The Season of Deep Snow

Eagle Dancer - from the Hopi Nation by Mike Pieth
Eagle Dancer – from the Hopi Nation by Mike Pieth

Historical Microfiction

The snow brought peace. There were times when nothing could be heard other than the soft, almost silent sound, of snow falling on the lodges. The winds were not as severe as in some winters, so the softness and quietness prevailed. Fires burning brightly in the lodges, added warmth. With the return of Talking Eagle, and his continuing healing, the people felt a deep sense of happiness, and contentment. The fact that the Grie people were living with them, and would probably be staying with them, only added to the feelings of wellbeing. The Grie people added strength to them, and everybody knew it.

Somehow, during this period, Seven Hawks became a counselor of men. It was the season of deep snow, which meant families were together all day and all night. When the people were together for such long periods, it mostly resulted in good things, like children being born about 9 months from now, but it was also difficult for some, married and unmarried.

from monticello.org
from monticello.org

It was Bull Elk that first came to Seven Hawks, and they spent many hours, over several days, smoking the pipe, and talking about marriage and women (without the women in the lodge). Seven Hawk’s advice was mostly about gentleness, and that a man could be gentle in one sense, and incredibly strong in another, at the same time. That’s what Seven Hawks thought women were looking for.  Bull Elk pondered this for a long time, and took a number of puffs from the pipe, thinking about it.

Bull Elk did also share that he felt humiliated by his own behavior, and he did not think he could ever overcome this feeling. Seven Hawks inwardly felt awkward with this conversation, and wanted to tell him to go to someone else for this advice, but he didn’t. Somehow he found the words (were they from the Creator?) and he talked about how forgiveness works. Healing would come in time, and he would learn what it meant to forgive himself. Bull Elk felt good about these words, and thanked his friend. He left trying to absorb it all.

When Two Wolves came to talk to him the next day, Seven Hawks was stunned. “You want advice from meee?” Two Wolves said yes, but would not say exactly what it was about. From his silence, Seven Hawks knew instantly what it was about, and he looked at his wife, as if to say, “Can you give us time to talk?” She looked back at him with a look that said, “Are you kidding me? Will I ever have time in my own lodge?” He thanked her as she stomped out.

Two Wolves shared how he and Songbird were in love but they had not allowed themselves to be lit with passion yet. “Did that make sense?”, he asked, obviously nervous to talk about it. Seven Hawks said it made perfect sense, which helped Two Wolves to relax. “Wait” Seven

from shareonfacebook
from shareonfacebook

Hawks motioned with his hand, as he explained further, “We need to smoke the pipe before we continue.” This was a tremendous honor for a 15 year old. Seven Hawks was showing him respect, and was indicating that he thought Two Wolves was his equal.

Two Wolves opened up after that, and shared all about his love for Songbird, and the way she felt about him. After smoking a long time, and talking, Two Wolves asked, “When should we be married?” Seven Hawks took the pipe, and drew from it, which gave him time to think. More and more he drew puffs, then he blew the smoke upward, thinking hard. This was a tough question. Finally he said, “I’ll give you my advice, only if you go to others for their advice, and you listen to each one, including your father, and the leaders, like Standing on the Mountain, and Hawk in the Sky”. Two Wolves agreed.

Seven Hawks shared that it was not unusual for the people to marry at 17, even though some waited a little longer. He added, “Don’t wait too long though because your love may diminish.” Two Wolves nodded in agreement. It was a good talk. Two Wolves felt he now had a friend to turn to if he needed to in the future. Seven Hawks also gave him further advice, that cannot be mentioned here. They laughed through some of it!

It wasn’t until after Two Wolves left, that Seven Hawks realized he was almost out of tobacco. As he stood up, he realized he had never had this type of conversation with own son! The thought struck him like a piece of wood. His son Wild Horse was old enough to marry right now! It was at that exact moment that his son Wild Horse walked into the lodge, and said, “Father, can we talk?”

He nodded yes, and as they sat down, Seven Hawks knew that by nightfall he would be out of tobacco, and that he would really have to smoothe things over now, with his wife Prairie Flower.

art by Kevin Red Star
art by Kevin Red Star

Note: It’s my understanding that people of history married much younger than we do now. For example my Grandparents married very young. I do not recommend marrying this young today!

Also, smoking the pipe has a spiritual significance to First Nations people. It was not like our culture of men smoking cigars. When smoking the pipe, there was a sense of being connected, and the smoke was like prayer going up into heaven.

Peace!

Writing © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

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6 thoughts on “The Season of Deep Snow

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