Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rainbow after relief...

For those that don't know me, I am a Rainbow Warrior, and try to live my life learning and leading. Many would call me a hippie, I say, wrong generation, that was my mom. I'm more of a bohemian, redneck, gypsy...In other words, I'm a wandering funny looking artist who's not afraid to spit in a crowd...Well, I'm going to begin my story back a lot two years ago, just after my birthday...Two days after one of the best birthdays I've ever had, Hurricane Katrina hit, and hit hard...For days I cried and agonized over the helplessness I felt, at which point I began signing up for taking in families, and going down to help, but every deadline for me to be contacted, came and passed...Finally in the beginning of October I began hearing of fellow Rainbow family/warriors that had come down and began a relief kitchen, I knew the great spirit had kept me back for some reason, and this was it. I would be doing more than passing out towels or tooth brushes, not that that wasn't important too, but I had a skill that could truly make a difference...I could cook...and well...For years I have traveled across this great land and in our travels, have come across many down and out, and have fed the homeless for years, not to mention, kitchens we've run in many of rainbow gatherings...I have cooked and fed almost a thousand people alone, so I knew I could go down and throw down...Well after some fan dangling I managed to get two friends to join me, one of whom was donating a car and fund the journey... So for two whole weeks, I packed up and left my family to go live in a tent and feed and give a hand to so many that had lost so much...I knew before I left, that my life would never be the same...Boy how little did I know...My first four days, it took everything I had not to cry continually, for all that was lost...I had stepped out of America and into a shattered third world country...There are not enough words to explain the pure devastation...I landed at ground zero Katrina, and it looked like a giant child had thrown a fit in it's toy box, and left nothing but broken Lincoln logs and pixie sticks...At a certain point I began to be aware how no one felt they could smile...So that soon became my next task...Make 'em smile...So as I cooked all day, I played most the night...Getting people up and dancing,laughing...telling jokes, and dressing funny..what ever it took to make them realize that there would be a time again that it would be ok, to feel ok...By the time I returned home, we were already planning to return as a family...It took just over a month to pack up and slim down...what we couldn't carry, we gave away...So our journey began...Leaving Indiana in an ice storm...After helping set up another relief kitchen in Chalmette, we returned to Mississippi, to begin our non-profit organization called, Camp Second Helpin'...A relief family community center, per say...We were open to public for twelve hours a day, seven days a week serving two hot meals a day to public, plus we housed volunteers going down to help with the rebuilding...I won't go into what all we offered, you can goggle us if you'd like to read more about the project...Needless to say...We ran successfully for eight months serving with honor those that needed an extra hand as they found their feet and began rebuilding their lives...An honor, I can find no words to express that I have been given the gift of spice...the gift of teaching my children to reach out and help other, even when they can't yet help themselves...the gift of sorrow, for that will never fade...the gift of life as I watch the land be reborn...the gift of the many faces I've made smile, and the stomachs filled...the gift of community...I could continue, the list is endless, but then it would take us away from the path I'm recalling...After the doors closed and all of our money spent, we found ourselves in a rut, a depression per say...What next, we knew not, and so we sat...Taking the winter to sleep the hours we missed for so long, and hunkering down and basically shutting house...Well as the weather warmed and July grew near, I began to get a feeling...there was somewhere I was suppose to go, something I had to do...Then a friend came over, a local young man of seventeen that had worked with us for two months, and invited me to the gathering, and it instantly clicked...that was it...Two days before we were due to leave his engine went south and we had to scramble to prepare ours for the journey to the mountains of Arkansas...Ron had to stay home and finish a job, and tend our animals, so it was just me and four kids...10, 12,14,& 17 off on a 15 hour road trip...We chased the rain and it chased us, the whole way there, but at sunset there appeared a double rainbow and the most spectacular sunset treating us as twilight began to set in...After a blow out and a few other unexpected items we pulled into the gathering with sixteen cents to my name...but it was all good, cause I had a half a tank of gas, and it was a down hill trip to the closest walmart where I could pick up the money Ron had wired to me...And I was HOME..so no sweat...We had no problems with the police like many others, and it only took little bitty ole hundred pound me to get four kids, and almost four hundred pounds of gear and drum, up and down a muddy mountain four miles into Kiddie Village...Where I managed to set up our camp good enough that after a week of rain, that we were still dry inside...Unfortunately, our buddy didn't have to same luck and discovered the rainbow moat many a morning...After trudging after the kids for a week in the rain and mud, I knew that I could go on to do whatever I put my mind to...I now see which path to take...Many blessings came our way while we were there, but my greatest gift was the gift of humility...There were people I'd met that had been following our work, and people that remembered me for music I've sung, and people I worked with my first time down, and even many of the people that came down and worked with us...I've realized that no matter how big, or little we think our world is...we can still make a difference in so many ways...I am so greatful that I was given such an chance to give...to know pure joy through the eyes of those I meet...I didn't feel puffed up and hot shit, because of the recognition, but humbled, and blessed, that somehow I mattered...Something I'd felt I'd lost after we closed down camp...Just as we choose the right path, we are sent many test, and trials, and I am now sure I'm strong enough to stand whatever comes my way...So I began my journey on rainbow relief, and found relief in rainbow...What blessings have been shared with me...

1 comment:

jonathan said...

Hi! I'm really glad to have found your post about Circus James. I met him last spring and we had a great conversation outside a coffee shop in Bton. I'd like to get in touch with him--I'm a student journalist and want to talk to him about a story idea. Would you pass this along to him? Or, better yet, tell me where/how I can reach him? You can find me at jhiskes{at}gmail{dot}com. I'd be quite grateful if you could help me out. Thanks and peace.