Winter was cold and long
But we had each other and lots of buffalo meat
So what else could a person ask for?
Moon Cow would very often come over
To our teepee and we would all talk,
Moon Cow being the interpreter most of the time
We would go walking when we could
Through the snow following tracks here and there
It became a game on the nice days
On the cold days it was a chore
But there is no other way
When you live off the land.
I spent a lot of time learning Pikanii that winter
A lot of my white man words
Neither Willow nor Moon Cow could comprehend
Things they just had never seen
They had a beautiful language
That spoke mostly of what was important
They were all eager to learn my language too
So they could prosper with the traders
That would return in the spring.
The family grew accustomed to me
Seeing my familiar face around
And as I learned new words
I would usually surprise them when I would comment
On something they were doing,
Or just friendly greetings, smiling as we passed each other.
Willow didn’t cook as good as Moon Cow did
But Willow had a wider vocabulary of herbs and spices
That I greatly appreciated
Especially when it came to fighting off colds
For Willow also knew medicines well
She taught me how to identify many
By sight and by smell
And I would accompany her when we would wander about
Looking for roots and bulbs through the winter
As treats for our palette.