Tuesday, April 14, 2009

interpretive dance...

Okay...the funny thing about it is, much of what we know is truly our interpretation of tangibles. We ignore the intangibles blithely leaving that dimension to the "special ones" who seem to know intuitively what it all means...
What you may not know is that long ago, before the Separation of Waters, horses, deer, all animals indeed could speak or perhaps I should say, we humans could understand these languages spoken.
It's said though,that horses in particular had a deeper understanding of their surroundings and while you may not know this, horses are quite opinionated and have rich egos; you rarely see a horse who thinks less than highly of himself!
There's a shetland pony we pass by each day, we call him "Meanhead" because everyone knows shetland ponies are mean. He always looks grumpy but often greets us with a grumpy smile and offer of some of his luscious Crunch. He doesn't know that we call it grass and deem it best for walking on with bare feet, because he's a pony for pete's sake.
This morning he called out his greeting to us and added a chuckle, "hey, look at these dumb Books! They just won't get out of my way today." Books? You may exclaim, "what does a pony know of Books?" Here's the story on that issue:
Chickens are also highly opinionated. They take their opinions and share them far and wide, they also listen though to those they share with and gain a greater knowledge from this exchange. Horses, for lack of a better expression and not knowing them as Chickens, took to calling them Books for they had heard long ago of these tomes of information available to many, read by few and far more vailuable than seen by their small size. Thus, to horses, chickens are seen as Books for they are full of information gathered from far and wide...
I digress.
If you listen closely at dusk - or as my son calls it "blue dark" you can hear the chatter of these noble creatures - from horses, who can be heard telling each other with a tired sigh "my pigs are KILLING me" (please don't ask me how horses came to call their hooves pigs, that's something I prefer not to divulge at this juncure); you can hear the cats telling the dogs "you're so wise with your wagging tail, come closer to me, I will bless you with my paw" and you and I both iknow they fully intend on exercising their sharpened claws on the poor trusting dog, thankfully,he just smiles benignly and turns his back to the cat. You might also hear the Frogs heralding in the coming of Spring and the bossy Swallow mothers teasing the cat "you thought you had it but you DIDN'T"
Remember? It's all about the interpretation...

Monday, April 13, 2009

the truth about cats and dogs

I would like to take it all back...

that time I laughed at ____ for weeping distraughtly over the loss of her cat and for taking a WEEK off work for funeral leave. that time I mocked ___ for offering his dog a sandwich at the same time he was having his lunch...that time I snickered at ___ for putting a little sweater on her dog to go out to the mail box...for all those times we chuckled at Grandma Clara and her miserable mutt Missy (Greg called her Pissy) and to Schultz, THANK YOU for remembering me after I'd been gone for years already...and Sam, for taking care of me in the middle of the night you know those years...and for Rags who licked my wounds when no one else saw them...

The truth about cats and dogs is this: there is no other love like that of your pet. Humans will fail you - they will hurt you and not look back or they will hurt you and stand by to watch you bleed...humans will shit talk you to no end behind your back but turn and hug you when you walk in the door - a dog would never do this. humans will laugh at you when you fall and yet expect you to give them a helping hand when THEY do, a dog will come and wag her tail when you fall, thinking this is some new game of wonderous joy to play.

Oh don't get me wrong, humans have their dignity and faithfulness, strengths and wonder;

One of my favorite sayings is: How to be like your dog
Give everyone a warm welcome.
Say hello to everyone you meet.
Be able to forgive and forget.
Love your family and friends unconditionally.
Be loyal.
Be a shoulder to cry on.
Help people to calm down when they are angry.
Live life to the fullest each day.
Enjoy being outdoors! Go for a walk!
Take a nap whenever and wherever you feel like it!
Never hold a grudge.
Never stop enjoying life.
Have a strong sense of justice
Play around with others (ex. teasing them in a nice way.)
Try to please others

Dedicated to Daisy (aka Fairy aka Debbie aka Naughty Pocket) you were deeply loved and you'll be sorely missed

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

big big world

There are times I think when we all get a little too burrowed into our little zones. This isn't wisdom of course, this leads to foolish decisions based on blind conjecture. I say this because to my surprise, I found that that the "obesity crisis" in this nation is far greater than prevention of childhood obesity, trying to make sure and get my 3 20 minute walks in each day, cautioning my son against that extra salt and butter, encouraging my daughter to her Pilates class...

What brought this to the forefront of my feeble mind is an article posted on another site by one of my most respected friends in the world - his wife and daughter were pictured at a spinning class and the article was on the prevention of Type II Diabetes. It had not occurred to me before this, that Type II Diabetes affects the non-Indian community...silly myopic me...I then looked to find more information:

(well apparently I'm challenged today and cannot post the links here I wanted to.)

Oregon panel seeks effort against obesity, diabetes
News From Indian Country - Tuesday, 07 April 2009

My eyes are opened a little more today - it's not that much of a big deal but in my search to learn at least one new thing each day I realized I must raise the blinds to my windows if I actually WANT to look out

Monday, April 6, 2009

what's in a name?

There are many reasons we Indians get our "Indian names" I won't discuss them here because I'm not free to but I DO wish to share the immense depth of this weekend's activities.

My brother took a new name. He's a tribal leader, a longhouse singer, a "big drum" singer, a horseman, a master weaver, beadworker, teacher and an avid stickgame player. His father was a very intelligent man and descneded from the gentleman for whom the small town in Washington was named "Kalama." My brother has many families, for he was raised from infancy by an amazing woman, his mother Laura - I never did meet her but not one day goes by that I don't give thanks that she was the one who nurtured him, disciplined him, loved him and gave him the sense of character he carries so well. I am also thankful for his grandmas, his cousin (and mine) Hinmahtoomseeloo, who further taught him and insructed him in weaving, beadwork and "the things we do and do not do." My brother was blessed with many strong people who poured their wisdom into his intuitive and receptive mind. Much laughter and many stories were told to him as he grew up. He also endured many losses and sadness which built in him a resilience beyond his years. Of course there's our birth mother to whom we owe our genes. Thanks mom.

This is how the story goes: last Fall we were preparing to name my oldest son and in the course of events, we at one point thought we might need to pick a different name than what we were planning on. Because my brother is the leader in our family, we looked to him for solutions. At one point he spoke with our elder and asked for the translation of a name he might use. When he came to my office that day to discuss this name. As he described it he struck out with his hand and the strength and animation in him was electric. I knew this name was not for my son, it was for my brother so I said to him then "that's YOU, YOU are that one, not Michael..." he laughed and said "I already HAVE a name" and I asked him "do we take other names though?" and he said "yes" and named several people who had carried multiple names. I asked him if he'd give this new name consideration and he said "yes" I then called our brother Darryl, also a leader in our family, and the one we look to for family decisions and Darryl agreed that this name was a good one for Michael Ray to take and that the timing was right.

Taking a name is no small endeavor. Gifts for Elders, drummers, hunters, cooks, family, friends, visitors - and our family places great importance that as much as possible these gifts be handmade rather than commercial. We started meeting each Tuesday for "craft night" in which many of these gifts were made; weaving, sewing, stringing necklaces; making moccasins...the projects seemed never ending and as soon as one got finished a new one was immediately cut or patterned or laid out...many nights of laughter and stories ensued and will continue - for after one naming another comes along...our "bundle" closet grew and grew and yet as the time drew near I worried endlessly that we just "didn't have ENOUGH."

Days before the naming ceremony I was sitting at home working on my brother's outfit that he would wear on his big day...my fingers were sore from all the sewing, I was tired beyond belief and in the depth of my heart I was afraid I might do something wrong, I looked up at my cousin's picture hanging on our wall..."I wish you were here...I wish you could tell me how to do this" and he just remained there with his implacable smile...in my mind I could see Nellie, one of our beloved Aunties who is also gone; "LISTEN TO HER, she's asking you for help!" Nellie smacked my cousin...it made me laugh to dream of such nonsense and with that laughter came a new burst of energy and resolve. This will be okay.

One by one the extra kids arrive from Portland, and with them two of the grand-daughters! Kyla and Nellie lit up our hearts with their baby smiles and working into the night was much easier all the sudden. Jilly and Taryn and Lee and Angela burst in with their youthful vigor bringing more stories - raucous banter rang from room to room in our home...The sun rose on Saturday, beautiful sparkly joy lighting up colorful spring wheat and shy tulip bulbs peeking quietly out into the prairie song...off to the longhouse in our best dresses and moccasins...songs rang out and the smell of freshly fried bread and deer meat wafted throughout all the ceremonies. Our auntie's name came first, her grandma's name from long ago - words of history and stories about her doings were spokena and then it was our turn.

Strong stories and history were laid out by each speaker as our carefully woven and prepared gifts were given. Each piece told yet another facet of my brother's life and what was to be expected of him from this day forward. Laughter and more songs and then time to eat.

...and now my brother has his new name. It was an amazing day.