And for music for Juneteenth: Nina Simone Mississippi Goddamn.
I wrote this story today. I am not Native American. As far as I know, I am white, but then, I have not done any genetic testing so who knows? This was inspired by a poem of the same title: https://everything2.com/user/etouffee/writeups/Bears+all+his+sons+away%253B
I am wailing. I am crying. The Bear came today, our bear, the tribe’s bear, our Spirit.
But he didn’t just walk through camp and take fish and his tribute.
He took my son.
He walked right up to where my wife stood still, as we must when he comes, and he lifted the boy in his paws. The boy was quiet and still, he did well, he was brave, but when the bear turned to leave, he called once.
Then our bear dropped to three legs, my son in the fourth, and turned and left.
My son, my son, my heart, my joy. Spirit Bear, return him to me!
We fought, argued, for a very short time. The Shaman said that if Spirit Bear wants my son, he shall have him.
He does have him, I said, but I want him back. The Shaman knew that was true. Some shook their heads and say that my son is already dead, but most agreed with me. We were on the trail nearly immediately. The bear should not be able to move as quickly as usual when he is carrying my son. I dread evidence of my son’s loss, that he will be eaten. But that has never happened, in the history, in the songs. The Shaman said as much. But neither has a bear taken a chief’s son.
Spirit Bear is moving amazingly fast on three legs. He is headed for the mountains. Not a surprise. My son may get cold. But bears are warm. My son has not been eaten.
We have to make camp. I am so angry that we have not caught Spirit Bear. Out of our home camp he is fair game.
We do the Bear Dance, four times. We did not bring the masks and the young men dance the women’s part and one sings the woman’s part. We made quick rough masks and costumes. The Spirits will forgive us. This is past all understanding.
What does a Spirit Bear want with my son? Four years. No one knows.
Day again. I am up before dawn praying for light, for my son, to find the Spirit Bear.
We are hot on the trail. We find that Spirit Bear did sleep and rest. My son is dropping beads. Smart boy. Each bead means that he is still alive and relatively unhurt.
We have spotted them. Spirit Bear stood and looked down at us, my son tucked against his side. My son very slowly raised his arm, so he knows.
We are approaching the peak. Everyone is tired from the climb and hungry and thirsty. Yet we keep going. No one complains.
We reach the peak and Spirit Bear and my son. We arm our spears and arrows, but my son shouts “No! Look!” We turn. We see the water. There is something in the water. It has tannish wings that are filled with wind. It is huge compared with our boats.
We turn to my son. He stands and Spirit Bear leaves, ambling down the mountain, quickly, gone. I hurry to my son, sweep him up. He starts shaking and then cries, leaning his head into me.
We turn and watch the tan winged thing, which is coming against the wind. It comes at an angle and then turns, to the opposite angle, yet still it comes. We know this is new and that there can be terror or joy, we do not know which. There will be learning, we know that.
My son falls asleep. We carry him down to water and camp. We are all singing quietly, the song of new things, fear and joy. The Shaman will welcome us when we are home, and we will prepare for the winged thing. We do not know what it will bring.
We thank the Spirit Bear for warning us, for telling us to prepare.
Two days ago I walked on Rialto Beach with a friend. It was totally gorgeous. One of those days when people visiting the Olympic Peninsula want to move here, only to find that those days are less common than the grey mat in the sky just over the house….
The colors were just intense. I did not adjust the color at all. The program sometimes offers me a retouched photograph but I always think the colors are just off and wrong.
I wore my oxygen, via concentrator. I have about 3.5 hours per battery. We were on the second battery by the time we got back.
My pack was also full of rocks. B is particular: he wants clear or nearly clear agates. I am currently a generalist about rocks: I am fascinated by the not clear agates, some quartz, jasper, poppyseed jasper… anyhow, I am rather a magpie right now about rocks. Ooooo, shiny!
Ok, maybe it is not inappropriate for work. But it would be a little weird for work… I was going in the woods with my oxygen tank. “Local doctor of 21 years found eaten by cougar, which then died because it couldn’t digest the oxygen tank.” Heh.
Listening to this, fabulous!!!
I was playing along a stream on Tuesday. It was darn hard to climb down to with my oxygen tank and camera. It made me very short of breath. But I love water and running water is joyous.
I was picking up rocks and looking at rocks. This rock really interested me. Look at all the cracks. When the river is higher it would wear the rock down. In the winter the cracks might freeze. I thought this rock might be ready to break. What is inside?
This is for the Ragtag Daily Prompt: workshop.
Fossil snail. I found this on one of the Olympic Peninsula beaches. It’s gender is also pretty mysterious, at least to me. I think it’s too late for DNA testing.
For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: empower.
J and I did not pick these mushrooms. We only picked two kinds, that we were both sure were edible. We must have seen about 15 species or more… I feel empowered to collect mushrooms and eat those we are sure of, but I am going to be very very cautious about others.
And I have had people say that they would never eat a mushroom that someone collected. I know some of the mushroom collectors that sell to our food coop and I trust them. Do we trust things in stores more than our wilderness now? And yet some things in stores are not safe….
A walk on North Beach, with my daughter and aunt and uncle, in 2013.
For the Daily Prompt: black.
I took this hiking in August 2013. I was out sick with strep A pneumonia and it was in my muscles as well. I had been sick since June. Talking made me cough. I couldn’t hike fast, but I could hike.
We were mushrooming, carefully. We found a few black mushrooms. Photographed and left: we only collected edibles that we were solid on.
It was a beautiful and healing hike for me.