Hiawatha (day 2270)

Oh Hiawatha how you lend my heart to sadness
How you’ve been so great and noble
To your finest friends and people
How your handmade birch canoe
Rose and fell within the waters
How your willow bow and arrow
So skilled and faithful fed you
But in spite your faithful service
Your ever fearless journey
Dear sweet Minnehaha
Sent off to the blessed land
From a winter hunger fever
From her life so taketh your heart.
And loneliness then cometh
Though we all know just as seasons
So must come and go our good friends
Chibiabos, Kwasind and all kinfolk
And so we must take to remember
Four nights we must take care to
Send them off with mindful firelight
Four nights must we wake to stoke
Campfire for their journey.
How so easy it is to forget
All your deeds of strength and honour
Clearing rivers of their boulders
Catching Nahma, the sturgeon
In unnecessary tumult,
Fighting gravely the Pearl Feather
Fighting Megissogwon
That lived past the black pitch-water
Where fiery serpents gathered,
How Kahgahgee tried to
Take out Hiawatha’s corn fields
But how Hiawatha captured
Kahgahgee, the raven
And killed all the crows who plotted
With Kahgagee to
Cause destruction to his people.
So then why did you have to
Sail off in the Big-Sea-Water
Gitche Gumee shining brightly
So no more the sun would rise
Brightly on your wigwam, Hiawatha?

Worn Sun (day 2246)

I watched the sun set today
My worn legs took me to the edge of the world
Where I ran my finger over horizon lines
That achingly waltzed a deep pink hue of gold.
The last drops of sunlight are transfixing
They speak of ancient willows blowing in the wind,
Of ancestors who worked fields with their hands,
Of patio chairs rocking back and forth
Transfixed by the first sips of a perspiring cider.
Then, darkness calls;
Outstretched hands tracing my jawline
Caressing my sore back with nimble fingers
Jarring my consciousness with fading memories
Like static visions lifting stars into place
And a wind dying down for rest.

Guiding Star (day 2236)

Carry my soreness to the stars.

Once a dream where I believed
Where I looked North to find my light
The loon gave me my deepest hope
And I fell asleep alone.

Wind came and woke my dream
A start but I held strong
To a lonely birch tree waving slowly
As sun rose my heart again.

By midday with tea so cool
A flock of geese led my gaze
I floated on the shore’s tranquil
A willow shading as I heard your name.

To the North I looked for my guiding star.

I Am Tired (day 2178)

I am tired
Like a sunset breeze
Bending thin shoots
On an old willow tree.
With every step I take
Dust circles out
From my heavy footfall,
And a choir of baritone singers
Follow me
Amidst my stretching shadow
And slumping aura
Saying hello to heaven.
My hands lightly rest
Upon a peeling fence post
Heavily feeling the paint
Crackle at my touch.
From this angle
From the seat of my
Creaking rocking chair
I look out over the grassy horizon
And slowly wander off
With a happy trailing thought.

Wildflower (day 2116)

Dancing through the Kingdom of Joy
Alone, the rupture had a sentence
A package of unexpected buoyancy
Laid about thy path.

Oh, shame shame the clouds have come
Accept thy fate and look back no more
Forgive each breath you once deplored
Let run deep thy river’s mane.

Stepping aside, a willow tree
Called thy name twice in vain
But on the third day, as time began
A shift in conscience pulled at thee.

Then with a rod of sixfold and reel
Twang at last, the pauper’s gold
Gifting all that had been told
Left alone in a field of wildflowers.

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXXIV (day 2028)

(part XXXXXIII)

By the morning nearly all of Willow’s left ribs
Were as blue as the night sky
We laughed with her about the size and colour
But laughing for her
Was the worst thing and made her
Double over in pain
But doubling over would hurt, too,
So she was certainly in a way.

We decided we would go home
Lily, Willow, myself, and Moon Cow
To make sure that Willow would be ok
She insisted that she wanted to keep going
But I said we might as well wait a week or two
Until she was better
She finally agreed
Mostly because the pain she felt
Made her thoughts jumble
And overwhelmed her
As she tried to make a decision.

Two days of walking lightly
With no noteworthy events to speak of
It was quite fun having the little bear cub
But we weren’t really sure what to do with it
We finally agreed
After Lily became so attached to it
That we would keep it
Until it became a problem
But Moon Cow advised that it might become
Even more of a problem
Once it was familiar with us
And most likely would never leave
Our village
I suggested it would be a good guard,
Lily named him Little Bird
Because he was shy like a bird.

When we arrived home
There was quite the commotion
About why we were home so soon
And also about the bear cub
And then further when everybody found out
About Willow!
It was definitely right that we returned
As there was a constant stream of people
Healers
In and out of the teepee
To tend to her and make sure that she
Had everything she could possible need
To heal her
It got so much so
That she began to get frustrated
At everybody telling her to sit still
And relax
She was clearly anxious to get up
To walk around!

Within a week the blue was fading
And it was still hurting her
But much less then initially.

(part XXXXXV)

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXXIII (day 2027)

(part XXXXXII)

As Willow lay on the ground motionless
Both Moon Cow and I put two more arrows
Into the belly of the mama bear as she stood up
Which shook her enough
To make her turn around and start walking off
With her baby now
In front of her and moving away
Moon Cow motioned to me to tend to Willow
And he slowly followed the bear
Putting two more arrows into her
Before she finally collapsed some distance beyond
The edge of the clearing.

When he came back to us
He had the bear cub by ruff of its baby neck
I was minding to Willow
Who didn’t have any cuts or bruises
That I could see immediately
But she was whiter then a ghost
And not responding to me
Knocked out I could only guess
By this time, Lily was up and out of her bed
Very worried about her mother
To keep her busy
I asked her to clean up what the bear had knocked down
And if she could, a cup of tea for her mother
I took some of the sweet mint leaves
And rubbed them together under her nose
Which slowly brought some colour back to her face
Her breathing became more dominant
And her eyes opened
And the first thing she said was
Is Lily ok?

I smiled at her and said Lily was right here
Who came over and lay down next to her mom
With a blanket in her hand
That she wrapped around the two of them
Clearly shaken and trying to be brave
I asked Willow if anything hurt
She said she couldn’t really tell
So I started with getting her to wiggle her toes
Which she was able to
Then I asked her to rock her feet slowly
From side to side
Which she was able to
I then pinched her toes
Which she said she could feel
So I declared she was going to live
And everybody laughed a little bit,
Including Willow
Which immediately made her wince in pain
Pointing to her stomach.

Through a process of poking and prodding
I eventually concluded that she had broken a rib or two
I was relieved (and so was she)
That when she next peed
There was no blood in it
We both knew what that would mean.

We decided to take the day
To decide which direction we should go
To Frank and Amy’s, where they had a warm house
And all the care we could ask for
This was still about a two days walk
If Willow wasn’t going to be able to ride a horse,
The other option was to head back to the village
Which would be about a days walk from here
Maybe two, if it was really hard for her to walk
Moon Cow proposed we make a sleigh
For her to ride in
But I knew that that would be no more comfortable
Then her riding the horse
And Willow agreed with this
So we decided that walking
Would be the smartest route for her.

By the end of the day
Willow was able to walk around
In moderate comfort
And we could definitely see the bruising starting to form
On her left rib area
Where the bear had collided nearly full charge.

(part XXXXXIV)

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXXVIII (day 2022)

(part XXXXVII)

As Spring rolled around
Gurgling and bubbling and thawing and sprouting
We were all very excited
To feel the warmth on our faces
Without it nipping as frost bite
It was nice to have the first potluck of Spring
With what everybody had left
From their deep winter stores
I had just, a few days prior,
Found some fresh fiddle heads
That we fried up in some buffalo fat
And made lots of fresh stinging nettle tea
Which was a real nice treat for everybody that got some
Before they were all eaten up.

Mountain Chief had made a journey again
To talk to some of the other Chiefs
And learned more of the oppression
The U.S. Army and Government were bringing down
Upon the First Nation tribes
All along the continent,
That pleased none of us to hear
And we had a few nights of discussions about
If we should relocate even further into the mountains
But that soon died down with news
That the U.S. Army were focusing
Most of their efforts
Further to the East
On the other side of the Prairies
Mountain Chief continued to hold his stance
That we would side with neither the warring tribes
Or the U.S. Army as scouts.

Through the winter, Willow had been busy
Making new moccasins with the deer hide
We had caught in the Autumn
For us to wear in the new season
But we all refused to wear them
Until the thaw had finished
None of us wanted to ruin them
In the lingering wetness!
But every morning as I’d wake up
I would see them sitting there
Nearly gleaming in the darkness of the teepee
Waiting for me to put them on
I couldn’t help but think to myself
How much I now felt part of this family
How much they had accepted me
How much we all loved each other.

part XXXXIX

Moon at Midnight – Part XXXI (day 2005)

(part XXX)

Willow’s best friend was named Mercy
Mercy’s man’s name was Long Arrow
And he was one of the most skilled hunter and tracker
I had ever hunted with
By now I had learned enough Pikanii
To be able to communicate on a basic level
As we walked – Long Arrow, Moon Cow and I –
Through the forest hunting
They were both mostly silent
Making subtle gestures and wild bird calls I envied
But when they were feeling like sharing
They would point and teach me words
Of things I wouldn’t learn
Sitting around inside a teepee.

At our new home, Mercy and Long Arrow
Would join us around the fire on many evenings
Long Arrow was less of a story teller then Moon Cow
But it was nice to have him around
And we all became very close to one another
They had two boys
That were a few years older then Lily
And it was clear that one of them
Would become her man when the moon spoke so,
The eldest was Runs Wild and the younger was Big Moon.

Life was good here, and I felt like I belonged
More so, I felt like I had a part
In keeping the family together
I was helpful, strong and eager
And in a family who lives off the land
That is always a benefit
Plus, I quickly became pretty good
At hunting with a bow
And was able, most days, to bring home food
The others also accepted me
At first I could definitely see them wondering who I was
And what I was doing there
But eventually they all knew me by name
And smiled when they saw me, not scowled
It definitely helped that I was Willow’s man
For she was loved by everybody
That much was clear.

I often wondered to myself
If this was the answer to my journey East
That had started the year before
Before I had met Amy, Frank and Clarinet
And before I had met the Blackfoot
Before I had met Willow, Lily and Moon Cow
It seemed so long ago now
So much of a lonely journey
That was now so much past me
But there was still something inside of me
That called me further East again
I wasn’t quite sure what it was
Or why it was
Only that there was something that I was missing
That I kept seeing in visions
And I knew that it was only a matter of time
Before I journeyed further East
To meet who I knew I was to meet.

part XXXII