Tag Archives: Forest

A Little Mouse (day 2117)

As if in the ransack of time a little mouse could foresee such a circumstance, little unbeknownst to him and his furry paws scuttling to and fro about the forest floor – roots for here and roots for there, but left in a random mess that danced like bliss – as the owl hooted loud the shakey graves below the folly could tell ten thousand stories of arching madness and screaming terror; look out look out look out my friend, I have not come to be thy penance, no, I am here to hold thy candle brighter, to make thy night much less weirder, to the side of willow river and make a dart into thy deepened hole of safety and say to thy family you love them better and listen to your little mice that complain of washing and complain of chores but lead your life as you best can for times will come and leave you better beside the river and your cavern and your pretty mice wife, hither.

Calling (day 2096)

This is my calling
Run through the forest
Trails along the way
Lead me home, sometimes.

Forage some berries
Discover a toadstool
Help a little frog
Along its merry way.

Some paths grow narrow
Hardly able to walk
A step on a branch
Scares the whole flock.

And then open up
To a wide open meadow
Dig up some roots
Soil to my soul.

This is my calling
Deep winter bark
Roots on my threshold
Home in the end.

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 XXXXXI (day 2025)

(part XXXXX)

One of the fellows came around telling us
That a grizzly bear was in the neighbourhood
So for that whole spring we were all kind of worried
About running into one
As a result, it was decided that
Whenever anybody would leave the village
It would be advisable for them to have
Somebody with a bow and arrow with them
For protection
Because of this
I would frequently accompany Willow
As she went deep into the forest
To find some of the herbs she needed
That had been depleted over the Winter months
Of course, I often had done this before
To learn more about what she knew of the land
But now there was a bit of an extra reason
For me to be with her more.

Though Lily wasn’t quite
Going out of the village on her own missions yet
We still tried to have the young scouts
Watching over the young girls
It was kind of a bit of a task for them
To feel like they had responsibility
One of the many subtle ways
In which my Blackfoot family
Encouraged their children
To take on more of a role in the community.

I started seeing Lily more and more
With a handsome young scout
Named Laughing Bull
He was 2 years her elder
And he would often just sit and watch her
Following her around, smiling,
I could see Long Arrow’s youngest boy, Big Moon,
Always looking sadly at Lily
I know that he cared for her
A whole hell of a lot
And being the age he was
And his brother just getting married
I knew that he was thinking
Of her as more then just a friend.

Lily was a charismatic and big eyed girl
Who had even intrigued me
That day that I had first come to the village
So many moons ago now
And no doubt her curiosity would drive
Plenty of men crazy upon meeting her,
Falling instantly in love,
But for now, Lily just wasn’t old enough
To be carrying long eyes for the boys
I talked to Willow about this
For it was me trying to understand her culture,
She waved it off as if it was nothing
That Lily was still far too young
And if Big Moon or Laughing Bull approached us
With ideas of aligning
It was out of the question.

part XXXXXII

Moon at Midnight – Part XXVIII (day 2002)

(part XXVII)

The next day riders from other Blackfoot tribes came
And Mountain Chief, Moon Cow, and three other men
Rode off to a great meeting of Chiefs
I knew, and could tell,
That nobody was pleased with what the U.S. Army was doing
And tension was clearly in the air
Nobody felt comfortable
And people were becoming worried
Suspicious
These proud people were feeling scared
In the very land they had always lived free.

I spent the next few days with Willow and Lily
Walking through the grassland and forests
Looking for fuel and food
Waiting, I guess,
Our presence comforted each other
Reassured each other
All three of us had become very close
With all the time we had shared over the winter
It was exciting for me to recognize
How much Lily had already learned from her mother
She was very good at finding the herbs
That her mother would ask her to find for her
She would come back with a handful of them
And an even bigger smile on her face.

Willow told me that she had heard of other tribes
Being forced into slavery
To being held captive on certain land
The Government had given them
If they signed a Peace Treaty
I listened quietly,
For I had also heard such things
Further in the South and East
And was saddened from what I did hear
I asked Willow if she would want to live like that
And she said that she would not
She was born free and would obey nobody but the earth
I asked her if she would rather
Live off the land like a nomad
Always wandering more and more
Or if she would like to live more like Amy & Frank
She said she did not know
But that she did see the benefit of having land
To return to every year
Like Amy & Frank had
She asked me if I could build a house
Like Frank had built.

After four days and four nights
Mountain Chief returned with Moon Cow
And directly summoned me
And the other elders of the tribe
Into a gathering
He told us everything that had been talked about
How the other Chiefs didn’t trust
The U.S. Army men
That they threatened our whole way of life
And that if they got their way
It would be the end of us
He told us of visions he had listened to
And told us of his own vision
He himself had had one night
While camped along the river
He told us he had seen an owl
And had walked closer to ask him
What he was going to do
And the owl had told him
That when he sees the mouse
He then plans his action
In the middle of the night.

Mountain Chief told us that we would stay for two more days
On their traditional winter grounds
And that we would be moving
In the middle of the second night
So we all returned to our teepees
To begin preparation.

part XXIX

Moon at Midnight – Part XIII (day 1987)

(part XII)

I could feel them before I saw them
When you walk through the forest
As much as I do
You know when something is a bit off
You look around searching for what it is
But keep walking as If nothing is wrong
As if you don’t suspect a thing
And don’t want it, whatever it is,
To know you’re on to it
It’s during these few steps
That you grow eyes on every part of your body
Listening and sensing and feeling and seeing
I always hope that whatever it is
Sees me and gets scared off
Because you know whatever it is
Means business if it doesn’t.

I put my palms to the front of me, open,
And stayed my path
But before to long I was forced to stop
By a native man standing in front of me
He had yellow paint across his eyes
And dots in red everywhere else
Yellow lines covering exposed skin on his body
His gun, resting on the ground
Was taller then him
I knew if push came to shove
I would be quicker then him at getting my gun
But I could see he’d be quicker with his knife.

As I came near I began to see
More and more of his brothers
Floating in and out of my vision
Playing havoc with my mind
There was no point in resisting
So I slowly pulled from my pocket
A large piece of moose meat
Amy and Frank had given me
And bowed before him with it in my hand, raised
He stood there without saying a word
Me bowed in front of him
For several minutes
Until finally he took the offering and ate it
And I stood up looking him in the eye
He said: “Frank. Amy.” and smiled
And patted me on the shoulder
I guess he knew the special flavor
They put on their jerky,
It was unique I had already admitted.

He pointed at me, and I said: Joe
With this he stopped dead in his animation
And stared directly into my soul
I saw him lose sight with far away eyes
And a vision come over him
Before I knew what was happening we were surrounded.

I had no choice in the matter and was led back to their camp
What hurry was I in?
They were friendly and had offered
To carry some of my things
Had offered me a horse
But I had said no
And their fast pace was slowed
To accommodate my slower, heavier footsteps
The trail was clearly used
And not hard to follow
Though we were walking south for three hours
I came to learn through one of the men
A bit about who I was with.

part XIV

Moon at Midnight – Part XI (day 1985)

(part X)

When we chopped the last block ceremoniously
I told Frank that I would be leaving the next day
His face immediately showed me
How much he had also grown fond of my presence
But we both knew that any longer
And my presence in the little house
Would be too well felt
And each day departing would be harder and harder
Though I suspect he knew less of this then I
For he wasn’t much of a wandering man
As I had become in these days.
He initially put up a fight
Talking about the oncoming Winter
And for me to be reasonable
I smiled through it all, and remained firm.

Amy made me a lunch pack
With enough dried meat and fruits
To last me a few weeks
I was eternally grateful to these kind folks
Embracing me, a wandering stranger,
Who came upon their doorstep one clear day
With open hands and a smile.

When I was at the edge of the forest
I stopped and turned back and waved
And they all waved back at me
Amy, Frank, Clarinet, and one of the dogs even barked
I had left Clarinet an old photograph
I carried in my breast-pocket
For her to remember me by
I gave in to my desire to turn around and wave
As I could feel them all hoping and wishing
And watching for me to do so,
A friendly and nurturing gesture I could admit
I walked most of the morning silently
East.

part XII

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Moon at Midnight – Part VI (day 1980)

(part V)

As my footsteps changed slope from uphill to downhill
I crested into a new valley
It was a particularly notable valley cresting
For the view I was afforded stretched from tip to bow
At the far end I could see a tail of smoke rising steady
Hovering for some time at the cloud line
Making its ever looming presence felt
As I looked down and stepped between the pebbles
Dodging in and out of the single-path trail I had been following.

My memory floated back to a woman I once had known
A woman whose smile touched the very essence of a man
Changing him instantly to a friend, forever
I had last seen her walking out of the tack store
In preparation to depart with a fresh pack of jerky
And enough rice to keep me a while,
She had asked where I was off to
And I told her what had honestly come to mind
I shared with her my dream of this land
With leaves the size of a horses head
With trees that bled sugar and turned as red as wine
She looked at me and shaked her head
Scolding that all us men ever want is our devil juice
I explained to her it wasn’t so,
She smiled and knew she was scolding the wrong man
I asked her if she would like to join me
An honest man on an honest journey
To a land beyond, to the East
But she had only replied in jest
Saying: “Honey, I’ve got too many mouths to feed.”

I started at a cracking branch
To my left, not 7 meters away,
I looked and staring back at me
Was a moose, hovering way above my head
He was looking straight at me
Antlers standing so tall and proud
Chewing on a tuft of a shrub
That hung down from the left side of his mouth
He snorted softly as he stared at me
Demanding I respect his space
I nodded back, gave a grunt
And quickly scanned the nearby forest
For any signs of a calf around.

My footstep didn’t stop
Rather, they kept along the trail I went
My heart beating loudly in my cool breath
The words of many an elder echoed in my mind:
“Moose are more aggressive then bears.”
I instinctively touched the blade
That rested at my hip
Foolish to think that such a weapon
Could disengage such a large beast so strong
I couldn’t feel the beast charging
Though I looked to check just in case.

I didn’t relax until I was over the next bend
Which didn’t take long to get
The familiar sound of a creek returned to my ears
No longer wise words warning and uncontrolled heartbeat
Echoing through my every breath
I softly observed the old man’s beard
Growing thicker as I descended into the valley below
Moss crawling higher up trunks of the silent giants
Experienced woods folk always say
That the birds will all be silent when there’s a predator around
So the light whistling of the forest’s inhabitants
The unique call of a raven
Calmed my senses once again.

When I reached a small opening
I dipped my hands in and splashed the fresh creek’s water
To my face, to wash the cold sweat that had gathered
I recognized bear droppings
A short distance from where I sat to rest
Looking at least a week old now
No danger for me, at least for the present
But a sign that they are around
And perhaps some tasty berries, too.

part VII

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Moon at Midnight – Part IV (day 1978)

(part III)

As I sat crosslegged in the little clearing
Hidden as I was, deep within the forest
Heading East to the land of the Old People
I wondered about the faces I might see,
Faces of the men and women who would greet me,
Faces of the children playing in fields
And fields growing with the vigor
Only well cared for fields of tender hands can grow
I knew I would find
In the land of the Old People.

Beside me was a little patch of buttercups
That skirted the edge of deeper forest
Fallen logs and fir needles of this land
I could still hear the brook I had crossed
Calmly gurgling in the distance
My canteen still cold from its fill
My belly still churning from its fill
My fingers still wet and a cold
Only fresh mountain water can give,
A cleaning happily taken
Where I had let my bare feet soak gently a while.

My eyes scanned into the forest
Of an age I guessed ageless
Not a stump to be seen
Finding geometry in naturally fallen trees
Trees standing so tall my guess couldn’t reach
Moss covering so gently
I envisioned the industry nestled
Deep within the safety net of moss
That lay about thickly covered forest floor
Fungus’ mycelia layer hidden well
In healthy circles around the Ancient Giants
Old Man’s Beard hanging low
And spider webs zig-zagging
With its delicate fibers of care.

My pouch was always on me
No matter how far from camp I wandered
So as I moved away from my opening
I felt instinctively for my tools
Stepping over former soldiers
Rotting as life continued its circle
Through the efforts of decay
My soft crunch avoided the mounds
Finding edible mushrooms was easy
This early season of harvest
Upon edges of clearings I’d find strawberries
And blueberries and salmonberry brambles
So thick I’d get high
Feeding so heartily on such sugar
I knew it wouldn’t stay forever.

Fire starting was an economy no man could do without
No sane man that is,
For plenty of nights I’d been cold
In pure darkness of deep night,
But this night I had supple moss
And accessible wood dry enough to start
A warming dance in my blood
Soon the coals were hotter then the wood
That burned inside their whispers

My bed was simply a roll
The hard ground was something I was used to
I carried soft fur of a bear
On the top of my bag
Which I’d lay under my roll
To soften each night’s cold
My dream of a sheepskin
I had read about in books
Of old foreign herdsmen roaming
Highlands of Scotland
But I with my simple roll
Laid out on the ground.

part V

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Decompose (day 1943)

I spent all my time
Behave, behave, behave
In a sheltered forest
It rained, it rained, it rained
With lost thoughts
Again, again, again
Tormenting and crackling silence
Echo, echo, echo
So my heart decides
It’s true, it’s true, it’s true
I will grow so tall again
Sky high, sky high, sky high
To do my work I’m here to do
Decompose, decompose, decompose

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