HomePublicationsThe Tracker MagazineVol 4, No. 1, 1985

The Tracker Magazine - Vol 4 No. 1, 1985

Reflections on "Rendezvous '84"
by Jim Spina

I've just been thinking that it is too bad Tom Brown doesn't have more than one early reunion at the Tracker Farm. I am writing this almost two months later and I'm still exhilarated from meeting with all the wonderful people at the Rendezvous in July. The weather was beautiful after the initial "Baptism" on the first night, but looking around at all the happy faces on the second morning, one was hard put to find any dampened spirits. I have always looked forward to meeting all the brothers and sisters from past classes and this year was no different.

During the year I try to visit the Tracker Farm as much as possible, to assist with the instruction and meet the people in the classes. In doing this I find I learn more than I teach. It became quickly apparent to me that this year's reunion had the same effect on me. I have always felt badly about not being able to remember names. My assisting at the school has caused me no small amount of perplexity in this area. I meet and get to know too many good people for me to be able to connect all the names with all the faces. The rendezvous taught me that names are totally unimportant - all you have to do is remember a person's face and associate it with his heart. Once I learned that lesson I had no further problems living with my personal handicap. As the weekend progressed I found that I was relating to more and more people on a "heart" level. Where before I had met with people and compared lifestyles, jobs, families, etc., I now began looking beyond the casual surface talk and was able to see the true person. It allowed me to get very close to a whole lot of really good people and impressed me with all the honesty and compassion I found surrounding me. As a police officer I found this to be a heartwarming respite from an uncaring world. I was quite impressed, and wish thank you all for showing me another facet to life in our modern society.

I must admit that I came away from this year's rendezvous with a bit of a swelled head. During the weekend I found myself constantly being thanked by people I've taught during the year who appreciated my efforts. It made me feet that what I'm trying to do is very worthwhile and reassured me that it is important for me to continue. It was like a shot of "Geritol" to my tired circulatory system. For this, I wish to thank all of you again. You give me strength to go on and make my spirit soar.

Every year at Rendezvous time I make a solemn vow that I will set aside more time to practice my skills during the coming year. This vow usually comes after I see all the people exhibiting the craft items that they made with their skills. There were many craft items at this year's reunion and it was obvious that a good deal of serious thought and effort went into them. Seeing all this skill displayed made me feel a little better about my own lack of practice during the year as I realized that many of the crafts displayed were made with skills I helped to teach during the year. There can be no greater reward for a teacher than to see the fruits of his efforts in the flesh.

Tom's lecture on Saturday night was very powerful. He is right when he says we must practice our skills as much as possible. Skills are important - I see them as a back door approach to achieving harmony with the natural world. The more tedious or hard a skill is, the more it will help us to tune into the spirits of the materials and tools we are working with. Long hours of woodcarving, bone-work, stone chipping or leatherwork create a relaxed mood that clears our 20th century minds of all the Obstacles to our awareness. In discussing this with many of you during the year and at Rendezvous, it becomes apparent that the practical utilization of our skills goes far beyond the manufacture of quaint little trinkets. It serves to open the gates to that lost world of our tribal ancestors. It allows us to gain a stronger grasp of our roots. Strong roots are essential to learning and awareness. We, like the forest grapevine, must retain our roots as we wander in search of fertile fields. It is our subconscious need to find these roots that brings us all together at the Tracker Farm. All the races and shapes of men, on a quest to find that special place we know we've all been to before. A goal we all must attain before we can partake of the nourishment and strength only our roots can give.

Rendezvous '84 was a very special time for all of us who attended. We shared many priceless experiences together and came to know many special people. My special thanks goes out to all the dedicated people who gave of their time and talents to assure us of a fun weekend while we shared each other. I could begin to list the names of all the many brothers and sisters who come to mind as I write this, but I prefer to close with a few observances from the heart. My heart still can see all the help that was freely given to the folks who nearly drowned the night it rained; the mothers who came with the added burden of infant children; the people who shared their food and utensils, especially the ones who made sure I never went hungry; the ones who displayed their many craft items; the brother who fashioned a bow by hand, showing us all that it was easy even though he only had one arm; all of us who helped build the sweat lodge; the babysitters; the musicians; the instructors; our gracious hosts; and finally, all the young people who took an interest and participated - they are perhaps the most important memories I have for they represent the future, a future that would be nonexistent if we fail to educate our young.

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