Ah, pelaawi (summertime). It’s a wonderful season and, no two ways around it, it’s my favorite. I mean, I enjoy fall and spring, but man, it seems that the older I get, the more I dislike papoonwi (winter). Yep, and I think it’s because, as I age, everything moves faster except this season. Days fly by, months and years zoom away, but winter… is the only thing that actually seems to slow down… and take longer every year. This irony of fast and slow and its parallel of quiet and noisy made me ponder on a recent trip. I was once more instilled with the serenity that only the wonderfully natural contradictions employ… when supplied solely… by the Master of Life. Continue reading
Ah… the time of Msh-ka-tiwi Kiishthwa – the Raspberry Moon. The little ones have gained their parole from school after nine long months of hard labor. Cooking outdoors has become the norm, family vacations are afoot and fishing… goes into high gear. I do like catching panfish with a pole. Yep, I have a fond affinity for fly and lure fishing for panfish, just like my ancestors did. Sure, good ole agomo-wewebanaabii (fishing), goes back a long ways in this land. Continue reading
This month marks the Strawberry Moon for my Shawnee people. It’s a month of melo’kami (spring). It’s a time when kesathwa (the sun) rises up earlier in the weta’kathaki (east) and spreads long-awaited warmth. The color of dark wipe-kwa ‘ (gray) is traded for brilliant shades of shkipa-kishee-ya (green). It is a time of new life – when all foliage bursts forth in bud. Every wild one – from the wie-skil-lo-tho (bird) to the wa-a-koce’thi (fox) to the name’tha (fish) – is bearing its young. Spring is the time of new beginnings within the life circle, and yet… it is still … only a continuance of the roundness. Continue reading
Recently, my 90-year old mom crossed over. She and I had been close – very, very close – for all of my life. But that nasty creature, Alzheimer’s… had slowly started stealing her from me, from all of us… seven years ago. That said, the Master of Life was running the show, and this lady so loved His productions – she truly did. She was an incredibly beautiful lady of fine manners and tremendous faith, who never uttered a curse word, and who possessed a solidly independent nature. She walked her own walk – always. She was comfortable, in her home, when she left this Earth Mother to be with Him. We’re all so grateful for the Creator’s grace for this. At the funeral home, they asked if she was Native American, and I said yeah, she sure was, and… she… walked only… where she wanted. Continue reading
Ah, wa’kanakya (white) is everywhere and the coonee (snow) covers all. Pepoonwi (winter) is heavy all around us. Yep, and for those so inclined, it’s time to head out onto the solid water for a little much-quom-me na-me-tha-kie (ice fishing). As a rule, I’m not big on this sport, eh. I’ve always been more of a hunter than an angler, and, although I do really like fishing for panfish and bass in the summer, I figure that it’s because I can look at the terrain and see the cover and what is happening below in the water. Well, it’s that, and the fact that I’m not shivering like a naked jaybird frozen to a bird feeder. Heck, many is the time I’ve been on patrol as a private game warden, and had to check ice anglers, fishing out in the open on frozen water. I’ve always felt sorry for them. I mean, they sit for hours out on the ice over a spudded hole, their eyes blurry from frigid and blustery winds, shivering from the extreme cold. All the while, they’re staring at a tip-up… hoping beyond hope… that the little flag will pop-up, eh. Oh, they always look up – happy as can be – and smile at me through rattling teeth so go figure. Well, not me – thanks. Nope, I’m just not a fan of that kind’a ice fishing. But now, angling from a much-quom-me gah-beshi-goog-wahdeg-in (fishing tent), well, that’s not too shabby a pastime, hmm? Continue reading
Well, Pepoonwi (Winter)… is upon us. It is the time of the howling m’weowa (wolf), and, with the end of 2012, we also had the last “Blue Moon” until 2015, too. Sure, that Blue Moon passed on New Year’s Eve, December 31 st . Of course, we could always have another. I mean, say, for instance, if a courageous, honest, decent and honorable politician were to suddenly pop up! Well, then, heck… that would be a ‘Once in a Blue Moon’ event, eh. Continue reading
Ah Christmas – the anniversary of the Christ Child’s birth. It is… a very sacred time – and also a very happy time. It’s a period to stop, think and wonder… at the graciousness of His arrival here upon the Earth Mother. Yes’sir, and in a world – and a time – when so much is being done – daily – to denounce Him, His father and what they… stand for… it’s always nice to reflect upon the birth of Jesus every year. We must restate this reverence annually – at least I do, anyhow. Happiness is what the day and season mean. And as goofy as it may seem, I see similarities between the Christmas celebration and Traditional American Indians’ celebrations all the time. Most of us see it as CHRISTmas – not Christmas. Continue reading
It begins with a time of vibrant and vivid color that explodes everywhere. Golden yellows, crimson reds, cinnamon browns and jade greens form brilliant kaleidoscopes all around us. This is Ta-kwa-aki – Fall. As it moves on, the missiskie (leaves) fall from the te-quis (trees). As the woods become bare, and the atmosphere takes on a cool briskness that is fresh and alive in sharpness. All of this is accented by the darting scarlet of the cardinal wiskilo’thas (birds). Kesathwa (the sun) flashes on winging nika’s (geese) as they fill the skies with their singing voices. But at its zenith, when all of the color has all shifted to muted grays, blacks and browns, and the harvest is ending, there comes the time of dormancy. This is when the te-quis (trees), at-chi-tamons (chipmunks) and magwas (bears) go to sleep. But while most things are covering up, snuggling tightly for the papoon’wi (winter) ahead, the peshikthe – the deer – are wide awake. And the chech-atonga – the hunters – well, they are, too.
Late last summer, I changed the submission of this in an effort to concentrate more on my novel writing. Events do pop up in two-legged life that necessitate priority shifts, and that is why this particular Bear’s Den is even later than usual. As an Inter-Tribal Elder, one of my missions is sending whispers to the Master of Life. I pray for, and request murmurs for, many people – most of whom I have never met.
Several weeks back, though, I sent out a prayer request for one I do know and love dearly – my older brother, Joey. He had been diagnosed with cancer, from out of the blue, and it was Stage Four. He had a spot on his lung and a brain lesion. His wife is on disability, and there was no way that she that could handle this alone. Such a diagnosis of the wicked thing called cancer is an emotional, mental, physical, financial and familial conundrum of massive proportions for anyone so touched by the malady. But in addition to all of these things, my brother also has custody of his two young grandchildren. So, I dropped all other things and stepped in to help – anyway that I could. I know that the Master of Life opens doors. He expects us two-leggeds to find these passages and then go through them. I began looking for the gates.
The other day, I parked my patrol jeep in the shade of a large white oak, inside an empty parking lot. It was quiet, and I wanted to catch up on my reports. The day was warm and sultry and kesathwa (the sun) had been playing hide and seek with the clouds. But as I sat writing, kesathwa finally quit the kid’s game and shone brightly – everywhere. Movement caught my attention out on the sunny pavement. Small lemon butterflies were suddenly flitting about out there in the brightness, tap-dancing on the asphalt. And into this mix, one lone cha’nsops (grasshopper) winged in, and began hop-flying about, too. Then, as I watched, a brown wiski’lotha (bird) dropped from a high limb above. It drifted down like a discarded hanky, in a slow float, to land upon its feet amongst the bugs. It was a female cardinal, and, although she could’ve tagged any of the numerous butterflies for a meal, she only wanted that grasshopper. Up and down – up and down. Yes’sir, and right then and there, I figured that she was a Menominee bird.