Sunday, October 30, 2016

A waiting time #phenology

Summer is gone. Autumn colors are well past their peak. Much of the harvest is in. More and more bare branches reach into overcast skies. Humming birds and butterflies have moved on. And yet--

several dozen hard to see sandhill cranes near treeline
several dozen hard to see sandhill cranes near treeline
Photo by J. Harrington

Waterfowl and cranes are still around in numbers. Songbirds gather on telephone wires and murmur in the air. All the local waters are open. Temperatures hover in the 50s and 40s. There's no snow cover as yet. Nature seems paused between seasons, as if catching her breath before tending to the rigors of Winter. The feeling is more pensive than the lazy idleness of a warm Summer evening, but the sense of having earned a rest after the immediate chores are caught up is there. And yet --

Winter's harsh winnowing time is still ahead. Election results may, or may not, soon be settled. Now is a season to collect ourselves with who and what we care about, and be grateful for any peace at hand or promised. Soon it will be time to give thanks for what we have been blessed with this year and, for those who keep them, to do a Winter Count. For many, I hope this will be the year of Standing Rock, NoDAPL and the power of cooperation. May next year then become known as a year when People and Places Healed together.

Wearing Indian Jewelery


By Heid E. Erdrich


I was wondering why that guy
wore the blanket coat, bone choker, rock
watch, woven buckle, quilled Stetson—
I was wondering why he wore
that beaded vest, like a ledger drawing
or a Winter Count, its skinny figure
forever sneaking after two bison
around belly to back,
around back to belly—
I was wondering why, when he said,
I wear these getups every day—
Every day, because these things
are sacred, these things are prayer.

Then I knew I could live this life
If I had blue horses
painted around and around me,
shells and beads like rain in my ear
praying Prairie open in me
at stoplight, hard city, last call, bank line,
coffee break, shopping cart, keycode,
Prarie open in me
Prarie open in me
every day every day every day.


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