The kind of people you meet while walking down the street is a series I’ll be hosting weekly on ordinary encounters with extraordinary people. These folks may be often or rather easily overlooked in todays bustling society, or perhaps always overlooked. They each graced me with their unique yet immeasurable magic and good-natured stories.
Zak was standing on the corner of 6th & Whiterock when we passed him by. He stood holding a sign made of cardboard and what appeared to be a walking staff made of the Yucca plant. The walking staff stood tall and from it hung beautiful feathers. His hair was long and dark, his presence mysterious and intriguing. It’s not everyday we see this in town. Colorful characters, yes, outsiders holding a message, no. In a 9 block town it’s not hard to pick out the passerby.
We circled the block, parked the car, and started to walk in Zak’s direction. As we were walking another person approached and we gathered in a semi-circle around Zak. He was welcoming and somewhat familiar. He said he wasn’t here asking for anything, anything but stones. Prayer stones to be exact. He said he was a stone mover, asked by an elder to carry on the tradition of gathering and moving others stones that overtime collected intentions, prayers, energy.
He spoke of his roots, of his travels, and of his purpose. He said from the time he was a child he felt very connected to rocks adding that many of us as children do. We pick them up, carry them around, perhaps paint them but we tend to lose touch with that as we grow older. Instinct or imagination, Zak left that up to us to ponder for ourselves. As a Chippewa Native he took great responsibility and felt largely honored by the mission asked of him.
His journey led him all over the United States and maybe even Canada. Zak trekked to the peaks of mountains in less than favorable weather and carried very little to NO gear whatsoever. He relied heavily on the communities he was in to lend him things he may have needed like snowshoes or skis sometimes even (ski) lift tickets or snowmobile rides with ski patrol. Towns like ours were easy for him, people are friendly and enjoy helping one another, from our conversation he didn’t have too hard a time making things work. The added challenge gifted him the opportunity to meet and speak with many different people something he valued deeply on his nomadic journey.
Zak was asked to move stones for 4 years and when we met him he was 4 months away from completing his chosen task. The other people who stood with us eventually left, they had no stones on them, but insisted on leaving money for Zak’s time and travel. He turned his attention to us and asked if we carried prayer stones. My husband went to the car and grabbed the katsina made for us by local shaman. My husband shook the katsina and two stones fell from its opening, one for each of us.
Zak held them, scanning and examining them through his spirit. He said they were full and like a flash drive, each stone was capable of only holding so much before it needed to be returned to its source, a reboot of sorts. He was led by energy and guided by his intuitive spirit. Each stone had its own destination and managed to escort him to its true north.
He asked us about the stones, we told him how we received them, and of their time with us. The local shaman gave them to us inside the uniquely crafted Katsina when we began our drive back east at 19. We had little money but were told to leave the stones alongside our tips and along the way. We were also instructed to leave them in places in need of a shift, that were stagnant or toxic. Zak recognized we too moved stones even if it was somewhat unintentional.
We parted ways, went down our separate paths, the intent filled stones, westward bound with Zak. We crossed paths because of stones and will be forever connected through the spirit of stones.
These are The Kind of People You Meet While Walking Down The Street….
What encounters have you had that influenced your life?
To read the first of this series click Here-Rosabelle Brown !
(Note: Zak’s photo seemed to go with the wind, could not find it anywhere)