Tag Archives: Deer

Roan Short Tail (day 2124)

In the great time of y’or
When my Grandfather Thick Neck
Roamed these wild lands
His deer were thousands strong
And each Autumn they’d collect
From all four corners of
His vast kingdom
He had roamed all Summer
And would gather near
The great Big River
To Winter in collective warmth
The power was in their numbers
It was impossible for predators
To attack such a strong group
And in the darkest days of Winter
They had fellow deer
To remind each other
Of the bountiful Summer days
Coming soon again.

Mule-Deer watercolour painting by Ned Tobin

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXXXX (day 2044)

(part XXXXXXIX)

We had been going North for three days
And decided to head West towards the mountains
Until we could go no further
And then begin the journey South
Towards our home
Hoping by that time, we’d have some meat.

By noon we had two deer, one male and one female
Moon Cow had found the first one
Put an arrow into it that went in through the rib cage
And Long Arrow put a second arrow into it
Which went right into its neck
We followed it for a short time
Easy to keep track of as it moved slowly
And as we were doing this
Moon Cow saw a second one, the male
Which Runs Wild also saw at the same time
So he snuck up on it a little bit
With Moon Cow right there beside him
As Long Arrow and I kept tracking the first one
And Runs Wild put his arrow right into the second deer’s heart
Which fell right there, on the spot.

For the rest of the afternoon we dressed the deer
And feasted on the hearts
A delicacy I had acquired the taste for
Hunting with Moon Cow
He once told me a story of why it’s important
To first eat the heart of the animal
That has sacrificed it’s life for us
“When the moon bleeds it’s light
We must see it
And the Coyotes howl
We must hear it
When the wind blows
We must send our messages in it
So to must we eat the heart
Of the life we took.”

There is an unspoken tension
That exists when upon the hunt
And no hunt has been made
Land speaks to one in this way
Without words
Call it superstitions
Call it coincidence
But food is food and when no food has been got
One will go hungry
A winter with no food is a cold winter indeed
We were all happy that night
To have very full bellies.

At this point, we were only a day and a half
Away from Sara, Bill, and Johnny-Boy
Who I hadn’t yet gone to check-in on this year
I made mention that I’d like to go see them
And Moon Cow was eager to meet them himself
But Long Arrow and Runs Wild showed no interest
So we decided that the two of us would go see them
With extra heavy packs
And give them a healthy portion of deer
We traveled together for one full day
And when Moon Cow woke me up the second morning
Long Arrow and Runs Wild had already left
Moon Cow and I arrive at their cabin by noon
Just in time for fresh bread from Sara’s oven.

part XXXXXXXI

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXXXIX (day 2043)

(part XXXXXXVIII)

For three days we hunted
And for three days we found nothing
That would serve as any kind of sustenance
We of course found plenty of squirrels
And small birds to feed us
But deer, elk, buffalo, moose…
Nothing.

I woke up on the morning of the fourth day
Feeling like I had been charged with bolt of lightening
Awake from a dream that had left me silent all morning
As we packed up and prepared to break camp
Moon Cow came over and looked at my arrows
And asked if I was alright
I said yes, I’ve never felt better
And he asked about my dream
Moon Cow always had a sense about these kind of things
I think that’s part of the medicine man in him.

“When I was young
My mother used to come into my room
In the early hours of the day
And tell me that my father had just left again
She would cry to me
And I was..
Hardly able to understand what that meant
But her crying
Would alert me, and wake me up
And I would feel like I had to protect her
I was responsible for her
An assumed set of duties
That charged me with purpose
You should have seen me
Walking down the street
With two cents in my pocket
Going to buy the daily bread and a paper for mom
I’d say hi to all the folks I knew
And they’d smile back at me
Knowing and seeing the determination in my eyes
The responsibility I had in my shoes
They knew my father
Some would even stuff a nickle
Into my well worn pockets
I’d smile and say: ‘thank you m’am’
And charge off on my way
When I’d return home
Mother would be waiting with a broom
For the paper to devour
With the hopes she would find something better
For herself and me, I guess
In my dream I remembered my determination
For a better tomorrow
The perseverance that was required of me
I feel it now
And it makes me think about the future.

part XXXXXXX

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXII (day 2016)

(part XXXXI)

On the third day we left
As always, it was hard to leave Amy, Frank, and Clarinet
But it was necessary
For I could see that Moon Cow and Tall Pine
Were eager to return to the family
As was I
I missed Willow and Lily.

The first night we camped it was very cold
So cold, we woke up with a layer of frost on us
This made me a bit grumpy, and of course stiff
But soon we had a fire going
That slowly warmed our bones
We made some warm tea
And had some of Amy’s world famous jerky
She had so kindly given us,
Stuffed our pockets as we departed ways!

We walked all day
Expecting to either see our cache
Or hopefully another large animal
But neither we found
It was a bit unnerving because the land we were in
Didn’t remind me of the land that we had left the cache in
But Moon Cow and Tall Pine both said this is where we left it
So I trusted them, they had never been wrong with such things
It took us until noon the next day to find our cache
Which was exactly as it had been left.

Just as we were pulling it down
Tall Pine, who was off a little way scouting
Saw himself a deer
So as Moon Cow made a sled for us to carry our meat home
Tall Pine and I dressed his deer
This was going to be hard work
To pull the meat home
So I suggested that we might send one of us home
To get a horse
Moon Cow thought for a while
Pulled the sleigh a little while longer
And said: “You know, this isn’t such a horrible idea after all.”

We sent Tall Pine to run and fetch Moon Cow’s horse
Which he returned with by nightfall
We walked all the next day with the horse
Leisurely
And made it to the camp by nightfall
Just in time for some delicious soup
From Willow
She had received some fresh buffalo meat and
Saved it for us, for our return
As a treat for us
The perfect welcome back
From the woman who holds my heart.

part XXXXIII

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXX (day 2014)

(part XXXIX)

Before noon we had one eight point deer
It was such a beautiful animal
That we all sat for a while looking at it
Hunched over on our heels
Tall Pine’s arrow went in
Right above the left front shoulder
As we opened it up
We saw he had hit the heart perfectly
By evening we had slung it up
In a neat cache for our return
And we went around to familiarize ourselves
With where we had put it
So that we would be able to find it
On our return.

The next morning we were off at first light
Further East to see Amy, Frank, and Clarinet
As it got closer to darkness
We decided to find some food
And camp the night in a nice covered area
Among the great pines.

Moon Cow recognized where we were
This was his old land that he knew well
And he guided us towards Frank’s place
With relative ease
We had come at them from the West
I had thought we would still be well North of them
And would have to head South for a good long time
But as it turned out
We were only about three hours North of them
And we were at their door by nightfall.

They were all very excited to see us
And had much news and stories to tell us
About the Summer they had had
And news of the U.S. Army
For being isolated as we were
We hadn’t any news of their movement
They told us that many of the bands
Were signing treaties
Some of them were forced to sign at gunpoint
While others were just too tired
To fight anymore
So they signed and moved their people
To the land appointed them
There was nothing good coming of this whole thing
We knew it, and so did they.

I told them of our own village’s attack
And Frank told me that he had heard of a rogue group
Of miners who had done the same
To a few of the homesteads they had come across
He wasn’t sure if they had hit many other villages, too
But luckily, they hadn’t found their house
So they hadn’t heard or seen any sign of them
I could see that Amy had a bit of worry in her eye
As one usually does, living so remotely
And really vulnerable to renegades like that
I knew that it was a conversation they had had
And surely one that would continue
The older Clarinet got.

part XXXXI

Poem For a Great Dog (day 780)

I had a dog – a great dog to do him right
A dog so valiant he was my brother
A dog so honorable he made me proud

His sticks were always the biggest sticks
That the forest could offer up
Two lengths wide; head held so high
That was the kind of dog my dog was
And when you threw that stick for him
There wasn’t another care in the world
Bounding over logs and through tall grass
Around small trees and through thick brush

I would let him come upstairs
Sit by my feet as I worked away mine toils
Especially with loud thunder
Shaking yonder hills
I can still clearly remember when,
As a young pup, I tried to acclimatize
The tiny dog to a perch on my bed
He grew so fast and at first chance
He jumped from those heights to
More stable grounds below

He made friends with all the other dogs
He was loved by all those who knew him
His heart beat so true none could deny
His kind, gentle demeanor as he prodded on
Hardly a pup could try his strong patience
But let’s not be fooled that when needed
He wouldn’t take much testing
From neighborhood mutts

It is uncountable the amount of times
He would scare away a bear, herd away a moose
Scamper after a fleeting deer through long grass
Or jump at the sound of the resident squirrel
Sending him high in branches of his tree
He would lose himself in the forest tracking a scent
Only to reappear down the trail looking for me

He had his friends that roamed the trail behind the house
The young girl down the road and her witty sled dog
The Germans and their duck dog, oh what a pair those two made!
One that couldn’t stand a loud sound
The other that lived for the sound of a shot!
Or the wolf hound three doors down
And the proud girl with her border collie around the bend

He was a great dog, the dog that I had
When I returned home, his tail would knock
Over anything near, excited yelps uncontrollable
He would always put his nose between your legs
Slowly walking through as you scratched him down
When you got to his tail, his legs would go weak
For it was there that gave him infinite pleasure

I will miss the dog that I once had
A great dog, a brother of mine till the end
I will miss him more than the trails we used to walk
Or the seasons we’d always play

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