Menucha: Days 4 & 5

It was supposed to be sunny today, but instead it’s pouring rain. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I still managed to be disappointed. We’ve settled into a routine – mornings are dedicated to old processes that we’ve been practicing since level one, afternoons are for new ways of presenting information or just plain new information, and evenings are for personal processing. In between sessions, I sip cup after cup of tea and stuff myself with food. Occasionally, I’m able to sneak in a short walk.

McMenamin's Farm, Outside Portland

On Monday we took the afternoon off and went to Multnomah Falls. In all my years at LC, I’d never made it out there despite it being so close. We hiked the mile up to (almost) the top and then we headed back down again. It felt good to do something physical – to be out of breath, to feel my muscles working; even the pain in my feet was a welcome change from the pain in my ass from sitting for so long. For dinner we went to McMenamin’s (which is apparently a chain) to celebrate M’s birthday.

In the evening, G told us the story of the Falls: In the village where the Multnomah people lived, the daughter of the chief and a young brave fell in love. They were scheduled to be married when a horrible sickness fell over the people. Many people died and so the chief and the other leaders turned to the wise grandfathers to ask their advice. The eldest grandfather said that a long time ago he was told of this sickness and the only way to stop it was for a young maiden to willingly throw herself off a cliff. The chief was very grieved by this news, but nevertheless he called all the young maidens together to tell them what must be done. However, after he told the young maidens, the chief decided that he could not really ask any of them to do such a thing. It was decided that the Multnomah people would face their fate bravely.

More and more people died. And one day the chief’s daughter looked over at her lover and saw the sickness on his face. She knew what she must do to save him and quietly slipped away that evening. She climbed to the top of the cliff and asked the Great Spirits for a sign – a sign that the sickness would stop and her lover’s life would be saved if she did this thing. At that moment the moon rose over the cliff and the chief’s daughter jumped into the rocks below.

The following morning the sickness was gone. The chief wondered if one of the maidens had saved the Multnomah people. He called them all together and found that only his daughter was missing. He sent out a search party and in the evening the chief’s daughter’s body was found at the bottom of the cliff. They held a great ceremony for her and to this day, the water falls over the cliff in memory of the chief’s daughter and her brave sacrifice.

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