And then there was David by Jack Zimmerman

The Crossroads Council Program started almost 40 years ago with just seniors the first year.  In one of the circles I led there was a young man, call him “David,” who was silent week after week, just holding the stick briefly, silently and with an irritated expression on his face.  We were using a ceremonial rattle as the talking piece and everyone knew I treasured the beautifully carved Peruvian instrument.  One day just before the end of the semester, when the rattle made its way into his hands, he suddenly leapt to his feet, raised the rattle high over his head and began to bring his arm down as if to crush it on the floor.  My heart froze; my whole body contracted.  David stopped his arm’s descent just before the talking piece hit the concrete.  He looked at me fiercely, gave me a stern lecture on my attachment to the rattle while the rest of the circle sat in amazed silence wondering how I would react.  It was one of those magical moments; fortunately I realized that I had indeed transferred the true sacredness of the talking piece to a particular physical object.  I accepted his reflections which led to a profound conversation about the nature of sacred ceremony.  Two week later in our final council David spoke for only the second time all semester…We were amazed to listen to him give a cogent witness comment about each member of the circle, me included.  Coyote at its best!