Category Archives: Epic

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXXXVIII (day 2042)

(part XXXXXXVII)

After seven full days of talks
Mountain Chief decided that we would stay where we were
And let the White Man’s determination
Determine our future
Our hopes were that we would remain safe
Where we were, uninvolved
But I knew that they would eventually come looking for us
However, I knew it would be more peaceful if we stayed out
Of the wars that were happening
Everywhere upon these lands, apparently.

It was also made known to everybody
The dangers of keeping U.S. Army enemies
That is, members of other tribes on the run
In our own homes
As the U.S. Army would most likely
Come looking for them
It was also made known that some of the men
Would be going off to help
Some of the other tribes
This caused tension
About whether or not Mountain Chief would allow back
Any man that went away to fight
But eventually Mountain Chief decided the right thing
And said those who decided to fight
Would always be welcome by his fire
Seven men with family in other tribes
Left after two days preparing,
After much ceremony,
And all for us returned to our usual simple life
In our mountain valley.

Moon Cow and I talked about going on a hunt
So we asked Long Arrow and Runs Wild,
Mercy’s man and eldest child,
To see if they wanted to come hunt with us
They of course were always eager
So we left after a day of preparations
Happy to be wild and free again
Searching through the forest
Using our instinct and skill guide us.

part XXXXXXIX

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXXXVII (day 2041)

(part XXXXXXVI)

When Mountain Chief returned
From a journey to the other tribes he knew
He shared with us the situation
That the entirety of our people
Were facing, and it wasn’t pretty
He shared the systematic
Slaughter, trickery, cheating, imprisoning, hangings,
Or corralling onto parcels of land called ‘reserves’
That made little sense to anybody
But more sense then sure death.

The U.S. Army was hunting down tribes
Burning the villages of those who didn’t cooperate
Or turning their fire sticks
Upon women and children
Survivors were left so debilitated
That they would do anything.

Mountain Chief’s fury was obvious
As was most of the other people listening
And seven full days commenced
Where Mountain Chief and the elders
Discussed the possibilities
Of what was now to be done
The main ideas were:
To fight with the other tribes fighting
Which would lead to more or less
A life as an outlaw
And left out the future of the women and children,
To stay where we were
Without getting involved in any of the U.S. Army’s games
Nor help our brothers and sisters
Who were or were going to war,
To sign one of these Peace Treatys
That were being waved in the face of anybody
Who would listen
And submit a life on a reserve of land
Cut off from our way of living.

Among those present in the discussions
There were clearly some who were not going to sit
And wait for the U.S. Army to eventually find us
Who said that they would
No matter what way the choice was made
Help our fellow tribesmen
To take our land back
Most people agreed that this was indeed
A very brave proposition and commitment
For it was fairly evident by now
That U.S. Army’s forces
Were just far to powerful
With their firesticks
Meaning that any opposition was mostly a death wish
But never-the-less, a very honourable way.

There was also a growing sentiment that
We would become a safe haven
For those on the run
Seeking to heal or lay low
Until some sort of trouble or another
Would pass over
This seemed like a very passive way
To show our support
While still remaining not involved in the wars
Yet we knew that if it came time for us to sign
One of these Treatys
This would add complexity.

Mountain Chief was a proud man
And having to make such an important decision
Was not an easy one
If it were just him
I know that he would have chosen to fight
Until his last arrow was sent
But he had the responsibility to our family
To ensure its survival and health
And he knew that peace was very smart.

part XXXXXXVIII

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXXXVI (day 2040)

(part XXXXXXV)

Upon returning to our village
We had a feast with the Elk we had taken
With anybody that was around,
When we had returned and word got out
That a giant herd of Elk
Were two valleys to the North West
A large hunting party left
To see what they could capture.

Lily was so happy to see us
Of course
But she also had a bit of pride to her
That we hadn’t noticed before
I could tell that she felt good that
She had been able to take care of herself
Without the help of parents
We asked her if she had spent every night by herself
In our teepee
And she had said that she would have
But Mercy had been so excited
That she was going to stay with them
That she had no reason to stay by herself
Her blooming heart couldn’t let Mercy down
Besides, she said, Mercy has the best cooking.

As the summer progressed
We noticed Lily taking more and more time
On her own
She liked to wander the forest
And would bring home
Some very unique herbs and medicine
That her mother had taught her so well to find
It made Willow very proud she was
Taking an interest in the medicine
But also worried her going off alone
A mother’s natural tendency
But I also knew that anything could happen
Unexpectedly while out
We wouldn’t know where she was
And having two people together
Increases the chances of survival should an incident occur.

We shared our worries with Lily
And asked her if there was anybody
She thought that might be able to accompany her
I recognized the look she gave me
Was about as pure as it gets
Imploring me with her beautiful eyes
If she really had to
I understood it was hard for a young girl like her
And made a silent vow to myself
To go out with her more often
Like I so often did with Willow
We also talked to Moon Cow about this
And he too made it known
That if Lily ever needed a companion
To count on him, always
With this, Lily smiled.

part XXXXXXVII

 

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXXXV (day 2039)

(part XXXXXXIV)

For three days Willow and I sat
Meditating upon life
Watching the great herd of Elk
Graze the valley below
Laughing as we saw Elk calves
Running to suckle their mothers
And other Elk turning away curious calves
Who weren’t their own to feed
We felt their powerful teeth
Ripping out grass
And then chewing with their rolling jaws
Seemingly no other care in the world
We felt their combined
Powerful hooves rattle the earth
As they slowly came and then went
In their great migration North
Now that the winter ice shields
Were rapidly melting in the spring thaw
We felt their consistent calls
For whom did they send
And from where did the return come from
We could only guess the meanings
But warm breaths
Meeting the cold spring air
Continually sent steam spouts
Up from their great masses
We could smell them
The very essence that they were
In wild and natural pungency
That can mean so many things to the alert
And told us the story of their hardships
They had faced the previous winter
We saw their curiosity
With everything that they passed
Wondering if it was food
Or if it was predator
And if it was at all safe to be here
When they wandered close enough to us
The closest to us would jump back and be alerted
And the others beside it
Would also jump
And scuttle back towards the bulk of the herd
Many would get so close
That we could hear their powerful nostrils
Testing the air for security.

After the third day
We decided that we would take one home with us
So I sent an arrow through the heart
Of a male, ensuring the mother would be able to provide
For the calf until it was able to be on its own
As I dressed the Elk
Willow sent thanks to the Elk gods
For their offering
By evening we had made it out of the valley
And were set up camp by a small stream
Where we washed ourselves
And watched the stars.

part XXXXXXVI

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXXXIV (day 2038)

part XXXXXXIII

“When I was young
My father would take Moon Cow and I to Plains
Same place every year
And we would sit in same spot
Watching great Buffalo
Migrate through
Dad would tell stories
Of previous hunts
Or legends his father had told him
Explaining to us where Buffalo came from
And why it had been given to us
Now, we no longer have Buffalo
That my father spoke of
And it saddens me that Lily River
Cannot sit here
Listening to your stories
Of where Buffalo comes from
And why we respect Buffalo
I don’t hate White Man for this
Though it is their doing
How could I hate the natural way of world
Speaking to us so?
We have shared this land many generations
Hopefully many more
But our people have always listened
Listened to stars, moon
Trees, rivers, creeks,
Coyotes howling at night
Those are Gods we take
And those are Gods who speak to us
So, too, shall we let Gods lead us now
In this time of change
For change is what we always have
Season to season
Moon to moon
We listen
And change led us here
How can I worry about change
So strong I feel in us now
change like we have never experienced
Land is changed now
It is not our family at war with other families
It is all of our families coming together
To find a way to stop big change White Man brings
Do you think there will ever be a time
When land has changed so much
No more Buffalo
Whole valley of Elk we see here
So vast and so plentiful
So many there are less trees in the forest
Do you think land will have
Buffalo no more
And Gun grows as plentiful
As Elk here before us?”

part XXXXXXV

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXXXIII (day 2037)

(part XXXXXXII)

The first night we stayed up with our fire
Sitting close to each other
Wrapped in our blankets
Willow sang me some songs
Chanting and singing in pikanii
Sometimes I would pick up on the words
Words I knew
And I would join her
And we sang to the little sliver of a moon
That came out and shared itself with us.

We were woken up by our horse
Who came over and started to lick our faces
Quite an interesting way to be woken
But it worked,
And before I knew it
Willow had some warm nettle tea
Ready for us to sip on
As we warmed our bodies
From the evening chills.

I walked over to the cold creek running close
And washed myself
Invigorating my life force at the same time
By the time I got back
Willow had had some roots she had gathered
Which she gave me and said: “Eat this,”
And some meat
We ate silently
I told her I loved her singing last night
She smiled and told me she was asking the gods
For a safe passage on our journey.

By the time I slung the blankets back onto the horse
Willow was ready to go
And we began walking West
Down the spine of the valley
And up the far side,
When we came to the peak
We looked out
And it took both of our breaths away from us.

What we saw was not the great plains Buffalo
But a massive herd of Elk
Grazing and minding their own
Very leisurely
We sat there at the peak
For quite a while
Snacking on leftover meat
From breakfast
Just watching the massive herd
It was pure delight to our eyes.

part XXXXXXIV

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXXXII (day 2036)

(part XXXXXXI)

As Spring melted the snow
I could hear the mountains calling my name
It was like the wind
It would just come into my ear
And I wouldn’t hear anything else
Except my name
And a direction it would come from
I asked Willow if she could hear it
But she said that she didn’t
She said that she had heard
A similar voice in her ear
At a different time calling her
Neither of us really knew what it was about
Never had anything like it before
But we did admit that it was intriguing
And she told me she had never
Felt so much like going for a walk about
As she did that Spring.

When nearly all the snow was gone
And the moon was new
Willow and I decided to head
Directly into the mountains
To see what we would find
Lily River stayed with Mercy
And she was old enough now to mind herself
No doubt she would sleep most nights
By herself in our own teepee.

We decided we would only take one horse
Pack what little things we needed on it
Particularly some warm blankets
As it was still cold at nights
Lots of dried foods
But Willow knew all the Spring food
We could get in the woods
And I had my bow and arrow with me.

We decided that we would stay well South
Warmer, and the direction the whispers came from
The valley we soon discovered
Was in full stinging nettle bloom
And we picked there for a day until
Our fingers were stinging and our spare sacks
Were full of the tea for us to drink.

part XXXXXXIII

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXXXI (day 2035)

(part XXXXXX)

Every day we could feel the weather warming up
But we could also feel our spirits rising
Spring came early
We felt heaviness of Winter
Seep out of our teepee
With every cleansing steam inside
And Willow would burn sage brush
Helping evil spirits escape.

I looked for every way to show Willow
Love that I had for her
And so did Lily
I think it was a team effort
We kind of all knew that nothing ever was the same
But we still wanted Willow back
And she came back to us
After a bit of a spell away,
For a few days she left
With warm blanket and clothes
To where we didn’t really need to know
But when she returned
She was a new woman
A proud woman, an invigorated woman
A hungry woman,
And we all still loved her
And ate to celebrate the change.

She told me one night
Soon after that
That she had a vision
From her mother
Telling her that:
As the sky must cry
To empty it’s weight
So too must the heart.

It shocked me a little bit
To learn that Willow felt unworthy
Of the love that I gave her
For what had happened
To our baby
But I reassured her it wasn’t so
That no matter what
I loved her
And with this
She looked me in the eyes for a long time
And finally exclaimed:
My Love, Big Arrow –
A name she had started to affectionately
Call me after she learned
Of Lily’s and mine’s first meeting
So many moons ago now
When she had given me her little arrow
And I to her: my heart –
I don’t know where you came from
And I do hope you stay a while
You are a good man
Better then most
Your kindness I could never match
And for that, I am yours,
Until the moon stops to shine
And the Sun falls asleep.

part XXXXXXII

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXXX (day 2034)

(part XXXXXIX)

When Willow came back into the teepee
I knew instantly something was wrong
Actually, I think I knew before she came back in
But when she did
Just one look at her and I could tell that
Something horrible had just happened
Then I saw the blood
And she was incredibly pale
She fell into my arms
And I comforted her as we sat on the floor
She lightly sobbed in my shoulder.

I sent Lily over to get Mercy
When Mercy came in and saw Willow
She knew what had happened immediately
And began to comfort her
Mercy went and looked
To see what had come out
So we knew there was no immediate danger
But the bleeding still had to stop
And that was a worry.

By the next day,
Willow had stopped bleeding
And the colour was returning to her face
Though she was still sad and distant
We both were
I sat and lay with her a lot in those days
As she rested
And noticed her looking nowhere often
Something I had never seen her do before
She usually just stared at me
I think she didn’t understand my hair colour.

It was nice to have Lily around
To comfort her mother, too
She was a great little mother for us
I knew Willow had really wanted the baby
To prove more to her family
Then to me
That she wasn’t less then nothing
Since her first man had passed,
Something of pride,
But I also knew that Willow had so much to be proud of
One perfect example was Lily
Who silently provided for us
As we all comforted each other.

After five days of bed rest
I must have changed the rocks in her bed
Ten times a day
She enjoyed it, so I was happy
And she was looking much better
As was the cough nearly gone
I was happy to see
She meant the world to me
And we gave the little moccasins away
To Runs Wild’s wife
Who was now expecting a baby as well
They were both very happy to have them
And they were also very happy to see
Willow walking around and looking better.

part XXXXXXI

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXXIX (day 2033)

(part XXXXXVIII)

When we were sure that Willow had a baby
Basically everybody else knew, too
Things weren’t so secret within the family
I liked it that way
Different then what I had grown up with
We were very happy, of course
And Lily was excited too.

Moon Cow guessed that Lily was seven cycles of the seasons
I would have guessed something close to that
Had I to make a guess at her age
So she knew what it meant to be having a baby
And she also anticipated the responsibility
Her and Willow were so cute
As they began sewing baby moccasins that fall
With one of the deer hides we had brought home,
Lily also took on a lot more responsibility
With cooking and housework
That Willow wasn’t able to do too well anymore
And it was also nice to give Lily some responsibility
As she was growing and needed to learn
How to do some of the more family oriented things.

Lily was already really good at finding the herbs
And medicine that her mother had been teaching me
So before the first snow fell,
Willow was anticipating
Much of what she would need
Into her pregnancy
Many moons ago
Willow and Mercy had taken over
As medicine women of the family
After Willow’s own mother had died
They had always been inseparable as children
And as Willow’s mother
Had more then enough to share
She taught them both the medicine
So they could both help
And hopefully pass on the knowledge to their children
When the time came,
So Lily was able to learn from the ancient knowledge.

The Winter was relatively balmy
The snow would come and then melt a little
And then a little more snow would come
Followed again by the bright sun and warm weather
We would get these winds come through
That were as hot as the finest summer day
Where all the children would be out
Throwing snowballs and playing as they do
It was fun to watch
As nobody really likes being cooped up all Winter
And the sun is always needed
This time of the year.

I think it was because of the warm Winter
That Willow developed a cough
It was a deep cough that she said hurt her rib
That had broken earlier that year
When the bear had run her down
Some nights she would lie awake
Coughing away
Mercy and Lily fed her all the medicine they could find
But were also cautious about the baby
That awaited inside of her stomach
Poor Willow,
Some nights I would lie awake with her
Getting a warm rock from the fire
To put at her feet to keep her warm
And a cup of warm medicine water for her to drink
To hopefully put her to sleep.

part XXXXXX