Elder Circle

by Betty

Twas an enlightening week for an old weary lady. There I was like a lost stranger wandering in a foreign land.

Sixteen people sat in a large circle – fourteen women and two men. At a gentle ring of a single soft chime, all talking stopped – instantly. I sat wondering what the protocol was or would be.

The leader asked if anyone wanted to ask for help or make an announcement. I wasn’t sure what this question was, nor could I hear the very few replies or requests. I know not yet.

Then the leader passed a rod – beautiful, shiny wood rod – round like a pipe. One end had hanging a lovely beaded ribbon – a ribbon of beads. The opposite end had the soft white fluff of feathers. As you held the talking stick – that I learned, was its name, you could talk to share. No one interrupted, no one questioned, no one muttered an opinion. Each of we sixteen had our turn.

Then came the gentle chime, and all was still. Some folks looked at the table. Some folks looked at the ceiling. Some folks closed their eyes. In that quiet, people listened to what they heard.

Then that gentle bell chimed. The speaker spoke – you needed to be there to hear her weave her tales. She was fantastic – well worth listening to and to ponder about then and later.

The group broke into smaller circles – three or four. People shared, listened, and smiled as memories filled the mind.

Then that gentle chime, the passing of the walking stick where one could share or recall. No one interrupted. No one questioned. No one argued.

The gentle chime – and all was done. People were friendly. “See you again.” I hope so.

Twas called the Elder Circle, the wisdom journey from aging to elderly. That listening, truly listening, is key to all.

I was glad I’d wandered into that foreign land, as a lost stranger, and when I left, I no longer felt a stranger. Still a bit lost.


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