trees under bright blue skies coaxed me to the craggy ridgetops of Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. Aside from my usual water-bottle-belt and digital camera, I carried my small hand drum wrapped in a sarong. Under the gentle warmth of the autumn sun, I stepped briskly up the rocky path up to Little Kennessaw Mountain.
My heart pounded as I unpacked my drum, wrapped up in my sarong, and danced on French’s Rock. Though I often feel discomfort with my body during the week, when drumming and praying before the Goddess, I felt I had been made perfectly. A song I’ve been composing on my mountaintop devotionals illustrate the feeling of complete acceptance:
Mother Queen of the Eastern Mountains,
One who loves peoples cast out and lost
From the farthest lands you invite us
Last are first at your table’s feast!
As I sang and prayed, I reflected on the past struggle here on this mountain between my ancestors of both North and South. Was the United States to be a nation of equality or a nation of feudalism? A nation populated entirely of free people or a nation with a portion of its people degraded to slavery? This struggle continues to the present, fought not by rifle and cannon, but by news media and street demonstrations. Today, just as during the 1860s, the supporters of slavery have the financial advantage, whereas those who struggle against slavery have the advantage of population.
I then meditated on and drummed to lyrics of a song I had originally composed thirteen years ago on the Bridger Mountains of Montana:
Past stony, spiny cliffs the winds
voice thanks through pine-tree boughs.
Their rain-beads dropped from verdant pins
a primal rhythm sound.
Yet when the winter falls at last,
entombs in snow and ice,
enduring mossy soils profess
their new, green life will rise.
Seemingly on cue, around noon, a family of Red-Tailed Hawks came gliding and diving along the updrafts off the ridgetop. As hawks are sacred to the Goddess Cybele, these graceful gliding creatures hinted that my singing and drumming were appreciated.
As the family of hawks soared farther away from the mountaintop, I packed up and continued on to Big Kennesaw Mountain and the visitor center. I jogged up Kennesaw Mountain Drive on the return trip, but the splashes of color on the roadside and slopes caused me to stop and snap photos.