Tag Archives: Elk

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 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 XXXV (day 2009)

(part XXXIV)

Moon Cow, Long Arrow and I went hunting
We were gone for four days and three nights
We went South to try and find the buffalo
But what we found was elk and a moose
They were buffalo people but also reasonable people
So we knew that we had to take the animals that came to us.

We made camp that night and began cutting
I reflected on the beautiful Swiss blade that
Frank had given to me,
Wondering how his summer had gone
How things were in his Valley
By night time we were all covered in blood
But had everything cut that we could use
Leaving mostly just the bones
For the wild coyotes and wolves and ravens
That were always around.

We built a makeshift sleigh
That we took turns pulling in twos
It was hard work
But we were in no rush
And had feasted till our hearts content
The night before
On the fresh meat we had
Moon Cow talked about the buffalo a lot
He worried our people wouldn’t have enough food
And Long Arrow agreed, as always
Grunting in his affirmative way.

I asked if they wanted
To go see Amy & Frank
To hunt at their traditional buffalo run
They reminded me it was no use
Unless we moved back to our traditional winter home
That we had been at last year
I asked why that was a bad idea
And they made me understand they disliked the U.S. Army
And also that Mountain Chief had said
We would stay here now
And they didn’t want to go against him.

When we got back, the women were very happy
We had done so well on our hunt
Smoking began at once
This time I was able to build a smoke house by myself
As Moon Cow built the second one
I was proud when he came over to inspect it
And had nothing to say bad about it
Giving his nod of approval
As he poked at the holes
And casually patched them
With his skilled hands.

I talked to Mountain Chief about Winter
About how he felt his people were prepared
He said he believed everybody had a good hunt
As we looked around and saw all the smoke houses
Filling the camp with mouth watering smells
I asked him if he thought about the buffalo run
And he said: “Of course,” as he pointed to his inner arm
Making a motion of cutting it
Showing me it was in his blood
I could not guess the pain he felt
Not being able to lead his people
Where his people had always gone.

part XXXVI