As I type this we are leaving Wallace, Idaho where we stayed overnight at the Wallace Inn after a day of travel from Seattle on our way to Yellowstone National Park and event A Walk on the Wild Side at Earthfire Institute in Driggs, Idaho.
Wallace is a lovely town with an interesting history of 125 years of silver mining and is famous as the “Silver Capital of the World.” In 1910 almost the entire town burned to the ground in the worst forest fire in U.S. history. As I recall the town played the tragedy card well, campaigning hard to get the downtown certified, and today it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
We stumbled on the town during last year’s return journey from Earthfire. It was close to midnight, and I was very tired (it’s my only excuse for what happened next).
I love historic buildings in small towns. I spotted a likely looking candidate on the corner of the main street and convinced Debbie we should check-in for the night. What she called seedy I felt was charming ambience.
The charm took a dent when we opened the door and encountered the aroma of cooking, dust and that difficult to define air of a down-at-the-heel place.
One of my character traits is stubbornness, which is sterling when I hit challenges but less so when it would be more prudent to reassess the situation.
Which is why I asked the waitress to find us the proprietor instead of leaving. When he appeared it was apparent he was about to turn in for the night himself. He obligingly checked us in, and we began unloading our stuff from the car.
The heat that greeted us when we opened the door to our room combined with the odor of stale air was very unpleasant. Apparently there was no air circulation at all and my efforts to open a window proved futile. Peeking out the welded shut window I realized that we had ground floor access to a not very savory looking alley. Even if I could have opened the window I did not want to. I thought perhaps smudging would improve things, and that point I could have cared less if set off the fire alarm.
Smudging helped only marginally. Still determined to make the best of it, I began to set up for the night, unpacking my spirit allies.
It was the bed that was the last straw. Sitting on it I realized that it was u-shaped. Pulling back the cover revealed a hair on the pillow and stained sheets (at this point Debbie had laid towels down on her bed in order to sleep on top). And I discovered that the saggy mattress was the result of no supportive slats. Instead the mattress was resting on a rough wood pallet (the kind you ship things on)—there was no boxspring.
At this point I admitted defeat, and we repacked. With Debbie kindly only saying, “I told you so,” once, we slipped a note under the proprietor’s office door and made our way back to the car to resume our search for a place to rest our weary bones. And miracle of miracles, at 1:00 a.m., we found the Wallace Inn.
Located two blocks away from the horrific place we nicknamed “The Bates Motel,” the Wallace Inn seemed like an oasis. The energy was completely different (and I made mental note to let that be a lesson to me, no matter how tired I am I WILL pay attention in future to the energy and my intuition), the staff was friendly, and we gratefully made camp for the night.
You might be wondering why I am writing about an inn that was once part of the Best Western chain but is now independent.
Debbie and I discovered we really liked Wallace and the Wallace Inn, so much so that this year we made reservations for an overnight stay on our travels to and from Earthfire. We also requested the same room, #110, which overlooks a beautiful grassy area with a hillside backdrop.
Last year I had a powerful experience in that grassy area. I was doing my morning tobacco prayers, and I felt one with all of nature. It was as though I could feel every tree, bird, leaf, and even the people traveling to their cars in the parking lot.
As I turned toward the mountains and the direction of the North I could feel the love and approval of the spirits and the Ancestors for the work that we had done, and I was deeply touched. With tears in my eyes I offered gratitude for the moment.
At the time I thought it was simply the afterglow from the powerful experiences during the workshop, but during this morning’s tobacco prayers I began to sway as soon as I began. And the swaying increased the further I got into the prayers.
There was so much energy I was actually a little dizzy when I finished. Apparently there is some kind of natural earth energy on the site because my query of the front desk revealed that there had been a farm and commercial establishments including a brewery, but no historic record of anything ceremonial.
We will be staying in Room 110 on our return this year from Earthfire, so I will have another opportunity to experience the energy during morning tobacco prayers.
For today, I am grateful once again for Spirit’s guidance. Today it is clear to me that our journey—where we sleep and how we greet the day—is just as important as the ceremonies will be when we reach our destinations.
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Think Outside the Cage
Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is a mesa carrier in the Peruvian shamanic tradition. In addition she is also a Reiki Master Teacher, animal communicator, author of the acclaimed book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism, and creator of Animal and Reiki Art. As an animal shaman, she views her role as a healer as one of building bridges between people and animals, and of empowering them to reconnect with Pachamama, Mother Earth.
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