Monday, November 22, 2010

tell the truth deanie!

When I was growing up (in Brookings Oregon) we went to spend a week or so each summer with our family friends in Silverton, Oregon. There were two kids my age and younger, Nedra and Deanie....his name is now Dean and I believe he's the principal at a school in Southern Oregon...ANYWAY, Nedra and I would concoct the imaginative and ingenius (in our minds anyway) escapades paralleled only in adventure movies and these would sometimes go awry...Deanie would follow along because we were older and he just wanted to be part of it. One such time we knocked over a flower pot which broke and left a poor defenseless fern lying on the ground. Their mom came out and immediately asked what happened. Nedra, being a quick thinker, said "Deanie did it" Deanie tried to protest but Nedra looked at him in all earnestness and said "now tell the TRUTH Deanie..."

I share this anecdote as a preface for this: I have a good friend, a spiritual leader who it seems has untold stores of strength in his being...he leads us through funerals and death bed singing and he never wavers from his strength and always has good words of encouragement to share...he stands besides dearly loved relatives and without tears talks about how they lived their life. He talked just last week at the side of my uncle...also his uncle and he said "I start thinking about how hard things are sometimes but I remember my aunt's words, she said no matter how hard it is for you someone else is having a harder time" and he also said "I'm trying not to be  selfish..."

So the truth is, I'm not that strong...I don't have his strength and I don't have his ability to stand in the face of all challenges...I want to. But I don't.

So the truth is: I'm feeling wimpy today and I just wish I could go home. I miss my cousin who would have words of wisdom for me...I miss my friend who would have made me laugh...I just want to go home.

I won't though...and I will learn from this day...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Native American Heritage Month...

I don't want to beat a dead horse but it seems somehow trite to me that this nation has to even HAVE a "Native American Heritage" day...but that's just my opinion

In the spirit of sharing though I want to share about two brave American Indian women from our history...these women touched my heart in the deepest of ways...I hope to one day meet them:

This excerpt is from the book "Yellow Wolf, His Own Story" and is where Yellow Wolf talks about his mother (Yiyik Wasumwah )

My mother could use the gun against soldiers if they

bothered her. She could ride any wild horse and shoot

straight. She could shoot the buffalo and was not afraid

of the grizzly bear.

Also in this same book is another brave woman:


More fortunate, perhaps, than the Nemesis-pursued White Feather

was Halpawinmi (Dawn) . Eighteen or twenty years of age, strong

and handsome in form and physique, and endowed with a beautiful

personality, she was the recognized belle and favorite of her tribe.

Though her brother was killed in her presence, she did not give way

to unavailing grief and lamentation. Disdaining to flee the awful

holocaust about her, she fell while ministering to the wounded and

dying about her.

This is a picture I found of Yellow Wolf's mother...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

pervasive sadness

Two weeks ago my mother passed. this was a sad and intense time for my siblings and I, six brothers and one sister as well as our children extended family. Although it was a sad time, we were also quite thankful for the end of our mother's suffering, she'd fought valiantly against cancer for many, many years. I'm the oldest now...which in so many ways just seems WRONG - wait! I need someone to tell ME what to do too!!!!

I'm sure many are familiar with the pangs that accompany the loss of a great influence in our lives...our mothers, fathers, older siblings, aunties, uncles...but I guess the older I get and the more acquainted I become with the stark reality of the afterlife, I find myself sometimes longing for a glimpse from their side of the my culture we dress our beloved in pure white buckskin clothing so that on that final day as the sun rises, we all will rise with the sun dressed in our finest. We have women who dress the women and men who dress the men and a song is sung throughout this ceremony. As I ran my hand across my mother's final garment I couldn't help but celebrate the fresh whiteness of this dress and I pictured her rising in the sun as a young vibrant woman running to greet the love of her life, my "dad" Wes who passed over a year ago. I picked up her little moccasins for her feet were much like mine...round and short...I had to smile at imagining her dancing with my dad.

So although there is a pervasive sadness in the loss, I feel a great joy on her behalf as well as an excitement to the core of my being for MY day to take that journey although I do intend to hang around here for quite some time first.

My little brother (little brother being almost 40)called me this morning and when I answered the phone all I could hear was him trying not to cry...I thought for a second "how am I going to do this...I don't have this kind of  I wish I would have told him about these moments I had considered about our mother, I believe I will...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


dang! it was BUSY!!!!
but very promising:-)


riotous celebration of color - Warm Springs, Oregon

Showing off for company - Hood River, Oregon

One aspect of home...

I do love to see a storm cleanses the spiritual palate

I'm sure you know I can't get enough of sunsets

with the changing weather comes cozy fires

driving home on a cloudy day...the colors just called to me

again the sunset lights the skies from my home

a blurry colorful shot on a sunday drive

my "auntie" Umatilla River with the blues in the background

silvery amazingness

Friday, November 12, 2010

Homeless for the Holidays...

The other day my brother and I were driving down the road, I was talking about getting some things together for the homeless shelters I know of in that city we go to so often...I like to put little packages together and not bring them to the shelter, that seems so sterile and not in the true spirit of giving, I like to bring the gifts down to the streets inhabited by these wandering souls...

Another one of my brilliant career choices included during my late teen years about three years of homelessness. This was brought on by some faulty choices and failed attempts at "living free." Homelessness didn't make me sad, but during the holidays, I would see people's lights going up on their homes and in some neighborhoods as I walked through I could smell the scent of cookies being baked as it wafted through the comfy looking homes out into the street. I lived in an area (in the city) near a bakery, my dwelling was next to a bridge piling and was constructed from boxes and a big rain poncho I found somewhere. The smell of bread baking each Wednesday night comforted me and I would sleep well knowing that SOMEWHERE someone was getting freshly baked bread. My homey little soul would pick up small holiday decorations dropped and left by others in sundry places and I would put these around my "home." I would be cheered (the human spirit is RESILIENT) by some semis as they roared down the freeway with brightly light trailers. I knew I was homeless, I knew it was the "holidays" and I felt a sense of longing like no other when I could see the merriment on faces walking by in utter disregard of my plight.

All of this came back to me when I had mentioned to my brother what I wanted to do with my Christmas money and he responded "oh they don't know what season it is out there, they chose to live in that life and they don't care about the holidays..." so I shared with him about my different holidays in the streets and he was very thoughtful about that and he commented afterwards "well you'd never know that they might feel like that unless you heard if from someone who had been there!"

Not everyone you see in the streets chose to be there...they can't all "just go and get a job" and they often are ashamed of their plight rather than reveling in their "freedom," I'm so thankful for what I have today...I'm thankful for my family and friends...I'm thankful to be able to sit and write this small token of recognition for the forgotten world out there and I hope that as they say by writing it, I'll remember it more closely.