Tag Archives: Moose

Jon-Jon Wood Oak (day 2085)

These days are long, my son
The grass hardly grows
And we must be keen and aware
To find what has been left
From the summer’s growing
See these cat tails?
They will do you very good
But the birch, poplar, and willow
Those will do.
For we are not the only ones
Looking for sustenance
In these cold, blizzardy days
No, let this be a reminder
That when the food is plenty
In the warm summer days of green
To eat and eat and eat some more,
For winter’s sure to come again
And we survive, oh, we do survive
We are survivors on what has been stored
During the summer days of green.

Moose watercolour painting by Ned Tobin

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 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

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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Tall and Proud (day 1007)

My loop was changed in a way today
Mother Natures wiles can only do;
A moose tall and proud
Was found casually chewing
Some left over shoots from the fall.
He looked at me, and I looked at him,
And we both carried on with our days.

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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