Sunday, July 19, 2009

Snake's and Snail's and Puppy Dog Tail's in the Sacred Grove

In the early 90's I went on a Church History Trip for the Youth, we visited almost every site there was except for Hauns Mill. (I didn't go there until 98) The pic is me and friends in Nauvoo behind the visitor center.

We went east and up through Michigan and into Canada, eh. Then to Niagara Falls and we camped next to Lake Huron. (well my journal says Huron but I don't know how it wasn't Ontario) It was wide big area with some good pines, that we had mostly to ourselves (ourselves being probably 120 people, kids and chaperone's) I remember my chaperon Louis, telling me that I had placed my tent to far away from the others and to come closer. After I had a great spot picked out and everything set up nice and tight.

The next day we went to the Hill Cumorah. It's steeper than I had initially imagined, now imagine pickets and palisades for defense upon it. I can't help but think about the History of every place I go. (Obviously I don't go in for that 2 Cumorah's nonsense)

We had the little tour and movie in the visitor center but I wanted out. Unless ya got ax-blades and arrowheads and other implements of war and archeology (which they don't) I don't wanna spend time in the visitor center. We went up the hill, took lots of pictures-might have had an early-morning fireside (what would be the proper name for that?) Then I went off by myself to investigate the hill and woods surrounding, to get a feel for the place. I was trying to be open to the spirit, whatever I could find.

Yes I wanted to find an arrowhead.

I never found anything, but made my way eventually back down the hill to just behind the visitor center and the gazebo. I met a friend there ( a girl) and we started talking about life and what not, nothing too terribly important and the spirit told me something. I had been wanting to learn something about the Cumorah, some insight to that great battle, that loss and instead---The Spirit told me about my friend. She was pregnant. A month or so. There is no way I could have known this but that the Spirit told me.

My first thought was, I'm not going to ask her if that is true, what I had just been told, but what is the deal here? I can't remember exactly everything that was said, but in my uncouth barbaric fashion I think I must have hinted that I knew. She looked at me and asked if I really thought I knew something about her and what would it be. So expecting a slap and how dare I assume such things, she admitted it.

I was flabbergasted. I could not have known but what was whispered to me on the bottom of Cumorah. She was afraid her family would disown her as soon as they found out, the male (I use the term loosely here) was the only other who knew and had rejected her-he was back in Utah and at least not there.

I told her I would be a friend and do what little I could to help her. Really all I could do was be moral support but its something. She was a popular girl and lots of guys on the trip liked her and wanted something more. I made it my business to keep them away. At the time, I think she hoped I would claim her and take care of her and I feared that was why the Spirit had told me in the first place. What IF that was supposed to be a duty of mine. Why else would the Spirit whisper something like that to me? But to give me a charge, an obligation?

Making our way to the Smith farm and homestead we had lunch and then went to walk the Sacred Grove area. I was still deep in thought over the previous revelation and went off by myself. I pondered what we do with the knowledge we are given. I thought about Joseph and why he went to where I was at, right at that moment. I thoughtabout dark forces that would seek to keep you at a standstill, forces that would make a girl from a loving, caring home so worried that she would be rejected.

I was a good long ways off from the group, thinking of heavy boots tromping through the leaves and brush (that Joseph heard) when I stepped upon a long brown hose. The snake hissed angry and mouth agape, recoiled its head back. I could see the fangs, and it struck.
Did I mention I wear big old biker boots? Cuz I do. The boots saved me, tennis shoes like everybody else and I would have been a feeling it, but my boots didn't so much as quiver. I stood there a moment, my boot down upon the snake and related it to how

I must control the events/problems in my own life-with assistance. I could not have done that without a steel-toed, heavy leather biker boot. My own modern armor. I let the snake go, chuckling to myself that a snake in the Sacred Grove tried to bite me. Of course I had stepped on him first but you never know when other problems will slither under your feet.

I prayed in the grove and made peace that I was to be a good friend to the girl, nothing more. That's all that was needed. Her family did not reject her and she eventually married a good man that took care of her. She had a little boy-hence this posts title.

This is one of those times when I start to write and it goes in a completly different direction than I had planned. Hope thats alright with y'all.


Angie said...

That was a great story. Thanks!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

What a beautiful post, David! Thanks for sharing!

That poor girl.

Probably a copperhead. Funny thing about them is they don't move when you approach and usually get stepped on. That's when they bite.

Nichole Giles said...

Oh, oh, so you were inspired to be a biker-boot wearing guy! I see. And...well, they're just cool and inspiring, right?

That was a beautiful story, and you are a good friend to help that young lady have courage.

By the way, that picture is a scary looking snake. I hope that's not the one that bit you.

David J. West said...

That was not the snake that bit at me. I don't have a pic of that one. The pic was just a dramtaic flair for the end. It was a python in florida that attacked an electric fence . . . died.

Poor dumb snake.

Melanie Goldmund said...

That was a cool story. It's true that problems just slither under your feet when you're not looking, but if you're prepared with your spiritual hiker/biker boots, you can survive.

I wish I had cool stories like that. Well, not the snake part, perhaps, but getting inspiration and being able to help somebody.

Abagale said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


David J. West said...

Thanks all, and Betty, can I ask how you found me?