I’m a Puyallup and I relate to stones.



A  Puyallup Chief came to me gently and said – in a language I could not understand and yet I could feel it. Yes, I could feel a language! –

Come in, sit with us. You are not a stranger. You are family”. I confess that the moment I dreaded the most was that “pipe smoking” ritual. I have not touched tobacco in 12 years. Instead, when I sat down and joined this circle of friends, I was offered a tea. At first it tasted so so so bitter… that… that….

 Chief, is this…ayahuasca ?”

 He laughed.

 No, it’s much stronger than ayahuasca! You will develop wings you’ve had in the past and fly higher than the highest mountain. You’re not a mountain man. You ARE the mountain. Come on, drink your tea”.

I drank it. No hallucinations. It was just…. A very bitter herbal tea.

He mumbled in what I later found out to be his dialect: “S’puyalupubsh”

This is a true story and is to be continued.

It has changed my life completely. All I know is that.. this somehow explains that my fascination for the smoke I fill my stages with (my plays are filled with smoke) and the coffee color (earth color / mud, really) and my eternal fascination with mountains down to little rocks (not Art Kansas ) but tiny rocks does have profound implications in what I have been and who I am.

From the back of my neck IN…..And…..OUT….from….

“What to you seems such simple fact of life, son, to them seems outrageous pornography.” The Chief said, once outside of the tent in private, so to speak.

“And what to them seems a light at the end of the tunnel, to you seems like a possible suicide.”

“They will never understand how much knowledge and humor is contained in the highest mountain.” 

“But when it thunders and lightening frightens them, that’s when your guts are laughing. Have no fear, son. No fear.”

He told me so many incredible and almost incredulous things that night that….the rest is to be….

(to be continued…..)



Gerald Thomas

Lenox, Massachusetts.


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