A website out of the U.K., zenmoments.org, has recently posted the now well-traveled story of my experience as a cab driver, when I picked up an old woman who was on her way to a hospice. It has reached number one on a number of websites as a result.
I am thrilled when my ordinary life offers up an extraordinary moment that brings some solace or insight or enjoyment to others, and such has been the good fortune of that moment in the late 1980’s when I was driving the “dog shift” in Minneapolis, Minnesota. What is noteworthy about that moment, beyond it’s poignancy, is that I did not create it; I merely experienced it and let it unfold.
Life gives us all such moments — I call them “Blue Moments” (See Letters to My Son for an explanation) — where a brilliant light shines through the ordinary moments in our ordinary days. They come unsolicited and unannounced, and provide us the gift of significance and, if we are lucky, the opportunity to serve.
What it is important is to remember that these ARE gifts, and that we cannot receive them if we are not open to them. We need to listen closely, watch closely, and take care not to rush past or through them when they arrive. They are the fabric of our lives, and they will weave themselves with complexity and beauty if we give them time to do so.
I bring this up because I’d like to make you two offers — one big and one small. The small one first: If any of you would like to read the original piece, unmodified and in the context in which it was written, I would like to offer you the opportunity to buy a signed copy of Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace: Living in the Spirit of the Prayer of St. Francis. It is one of my lesser known books, but one of my favorites. In it, I tried to write an extended meditation on each of the lines of Francis’ famous prayer and to illuminate them with stories from my life and the lives of others. The cab ride story is one of those.
The second offer — the big one — is made to all of you, but especially you readers in the U.K. I will be in the U.K. next spring. The exact dates are not yet set, but they will likely occur in April and early May. If you would like to have me come to speak to any group of yours, please contact me and we can try to make the arrangements. The same holds true for any group anywhere in America. I enjoy going out to speak because it allows me to meet my readers. It also allows me to share some of the stories and insights that my journey through life’s “blue moments” has offered.
So, thank you again for your continued interest in my work. I will keep trying to earn your trust by doing my best in everything I write. It is the least I can do to honor the faith you have shown in me.
Most of you know Neither Wolf nor Dog, my “literary child” that has drawn the most attention of any of my books over the years. Few of you know To Walk the Red Road, the collection of Red Lake tribal members’ memories that set in motion the events that resulted in the writing of Neither Wolf nor Dog.
This is because To Walk the Red Road was done as a reservation project and was published only locally, and in very small numbers. But its effect was huge. The photos it contained and the way it gave voice to the tribal elders caught Dan’s attention and resulted in him inspiring me to write Neither Wolf nor Dog.
I’ve always felt that to really understand Neither Wolf nor Dog it is important to see the photos and hear the authentic, heartfelt voices of To Walk the Red Road. But up until now that opportunity has never been available.
Now, for a short moment, that opportunity is here, and I’m excited to be able to offer it to you for this holiday season. The Red Lake School Board has authorized me to do a limited reprint of To Walk the Red Road, and these are now available. My sisters at wolfnordog.com have packaged an autographed copy of To Walk the Red Road with an autographed copy of Neither Wolf nor Dog and are offering them at a special holiday price of $34.95. They have told me that they will do free gift wrapping and work out special gift boxes if you so desire. You need only to go to their website, wolfnordog.com, to place an order or to find out more.
I know that a lot of you have asked about To Walk the Red Road over they years, since it figures so prominently in the story of Neither Wolf nor Dog. It has always been a frustration to me that I could not help you find copies. Now I can, at least for as long as the few hundred we have printed last. I think the book by itself is a wonderful accomplishment, because it gives you a glimpse, through photos and memories, into one of the few closed reservations in the country and a place that has been in the news for all the wrong reasons for the last several years. If you want to see what it was like to grow up on a reservation, and to hear the stories as the elders told them to the children, To Walk the Red Road offers you the rare opportunity to do so.
I hope this posting gets to those of you who have asked over the years, as well as to those of you who would find this pairing of books to be something valuable to own or give. I don’t keep track of the numbers of remaining books, so I can’t guarantee how long this pairing will be available. But, for now, we have them.
Click here to go to wolfnordog.com to order your own copies.