Ho Mitakuye Oyasin: We are All Related

So fellow travelers some of the best moments from the Bedlam Open House weekends are the spontaneous side trips and adventures shared with fellow “farmies.” Those are the times when relationships initiated in the on-line group are forged into genuine friendships.

During the open house last October,  Donna Bolls asked if I would like to come out to hike the quarry by Tom Atkins’s home where she was staying.  I loved the idea of spending some time with Donna but I was also really tired from what had been a very full weekend so far. Yet, something in me said “go.”  I am grateful I listened to that Inside Voice, something I am getting better at.

When we pulled in his driveway,  Tom emerged from his home, welcomed us warmly and offered to guide us along the quarry trail.  As we climbed the hill,


Tom told us of the history of the quarry and of the things he saw on and off the path

quarrybatcave edit

during the changing seasons.



All three of us carried cameras, so we stopped frequently to take shots of things that spoke to us


and , as is the way with the Bedlam Creatives, we captured images of each other.


It was a walk filled with beauty


and mystery


and the simple joy of friendship.


I remember Tom’s quiet comment of how he never tired of the view


I can see why.


Tom was at his father’s side this week when his father died.  Our group was with Tom in spirit during his vigil, posting our support as he shared his experiences through his moving poems and posts. One of our Bedlam friends was able to attend his father’s memorial service.   Donna is now walking the path of her father’s final days as well. I thought of our quarry hike as soon as I read her post. Two of my friends connected by shared life transitions, a reminder that in so many ways we are all related.


(note: the title phrase Ho Mitakuye Oyasin is a native american phrase originating from the Sioux but used widely by the tribes of the Iroquois Nation which live in Upstate New York.  It is used with the deepest respect for my teachers who guided me through a Vision Quest experience many years ago.)

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Deborah H Rahalski


  1. I just came across this post today, and even though separate in time and space from my own experience of losing my mother and a long journey of goodbye last year (2015), I can relate to the stories of loss here and your message of relatedness. It seems a number of us were going through major losses or transitions around the same time. I felt muted by the whole experience, but maybe will share at some point.

    1. The connections we have made within our creative group have been truly profound and they have held fast through the challenges. Its been wonderful to have the insights of others too as my husband and I face the process of coping with aging parents ourselves.

  2. I am grateful for my connection, however sporadic, to this group. It has planted seeds of relatedness and yearnings to create in new ways, that were dormant before. I like the way you connect with your reader as a “fellow traveler.” There is something freeing about that realization about our existence. I felt it strongly when on my 2300 mile road trip last year. Being on the road can enhance awareness that life is a journey, and a sense of relatedness to fellow travelers, on and off the road. Spending precious time with loved ones near the end of their lives creates a similar awareness of that shared journey. Nice photos and reflections.

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