By Michael Hooper
Throughout history, we can find countless examples of human beings trying to reach for the heavens. We hike up a hill to get a better view, or we climb a mountain because it’s there. We build a rocket and fly to the moon. NASA has remote control vehicles on Mars looking for places to probe and dig for samples of dust and rock. We have developed listening stations that capture sounds from deep space. We use high powered telescopes to search for life on other planets. Scientists recently discovered seven planets around a white dwarf 40 light years away, these planets may contain water and life forms.
The higher we climb, the harder we fall. Yet we climb anyway.
For years a friend of mine and I wanted to ride bicycles to the top of a hill in northeast Kansas -- the site is a burial ground that dates back over 4,000 years, maybe longer.
It was 80 degrees on a rare February day, Brian Carr and I decided it was time, we got on our bicycles and started riding up and around the hills, climbing higher and higher. We entered a grassy field, and continued to pedal up along an old pioneer’s path, until we finally reached the summit. It was here we looked for a 4,000-year-old Indian burial ground, we could not find it. The abundant tall grass prairie had hidden the sacred site.
We laid down in the grass and looked at the sun. The tall grass prairie made a good bed, deer had rested here. The sky was light blue with sun dogs, dripping with shafts of purple rays. We could see all around us, the four corners of the Earth. An eagle, the guardian of the day, flew over us and hovered for a bit, letting us know he sees us. Below us in the valley, the Kansas River moves eastward along its slow glide to the Missouri River. A Union Pacific train engine, bright yellow with an American flag, pulls grain cars to the west. And to our view to the south, we could see the interstate with hundreds of cars and trucks traveling east or west.
About 20,000 feet above us, I see multiple passenger jets flying to Denver or Kansas City or Minneapolis or Dallas, maybe Los Angeles. Literally thousands of people inside the planes and automobiles, passing overhead and below us -- all at the same time -- a sea of humanity moving. Here I connect to all the living peoples on Earth and to the people in the sky and the aliens living on those distant planets 40 light years away; they are with me here now in my mind, and someone is there now also thinking the same thing, looking at Earth from 40 light years away, thinking, you know, there is someone over there on that planet who thinks about these things and is now with us in the same thought.
This place was like a vortex to the universe.
After an hour lying in the sun, we decided to look for the burial ground. I glanced behind us and there it was, we were lying next to it all along. The place found us, she drew us in and she treated us with majesty and grace. Growing among its circle of stones was a thorny low lying bush, we stood outside the circle. Its stones looked worn from rain and winds of time. The stones carried the memories of the Indians who placed them here and returned here to remember their ancestors. The tribes of old probably liked this spot, I imagine they too felt its powerful vortex to all things in the universe.