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Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Don't forget to bring a towel
I spent part of last night pounding out a lengthy blog post about where I spent Sunday afternoon. I visited what I've been told is one of the more traditional sweat lodges in the Pacific Northwest. As much as I would like to tell the world about what happened out there, I'm going to have to pull a "Richard Dreyfuss at the end of Stand By Me" move here and bury this one deep in my laptop's archives.
Why? Out of respect for those that organized "the sweat" and for those who attended. I was asked not to take photos and I didn't have the guts to ask anyone if I could report on the event. This much I will say: journalistic objectivity flies out the door pretty quick when you're sitting in near total darkness with dozens of people all talking to various deities as perspiration is pouring down your head like a waterfall. Sensory deprivation or "group-think," call it what you will, it has a way of shredding the skepticism of even the hardiest of doubters.
If you ever get the opportunity to visit a sweat lodge of this nature, heed this warning. If you're brave enough and willing to leave your cynicism at the door, you're in for something far crazier than any theme park ride and much more intense than anything you'll ever see at Sunday mass. Or at least that was my experience. I've seen some unusual things in this world but nothing quite like this.