Historical Microfiction About First Nations People in the 1700’s
Note: If you are grieving over the loss of a loved one, or have grieved recently, please do not read this. I would never want to cause anyone more pain.
There was the good kind of rain of course, the kind where young couples would snuggle closer, and fall back to sleep. But that’s not what this rain was. This rain was the kind where the clouds hung low, heavy with the weight of it, where the air was thick, and refused to yield. At times the heavens were released, and the rain pounded the village, only adding to the feelings of foreboding, and sadness.
It rained, a cold rain for days. It was too warm to snow now, yet it was still cold enough to be miserable. The people were miserable but not because of the weather. Cricket in the Meadow was sick and it appeared to be her heart. Just like the clouds hanging over them, they felt the weight, the sorrow of it, and at times their grief was released, in great torrents, when no one expected it. Many wept.
It had been two weeks since the birth of Redwing’s baby. There had been two weeks of joy and happiness. There had been singing, and several of the men had brought back fresh food from hunting. Sky now realized her mother had not been giving into the pain, so that the joy of the birth would continue.
After two weeks though, Cricket in the Meadow collapsed. She and Sky had been visiting Bull Elk, and Holds the Fire, and their family, when it happened. Cricket in the Meadow stood up to leave, when she grabbed her chest and fell. They did manage to carry her to her own lodge where she was attended by a number of women and men.
That’s when the weeping started, and the pain, and the grief that seemed to never end. They were losing her, and did not know what to do. Sky, was not surprised but was grieving too. She knew her adopted mother was a tough person, but the two of them had talked a lot for the past two weeks. Her mother had prepared her well. Still, the pain was intense. The clouds rolled in and the rain began.
Their lodge was filled with people during day, unless someone wanted to be with Cricket in the Meadow, to speak with her privately, only for a few minutes. Two Wolves said he wanted to be the keeper of the fire, and with the help of Songbird, they began the difficult task of keeping stacks of wood dry enough to use. They began using lodges that had previously kept winter supplies, in order to dry out some piles of wood.
Four days after she had collapsed, Cricket in the Meadow stopped talking. When that happened, the people gathered quickly to her lodge. Those that could not fit inside the lodge stood outside, using buffalo blankets as protection against the relentless rain. It was love that brought them there, and they wanted to be as close as they could. Several hours later, Cricket in the Meadow stopped breathing, and her spirit soared into the heavens. She was being held at the time by Sky, and by her side was Thunder Speaking, who also considered Cricket in the Meadow, his adopted mother. In fact, who did not consider her their mother? They all did.
The grieving was intense, even though they had been expecting the end. The rain poured, but gradually it lessened. It seemed like never before had the people cried so much at one time. They loved her, with a great love, and they needed to let all of creation know it.
It seemed like a long time, but at some point it did stop raining, and Standing on the Mountain moved through the crowd. He briefly mentioned, in a gentle way, that they needed to prepare her for the burial grounds.
During the preparation time, the people made themselves ready, by changing into dry clothes if needed, and by pulling their hearts back together, long enough to function. Two Wolves and some other young men were asked to build a large fire in the middle of the village so that the people could sing some songs later.
They did carry Cricket in the Meadow to the burial grounds. There were no speeches. A few expressed their love, but most remained silent. It was their custom to sing back at the village, and when they returned there, they gathered around the large fire, in a circle.
Redwing’s newborn was fussing, so she took her into their lodge to feed her, as the people began singing. They started with the “Goodbye Song”, which was sad, yet beautiful. As the people continued singing, Redwing was only half listening. She was still filled with the joy and wonder of her little one. A song came to her, and she began singing it, but it was not a mourning song. It was a song about…..spring!
Something urged her – prompted her – to stand up and share the song in her heart. It was a song about new life! She had never felt this way before, but after the feeding, she covered herself, and stepped outside the lodge.
The people were quiet now, and standing around the fire. So she sang softly at first, and then as her confidence grew, her voice got louder. The song went like this:
Spring, spring is coming my people….
Spring is coming to our hearts….
Spring is coming to the earth….
Spring, spring is coming my people….
And that is how it went. She repeated the song twice, and at the end of the song, she knew what they should name their little girl. She held the baby close, and whispered into her ear……your name….. will be “Spring Song”…..
Blessings to everyone, and PEACE!
Writing © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree
images from google