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young woman in story

All You © 2017 Anna Lee Walters

On the last day they were together, everyone shared a farewell meal.  Most sat on chairs. Her plate with food portions, along with cup and water, were arranged on the floor, on a beautiful red and black mat, ceremoniously laid out.  Everything in the last three days had been done according to ancient plan. Throughout, relatives spoke kindly to her, lovingly, continuing to teach her, though spiritual departure had already occurred.


Her physical body, a soft anchor for relationships they had all relished together, had just been put into earth on a whispery windy ridge, and then everyone gathered in this cavernous room, to initiate the next step.

She was fully present, too, capable of hearing and seeing but, of course, not of speech, as so many around her thought her main essence to be, and had been so accustomed to enjoying up to her twenty-fourth year.  In place of her voice was a sonar sound in a chorus of others and her appearance, for the few who saw and felt it, was a visual ripple in space. Some younger people, and strangers in the crowd, didn’t realize or accept that when her voice quieted, she still had subtle presence.  Furthermore, consciousness and intelligence, revealed themselves as traces of senses.


Somewhere inside of herself she spoke now, because it was worldly way and habit.  She spoke to herself, mainly, because most of the people there could no longer hear her or respond. 


A thread of thought appeared.  A lightning flash.


A clear observation.  “This exists.”  

She gave in to that current.

Wind, strings of sounds and images, made her powerless again and re-formed her.

Atius appeared.  That name.  Star light.

She announced, “I am becoming all you again.”  There was no volume.  There were no distinct words.

Only clear perception.

The world she experienced with her people began to spin.  Her name whirled away with it.

“Becoming my true self again.”

She saw herself.  Diminishing.  Breaking up.  Folding in.   

But her deep consciousness did not break down or fall away.

Strings of wind, images, and sensations swayed her.

“They said nothing over here is ever too small or alone.”

She looked once more towards her people.


“If not for them I could not become my true self again.”

Their familiar faces and voices receded but were still within reach.

“They told stories of infinite holy white bones…”

Solid, massive, gleaming ivory bones filled space around her.

“I thought every sun was mine alone until they told me ‘no’.”

Brightness…  Starry light… 

“I followed my people and they were following YOU.”

She saw and heard her own feet chasing others.

“They sought your signs everywhere.”

Brightness again.

“Atius!”  An aura.

Relatives in the room were becoming more distant, their voices more vague, and they turned in such a way that all she saw were their backs.

“They are still showing the way.”

She was weightless but had infinite clarity.

“They say I cannot go back to what was before.”

A man in the room looked over his shoulder directly at her, raising his chin upward.

“They say I am to become all you again.”

Space opened wide.

Her voice such as it was, began to melt into that space. 

Her people murmured.  Those who knew such things, looked into each other’s eyes, nodded and began to gather their possessions and walk away.

She watched from afar but did not try to join them.  She knew.  Her consciousness knew.  It recognized itself.

Innermost quiet expanded and prevailed.

The last image came…

Wings.  Steady oars stroked holy wind.

Atius   - Pawnee word meaning Father or Lord, old reference to the Sun

food set-up illustration

Illustrations by D.A. Walters, 2016

Anna Lee Walters and Native American Literature 2024

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