It is 1775 one year before The War of Independence and it is a true story. The fall sunlight lay in patches on the steep roof of the Meeting House of Easton Township in the Countyof Saratoga in the state of New York. The fourth day two hour Quaker Meeting had one hour to go. The air was very still and the only sound was that of a lone buzzing bee . Occasionally a small breeze was created and a leaf would be blown in through the open door. The logs of the Meeting House did not fit too well and the children of the Meeting could see into the woods through the gaps. Sometimes they saw a butterfly and they were finding it difficult to think "Meeting thoughts". In the silence they hoped a butterfly would fly in.
Who is at meeting today? On the Elders bench sat Zebulon Hoxie, the grandfather of most of the children in the meeting. Near him sat his 2 sons, one holding the Meeting Bible. Next to him sat Robert Nisbet who had walked the 30 miles through the wilderness from East Hoosak. suddenly in a quiet voice he spoke from where he sat "I speak dear friends from the Book of Psalms. How will the beloved of the Lord be in safety covered? The answer is He shall cover thee in feathers and under his wings thou shalt trust. You have done well dear friends to stay on valiantly in your homes and therefore this testimony I give to you now you shall make your own and we shall not be afraid of the terror by night nor the arrow that flieth by day.
Susannah Hoxie looked at her small brother Benjamin seated on the knee of their aunt. Near the door sat the older sister Dinah Hoxie next to their mother Emma Hoxie. She thought to herself "I wish I was all covered in feathers so lovely and soft and warm, then I would be a blessed of the Lord." But Meeting still dragged on. Would it never end? Oh to be by the cool river and see the fish but this is not allowed on a Meeting Day.
Suddenly through the crack between the logs she saw moving feathers at the edge of the woods. More feathers seemed to be moving. Benjamin and Dinah saw them as well now but as they grew nearer and larger they saw that the feathers were worn by Indian Warriors. They held poisoned arrows and small hatchets. The children sat very still. Nothing must interfere with Meeting. Very quietly a hand came round the door. It was Running Water the son of the chief. In his hand he held a poisoned arrow. Everybody saw him now but the silent Meeting still continued. Emma said to herself "Thou shalt not be afraid of the arrows that fly by day - fly by day - fly by day. He shall cover thee in feathers. The Meeting continued in silence. The moccasins of Running Water made no sound on the wooden floor as he moved around. He was puzzled by this strange sight. So many men women and children all sitting as if dead, but they were alive. He could hear them breathing. A small child made a tiny sound but that was all. At last Running Water spoke in a strange language. "Entre mes copains." Then he beckoned outside and the rest of the Indians came in slowly and just as softly as he had. The first was Feet of the Deer followed by Gobble Like a Turkey Cock and at very last a noble figure the Chief himself, Chief Wise as an Owl..
All the Indians stood still no one moved. The wind was rustling the branches of the conifer trees. A raccoon passed by looking for food. An eagle flew high overhead. Two small beaver became too tired to help build the dam and swam back to the lodge. In the distance a lone elk foraged for moss causing a rabbit to stir in the undergrowth. All was still at the Meeting.
The Meeting continued in spite of the unusual visitors. But something totally unexpected had happened. Chief Wise as an Owl had felt The Great Spirit reach out to touch him. He felt at one with these white men. After a while he signaled for all his warriors to squat and join in the silence. They all continued the silence. The Meeting now took on a greater meaning. All the children no longer looked through the cracks between the logs. They all sat very still but the Indians sat more still than any of them.
At the end of the Meeting Zebulon Hoxie made signs to Chief Wise as an Owl and invited him back to his cabin to continue the Friendship.
Zebulon Hoxie said "Welcome my Friend may I say how Happy we are to have thee in our House. May thee have some of our food and thee must tell us of your life with nature. Emma Hoxie told the Indians "Make thyself at home at our hearth and share our food.
Later in the hut Chief Wise as an Owl told them "Indian come to white man's lodge. Indian want to kill white man. You have no gun - no spear - only big red book bound in skin of deer. You all very still. I feel great spirit very close in your spirit lodge. Great spirit say to me no kill white people.
They talked far into the night. Chief Wise as an Owl spoke of the great spirit in the forests who dwells in the trees and talks by rustling the branches. He spoke of great sunsets when the great spirit paints the sky to give mankind pleasure. He spoke of the animals of the forest, of the raccoon, of the rabbit, of the mighty elk, of the magnificent beaver who can alter the flow of great rivers, he spoke of the birds that sing.. He told them of the high mountains, the snows, the rushing torrents, the immense beauty and power of the waterfall and at night the heaven painted with stars. He finished by saying "all are one - all are in the rhythm of the earth."