Lorenzo, New Mexico & Rattlesnake

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I posted this a few days ago as a page by mistake instead of a post.

LORENZO

When I was living in New Mexico a few years ago I had the honor and privilege of meeting Lorenzo.

Lorenzo was one of the most powerful men I have ever met and I was thrilled when we became good friends. He was a chiropractor and a medicine man. I found out that he had been adopted into the Navajo, Ute and Apache tribes as a medicine man and a shaman. We hung out together when we could and just enjoyed being. We sat beside one another whenever we were in a sweat lodge together. No one but Lorenzo thought I could handle a sweat. His confidence in me has been such an important part of my life.

One time he and I took a trip to the village of Zuni in the Zuni Pueblo. We went to some shops and admired the stunning works of art, some of which were for sale. The Zuni are internationally famous for their fine artwork, inlay silver jewelry, magnificent pottery and stone “fetish” carvings. The fetish carvings were always my favorite.

Lorenzo and I were looking at the carvings in a cabinet and one  particular fetish caught – and held – our attention. He pointed to the small, exquisitely carved Rattlesnake that had us captivated. “That’s you, you know,” he said and walked off. I was taken aback. Snake is very powerful medicine in shamanic tradition. It is not something to be taken lightly. I didn’t know what to say or think.

A little while later I saw him at the cash register paying for something. I wondered what he had found, but didn’t ask and he didn’t say anything. When we got home, he took my hand and gently placed the Rattlesnake fetish into it. As he closed my hand around the small carving he said, “Use it wisely.”

Unfortunately after that wonderful day, we didn’t see each other again. A few months later he died. I was heartbroken when I heard the news. I did a ceremony to honor him and asked him to let me know he was ok. I didn’t know what I would do if he said he wasn’t ok, or how he would get a message to me, but I knew that somehow he would.

The next day I was taking a break from work and as usual, was sitting outside on the bench near the office door. I sat on that same bench every day and had done so for the past few years. An occasional lizard darting here and there was the only reptile I ever saw.

As I stared into the vast openness of the desert and moved into that place of no thought, out of the corner of my eye something moving on the sidewalk caught my attention. It was coming toward me and it was coming fast. I looked to see a two-foot long Rattlesnake heading right for my foot and I was wearing sandals! It was in front of me before I had a chance to panic. It stopped directly in front of me a few inches away from my foot, raised itself up and looked directly at me. I looked back. After a few seconds it lowered itself back down and crawled out of sight. It happened so fast I didn’t have time to think or panic or move. Instantly I knew it was from Lorenzo. I had never been in any danger of being harmed. It was his way letting me know he heard me and that he is indeed ok.

Thank you, Lorenzo for being part of my life.

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