Well, including today, there’s only two days left in the Julian calendar for 2013. Its that time of the year that people’s thoughts tend to turn two different ways: looking back on the past calendar year, and looking forward into the next calendar year. I will admit, I do that as well, just not with the outward fervor that you see from a lot of other folks. I can look back on the past year and see how life has changed over the course of 350+ days. I can also look forward and try to determine the best possible path to move forward along. The problem, for me, is that both are tinted with my own personal bias, and the way forward is further complicated by the tug and pull from the Gods over what is required to be done versus what I want to do. And I do not rightly know exactly what the required stuff is just yet, just some vague feeling that there is something coming along my personal event horizon that will need to be done. Yeah, one of the odd parts of being claimed by particular Gods – they tend to let you know what you need to know WHEN you need to know it. In the meantime, the best I can do is to follow my own Path, accomplishing my own wants/needs, until that part of my Path gets revealed.
Consider that its a lot like walking a path in a hilly mesa, and you see a bridge over a wide chasm far in the distance. You know you have to cross it, and you begin to mentally prepare yourself for that moment – but you have not consider the rest of the Path that is necessary to get you there. Who knows what comes before that point? But that’s a bit off the course for this particular post, so I will let that thought sit for the time being. Back to looking forwards and backwards…
When I started this calendar year, I was fairly certain of where I was headed in my life. My feet were on a Path of moving towards a position of being a History major for my third – and final – Masters degree program. I was getting myself prepared to move along that Pathway, gathering materials to me that would assist later along the line in my thesis studies. Along the time of late March/April, I felt that tap of the fingers of the Gods, pulling me towards another way of seeing the world around me. History was not the direction I was to be headed, it was a general direction but not the precise Path. During my trip to Glacier National Park this Summer, a side-trip had been planned to Medicine Wheel in the Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming. It was really an after-thought, and came about because of a similar Stone-circle Medicine Wheel that had been depicted in the tv miniseries “Into the West“. At Medicine Wheel, I spent a short amount of time in the western quarter of the circle, looking into the center of the circle, and listening to the wind blowing around me. While I sat there listening, I could hear a voice speaking to me, about how History had to be preserved, kept, maintained, and cherished for what it was – information. Documented material of what had past, which could point the way forward into the future.
I am no stranger to the concept of archival of information. I have worked as a Disaster Recovery Specialist for a few companies, where storage, duplication, and archival of information was paramount to the survival of those businesses. I have been a Digital Information Librarian for a financial company as well, insuring that data that was stored was kept in accordance to both business needs, legal requirements and government regulations. Many of my co-workers viewed the position as a stepping stone to other positions within the company, such as Data Analyst or Business Analyst positions. I viewed the position as a wonderful place to make a career. Sadly, in each of those jobs, disaster recovery positions were some of the first positions removed in economic down-turns. I also teach the importance of Business Information and Business Intelligence systems in the college-level classes that I proctor. In this current business world, information is truly the life-blood of companies. It is also the life-blood of History.
I am still unsure of what the voice was. Perhaps it was the vestiges of an over-active imagination, as the naysayer may quickly point out. Perhaps. But, I do point out that I have viewed my career in Information Systems to be at an end, thus the change to the world of History. My desire was to become a History teacher at the junior college level, not to continue a career along a pathway I had considered to be dried up three years into my own personal Past. I do understand where the naysayer may come from, but my personal take is a little different. I am not sure if I was hearing the voices of an ancestor Spirit there, or that of my own claimant Gods. It does not matter though. Remember earlier when I noted that I do what I need/want to do until the Gods reveal their required Path to me? This past June was that moment.
I have since dropped my degree program in History, and have stepped back to another abandoned Path: Library Sciences. Within Library Sciences is a pathway to archival systems, as well as a better documented perspective of digital libraries. I already have experience in the digital libraries world, just not the appropriate education. I have no experience in archival methodologies for Historical materials – particularly documents and images. And this is where the Path has been leading me. In less than twenty days, I will start back along my path of Library Sciences, with the desired perspective to become a part of the process of archiving information for future generations.
When I travelled north to Glacier National Park, the travel method was by car. A very long way to travel between Montana and Dallas, Texas. It would certainly have been better to fly. But something in my mind said that travelling by car would be better. The experience of driving through the country-side, with specific stops at various Native American locations in the heartland, well, it was eye-opening. The poverty of the Pine Ridge reservation, which we travelled through on the way to the location of Wounded Knee, was absolutely horrific. I would never have imagined that people lived in such abject conditions in my life. The lack of documentation at the Wounded Knee location was even more astonishing. Aside from a single billboard that could be read while sitting in your car, there was nothing to guide the visitor to the location. On a hillside opposite the sign is a cemetery with appropriate memorial markers, but it is not identifiable to the visitor from the nearby highway. In fact, if you did not know that it was the location – it was easy to drive right past and never realize what you just witnessed. The same can be said for other locations throughout the heartland of America. Location after location – poorly marked, poorly maintained. A part of the history of this country that is essentially swept under the rug in high school history classes.
So, in looking back through my past year – I can see where my purpose has been drawn for me. How the Gods have gently guided me to the point where I am now. Looking forward, what does the Path hold for me? I honestly have no idea. I know that my feet are guiding me down a Path I would never have considered earlier in this year. What that Path entails and how I get there, I do not know. But much like seeing the bridge in the far distance, I know that the Path to get there will provide experiences I may not even understand, fathom or contemplate at this point in time. So, while others begin to set their New Year’s resolutions, and try to determine where they are headed going into the new calendar year – I can only say that I am looking a few steps at a time. I can see the upcoming bridge, but to get to that point, I still have to walk the rest of the Path. Going into the new calendar year, I can only say that I resolve to be more open to the call of Crow, Coyote and the Gods. I am no Priest. I know that. They know that. But I am a part of this world, and have skillsets in areas that can be helpful – so I hold up what I am capable of doing, and will move forward in whatever way they set for me.
Footsteps on one’s Path can only be generated when you are walking….