None too soon, Jack and his father were headed back to the Rez. To see the Sundance and to find Howard Bluebird.
Jack and his dad headed to the Rez for a four day trip. Their schedule would be pretty full. Arriving late Wednesday night, they were going to the Sundance on Thursday, there was a pow wow happening on Friday, and they were heading back on Saturday. Some time in there Jack wanted to find Howard Bluebird and chat with him.
They had a great time at the Sundance. It was powerful and moving once again. Jack and Will had time to talk about the picture and the journals. Will was curious as well as to what Howard would say. As the day came to a close, Jack and Will talked about the Sundance that would be happening next year.
“I’d be interested in coming out for the whole week next year” Jack said. “Helping out wherever you need me.”
“You could be a fireman.” Will offered. “But you’d need to be here all week.”
“Sounds good to me.” Jack said. There was a slight pause in the conversation.
“How far do you want to take this?” Will asked.
“What do you mean?” Jack replied.
“I mean, how far down this road are you wanting to go? You could start off as a fireman, or cedarman, and after a few years, you could learn the songs, and if you are serious, you could even be a Sundancer.”
Jack thought about that for a moment.
“That’s a pretty serious step.” He said.
“Yep. But if you are serious about walking down this red road, it may be something Wakan Tanka calls you to do.”
The next day Jack and his dad went searching for Howard Bluebird. The instructions to get to his house seemed simple. The first time Jack had come to Re-Member, the first project he had worked on was skirting a trailer for a man named Bart. Howard Bluebird lived in a nearby blue trailer, with a blue van out front. But when they drove past Bart’s trailer, there was no blue trailer in sight. There were two men standing out on the porch of a grey trailer, so Jack decided to ask them where Howard lived. He drove up the driveway and approached the two men.
“Hi. I’m looking for Howard Bluebird.” Jack said politely.
“OK.” Said a man leaning against the railing.
There was an awkward pause.
“Do you know where he lives?” Jack asked.
“Yep.” Said the man, grinning now.
Another awkward pause.
“Can you tell me where to find him?” Jack finally asked.
“Sure.” The man said. But he finally let Jack off the hook. “I’m Howard Bluebird.”
Jack smiled and walked up to the man and shook hands.
“I’m Jack Shepard, I wondered if I could talk to you for a minute or two.”
“I know.” Howard said. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
Jack started to freak out again, his eyes went wide. What on earth was going on?
Howard saw Jack getting startled and smiled again as he said “Ted called a while ago and told me you were coming out.”
Jack let out a deep breath. Howard was quite the joker.
Jack asked Howard about the painting, and didn’t have to remind him much about the details of the picture.
“I have a lot of military men in my family.” Howard began. “Uncles, nephews, brothers and others. Sometimes when I am up on the hill on a hanblecheya – a vision quest – I am visited by a spirit warrior and I know I have to paint it for one of those guys. It’s like their guardian spirit. For this one I was visited by this warrior, but I didn’t know who it was for. I painted it anyway and didn’t know what to do with it. The painting is called ‘The Warrior’s Dream”. I finished it the day you bought it, and took it to craft night wondering if anyone would buy it. I didn’t expect it to go to anyone in the military, though.”
Jack told Howard about his time in the Marine Corps, and about the dream he had recorded in his journals.
“Ah. That makes sense then.” Howard said. “I guess I painted it for you.”
“But what does it mean?” Jack asked. “What am I supposed to do with this?”
“You had a vision back then.” Said Howard. “He is your Spirit Guardian. Kind of like a Guardian Angel. When you go up on the hill to do a vision quest, you can ask him for guidance about all of this.”
“Vision quest?” Jack said, startled. “I don’t know the first thing about doing a vision quest. How do I even get started in all of that?”
Howard just smiled.
“Just take it day by day. Don’t try to rush things. Wakan Tanka has something planned. Just relax and keep an open mind.”
“That’s what everybody seems to be telling me.” Jack said.
They talked for a minute or two more, Jack presented Howard with some tobacco as a thank you and a sign of respect. As he left, Jack said he hoped to see Howard again.
“Oh, you will.” He said. “We’ll talk again.”
Back at Re-Member, Will had stopped by to deliver a few things. Jack had a chance to talk with him about his encounter with Howard.
“If you are serious,” Will said, “Pray about it this winter. In the spring you can come back and I’ll take you up to Bear Butte to see some vision questers. If you feel you have to do a vision quest, we’ll see about making that happen.”
The pow wow that evening was a perfect ending to their time on the Rez, although he had more questions about what the future would hold than before he went out.