As the sun meets the crest of the crater’s ridge, I stand and continue along the trail. Few steps from where I sat, there is a path out of the cavity. It is a large crack in the wall, maybe four people wide. It opens to a lush forest. I think of the desert I traveled to get here. The contrast between the two worlds is hard to fathom. The stark white and cream of the plane felt like death. It felt like the moment when there is truly nothing left. This vision of rain forest represents everything that is life. The landscape before me is varying shades of pale green, nothing dark, no evergreen. The trees are aspen, and light moss covers the trail. Along each side of the path, fern grows in abundance, pouring into meadows of yellow-green grass. Everything is bright, and dare I use the word cheerful here. I am momentarily stunned by the change. I find this place brings me joy, and I wonder what it could represent in this man.
Walking from the canyon into a beautiful canopy of trees, I feel as if I’ve stepped into true bliss. I do not move far from the crater before I feel engulfed by peace and tranquility. It is as if the crater never existed. Here, I begin my work.
First, I dig a pit and pray while I build a fire. I express gratitude when it comes to life. I lay the lava stones I gathered from the crater in the center of the fire. I then gather willow branches and make a frame that I cover with large fern prawns. Finally, I lay bark from a felled tree over the prawns until the lodge is enclosed. I dig a small pit in the center of the lodge. I then carry the rocks from the fire to the hole to it. Just as the sun sets, I hang my poncho as a door, and I begin to sweat and pray.
I emerge from the lodge just after midnight. After emerging, I slowly dismantle the lodge, using the bark and the fern and eventually the willow to keep the fire pit alive. It all burns, and while it burns, I sit, and I wait.
Just as the morning star meets the horizon, I hear a rustling in the forest. I do not consciously recall my prayers, but I know this rustling in the forest is in answer to them. My limited mind is a bit unnerved by the thought of something coming to me with the morning star. Still, the prayer in me knows I have acquired a power given to me during that last vision quest, a power that will serve me well. I have called upon assistance or answers or a confrontation. Whatever it is, I am ready for it.