Awake Seed (day 2450)

Who falls awake at night
Who lets the dreams stay away
Who brings the evening deep inside
Furrow brows some more

Who has time to wish away
Pine tree growing on the land
Little death beside a hearth
Rose denied its breath

Let wisdom become silence here
To tired awake at night
Needles upon the forest floor
In a hand, a growing seed

One Lady (day 2217)

I was a sailor broken down
Two bags of silver from the crown
One Lady yonder missing me
And two days more I’d run from ground
But even with a bag of gold
I called out loud when setting sail
For o’r the breakers I was sure to see
A land I’d not know, adventure to me
And surely a maiden calling out to be
Another Lady missing me.

Tobacco Pipe Dreams (day 2141)

I carried your tobacco pipe
Like a diamond on my mind,
Two puffs and a closed grip
Ricochet all security
Through the back door:
Creak creak.

And we pass it on
As night songs
From a holy tent with a view
That lisps night skies
Through dreams of a far off land
Whispering endlessly.

But hold me, hold on
Hold the flowers
Growing here so wild
In the palm of your hand
Until it stains your closed grip
The colour of my dream.

Tobacco Pipe Dreams by Ned Tobin

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 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 XXXXV (day 2019)

(part XXXXIV)

The Winter season is a time of slowing down
Snow comes and one can no longer roam freely
Through the forests
Paths are easily identified,
Packed down by the feet that use them
If you venture off the path
One can expect a mukluk full of snow
However, in thick forest
The trees can stop a lot of snow from coming down
Even in the middle of Winter
One can find fairly shallow snow.

Upon the snowscapes
It just takes a few days of no snow
For tracks to criss-cross the land
It’s a trackers dream to see
Little paw prints going from here to there
Rabbits are usually the first to show up
And deer are always there too
It goes a long way to track in the Winter
Even if just for fun
To learn the patterns of the animal you’re tracking.

By mid Winter we had found our routines once again
In the village footpaths would go
From teepee to teepee
Making an elaborate maze of singletracks
My structured mind actually enjoyed
Seeing the perfectly followed and stamped down footpaths
Destroyed by some shenanigans
Most likely two kids playing rough
One getting thrown into the snow
Or sidestepping and falling as they let
An elder pass along the trail.

On the warmer days
Willow and I would sit outside our teepee
Drinking tea we had collected
From the root of the burdock plant
And the nettle that stings,
Both plants abundant in forests here
We shared a lot of information
About our past, about our knowledge of the land
She learned a lot of English in these days
And I learned Pikanii
We would point to things
And then try to remember before the other would,
Sometimes Lily would sit with us
She knew it was important for her to know English
The more white man like myself settled into the territory
There was no use trying to fight that
Even Mountain Chief knew this
Moon Cow, being fairly fluent in English
Had already been teaching Lily
Before I had arrived.

part XXXXVI

Moon at Midnight – Part XXIX (day 2003)

(part XXVIII)

Frank showed up on the first day
He came riding alone
And the scouts had recognized him
Knowing he was coming to us
They knew he was our friend
He spoke to Willow, Moon Cow and I
He said that he didn’t like
What news he had heard of the U.S. Army
Their movement was just too weird
And it seemed like they were gearing up
For a big militia action
He wanted me to know
That he, Amy and Lily
Would happily let us stay with them
Until everything blew over
I told him our plans
Of what Mountain Chief had told us
And that he would certainly see us in the coming months
He understood we couldn’t leave our family
At this time anyways
Without first supporting the migration effort
We had lots of organizing yet to do
So he gave us a token of his friendship
To help us on our way
A knife of fine Swiss steel
His father-in-law had recently given him.

The evening of the second day
We took our teepees down and began walking
Silently into the darkness
The horses carried a lot of the loads
With thongs strapping poles and
Leather skins across their backs
We moved quickly
As our family was very used to walking
Not like settlers
Walking in their fancy Victorian rags
And raggedy old wagons.

We walked for three days to the West
Into the heart of mountain country
It was colder in the foothills
Then out where we came from in the plains
But I loved the trees
Lots of jack pine
With big ol’ needles on them
Covering the ground that we walked on
Very nice and easy on the horse hooves.

We stopped in a valley
North of where Mountain Chief said
The U.S. Army would patrol
He knew the valley as a good hunting ground
That his fathers’ fathers hunted it
And it was far enough off of any regular trail
That it would be very hard for anybody
To find us
And over the next few weeks we
Began making ourselves acquainted with the land.

part XXX

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