A Family Restored

Aspen Flower - Art by Alfredo Rodriguez
Aspen Flower – Art by Alfredo Rodriguez

Historical Microfiction

Bull Elk would not let go of carrying his son, even though he was exhausted. The men traveled all day through the forest and into the night. There were several times he stumbled but he insisted on carrying the foot of the sling, while Seven Hawks carried the head. Bull Elk was carrying more than the physical weight of his son though, he carried the weight of his son possibly dying, if they did not get back to the village soon, and it was his fault.  Two Wolves proved to be an excellent guide and led them through one trail and then other. The men were impressed with Two Wolves, and Standing on the Mountain was especially impressed. As he looked at the sky, through the trees, Standing on the Mountain saw clouds moving in. He was praying that the storm would hold off until they got back home.

Once night came, Holds the Fire began to unravel. She sent for Cricket in the Meadow, not because she needed a vision, or an herbal drink, or even words of wisdom. She needed a friend. She needed someone like her mother, and Cricket in the Meadow was the closest thing she had to a mother. When Cricket in the Meadow came in, she immediately embraced Holds the Fire, and let her cry on her shoulder. Holds the Fire was crying, because she thought she might never see her husband, or son again. If they did find Talking Eagle – would he be alive?

When they began to see the fires of the lodges, the men all breathed a sigh of relief. Standing on the Snow and RiverMountain led them in a song of thanks, to the Creator. They also wanted the village to hear them coming in. Wild Horse ran ahead of them and went straight for the lodge of Holds the Fire. As he was running, it began to snow – heavily. Standing on the Mountain looked up at the sky, and knew it would be a big one. He thanked the Creator that they were home.

Once they were in the village there was no time for celebrating. It was time for action. Talking Eagle was carried straight to his lodge where his mother, Holds the Fire, his sister Bluebird, and Cricket in the Meadow, were waiting. The young man was pale and his lips were blue. The men had done well taking care of him on the journey back, but there was no way for him to begin to heal, until he was next to a fire in a warm lodge. Within seconds of them bringing in Talking Eagle, there were at least 10 people tending to him or helping. Wild Horse went to get more wood for the fire. Women were heating up rocks, wrapping them, and then placing them next to the young man.

Bull Elk intentionally maneuvered around the people so he could be next to his wife. He knelt down next to her, where she was seated next to the fire, and holding their son. He placed a hand on her shoulder. It was a silent gesture, and one that brought with it hope. He was hoping that she would respond in a positive way. She did smile, and looked at him with relief on her face.

It took a while for the young man to return from the brink of disaster, but his color returned and lips became a normal color. Unfortunately he lost several toes, and the small finger on his left hand to frostbite. They just could not restore them. There was some frostbite on his face as well, but Cricket in the Meadow thought it would heal with time.

The crowd began to thin as dawn approached. Talking Eagle did wake up long enough to drink several warm herbal drinks. Bull Elk did ask his wife if he should sleep in another lodge. He was concerned that she was hurting still. She said, “It will take time… but please stay here with us.” “Talking Eagle and I both need you here now”. It was an act of faith really. She was still hurting from all of his anger, but she detected a change in him. There was a deep sadness now.

So they went to sleep as the sun was coming up, together in the same lodge. In that sense they were a family again. Holds the Fire had good dreams, and dreamed that she was dancing the jingle dress dance around their lodge. She also dreamt of Bull Elk having humility, asking his son’s forgiveness, and once again being a strong man, without the anger and meanness.

The next night Holds the Fire took another step of faith by moving her bedding next to her husband again. It brought forgiveness, and started the healing process. It took time, but healing came, and love was restored.

by sheltieboy via flickr
by sheltieboy via flickr

Note: The jingle dress dance is done by women, and thought to bring healing and restoration. There are small bells on the dress, such as in the picture above. As the women dance the bells (jingles) make a beautiful sound. If I find a good one I think I will post a video on the dance. Thanks for reading! Peace!

Writing © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

The Lost Son – Conclusion

by Dave Brosha via flickr
by Dave Brosha via flickr

Cricket in the Meadow prayed all night that night. She sensed the young man was in great danger, and she was unable to rest. She stepped outside several times to look at the night sky, and was amazed at how many stars she could see. As she looked around the village, she saw other fires lit brightly, and other people were awake too, moving around, no doubt praying as well. Among them was the lodge of Holds the Fire. Cricket in the Meadow had tears well up in her eyes, so she closed them, and prayed for healing for their family.

Talking Eagle had just barely covered himself, in the pit with logs, when the fire started to grow dim. And then the wolves did come, quietly at first. They were sniffing the ground, and making soft growling noises. It was dark now, but he could plainly see them surrounding the pit and several got on top of the logs to look down at him through the cracks. They became angry, bared their teeth at him (which he could see in the moonlight), and began growling and snarling. They also looked for a way to get to him and around the logs. The logs were too heavy to move, so a few began digging around the pit. Talking Eagle was prepared for this though, and he jabbed at them with his arrows, and several times he drew blood. The animals yelled, ran around limping, but would eventually return madder than ever.

Several miles away the men built a fire to keep warm, and they took turns standing guard against wolves. They heard them in the distance howling, but could not see them. Every so often, when the guard could not stay awake any longer, he would wake up the next person. Without a lodge to protect them, the cold was intense, even with a fire. No one slept very well, and they spent most of their time shivering.

Talking Eagle was shivering, partly from the cold and partly from fear. The wolves spent hours breathing down at him, through the cracks, their drool dripping down the logs, and onto his blankets. They tried to dig, and he continued to poke and jab at them. They were everywhere at once, was he dreaming – having a nightmare? No they were real, their blood dripping from his arrows and their yelling was real for sure.

from earthsky.org
from earthsky.org

It was sometime just before dawn when Cricket in the Meadow had a vision. She saw two pieces of light hanging over the forest. They were not sunbeams or rays from the sun. They were two long pieces of light with a beginning and ending, just hanging there in the sky. They looked a lot like…well icicles. She knew it was a sign and sensed that Talking Eagle was between the two pieces of light. Would the men see the sign? She began praying that they would.

It was just before dawn when the wolves gave up the attack. It was the cold now, that was killing Talking Eagle, as he lay quietly in the pit. He shivered severely. His skin was growing pale, and his fingertips were turning blue. He was confused, but had enough presence of mind to sing the death song, that his mother had taught him. He was not at peace about dying, but he was trying to be. For the first time in his life – he prayed. Then he stopped singing, because he did not want the pit that he had dug, to be his grave.

When the men woke up at dawn, there was a discussion on which way they should go. All discussion stopped however when Standing on the Mountain stared at the sky awestruck. There were two long pieces of light hanging over the forest, each with a beginning and an end. They all looked at this miraculous sign, and then they looked at each other. Without speaking they quickly gathered their belongings. Bull Elk asked Two Wolves if he knew how to get there, and he said yes. At that, the men took off running towards the place where the pieces of light were.

Bull Elk took the lead, and could be heard yelling, “My son!”, “My son!”, “We must find my son!” The tears streaming down his face, froze to his skin as he ran. Once they were closer the two pieces of light went out, but they could smell a burning smell. Was it a fire? The eight men sprinted now as one, thundering through the otherwise quiet forest. They followed the smell to a clearing, and stopped dead in their tracks. There were signs of wolves everywhere, a lot of them. “The pit!”, yelled Bull Elk.

They sprang into action. Hawk in the Sky, and Wild Horse drew their bows and stood guard, watching the woods, while Seven Hawks removed the logs in an instant. There they found the boy, unconscious, and barely alive but breathing. Three men restarted the fire, while Talking Eagle was lifted out of the pit, and surrounded with layers of buffalo blankets. The young man was placed in the arms of his father, who sank to his knees, weeping.

A short time later the fire was roaring, and everyone was getting warmer. Life was coming back to Talking Eagle, but he was still pale, and he was showing signs of frostbite. While Standing on the Mountain made an herbal drink from melted snow, and herbs from a pouch he kept at his waist, it was decided to get the young man back to the village as quickly as possible. They would carry him, and not stop until they got there.

Two Wolves said, “Since we are not following his trail, we do not have to go through the thick brush” “There is another way around, which is longer but will take less time”. That is exactly what they needed. They made a sling from buffalo blankets. Talking Eagle woke up long enough to take the herbal drink, and to see his father. He managed a smile and fell back asleep.

They headed back to the village with Two Wolves leading the way. Seven Hawks carried the head of the sling, and Bull Elk carried the foot. They did not know it, but Talking Eagle was praying for the second time in his life, thankful that he was alive. The Creator was speaking to him that he would be safe now.

Frosty Trees in Mist Yellowstone by Anita Erdmann by fineartamerica.com
Frosty Trees in Mist Yellowstone by Anita Erdmann by fineartamerica.com

This was longer than normal – thanks for reading! Next week more on life in the village, and the restoration of Bull Elk’s family. Peace!

Writing © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

The Lost Son – Part III

via flickr
via flickr

Microfiction

Bull Elk did not say a word as the men quickly moved through the forest. He knew that all of this was his fault, and it was all he could do to hold himself together. He was torn up inside and he knew it. Why was he so stupid last night? Somehow he found the courage to apologize to his wife before they left. She said nothing but shook her head “yes”. He loved his wife more than anything on this earth, but he had caused her great pain. He hated himself. He knew it would be a long time before they embraced again. She had every right to leave him, according to their custom. At least if they died out here, trying to find his son, he did what he could to make peace with his wife. At least he had done one thing right.

And now it was time to find his son, before it was too late, before they all froze to death and there would be no asking for his forgiveness. He didn’t usually pray but Bull Elk prayed for help from the Creator. They moved swiftly, and made good time following the trail of Talking Eagle. They found themselves at a group of very large rocks, where they climbed and surveyed the land. There was a creek and thick brush up ahead. It was very clear that the trail of Talking Eagle went into the thick brush. They all looked at each other, and knew that it would be tough going from here.

By the time Talking Eagle made it to the other side of the thick brush he had no idea where he was. To be honest though, he didn’t care. He was away from his father and all the pain of the village. He came to a clearing and decided to rest. He also needed to do something about his feet. They were wet and cold, very cold. He took off the many layers of buckskin, and replaced them with fresh ones, after drying off his feet. He did have sense enough to prepare for this, but he was starting to become concerned about the extreme temperatures.

He built a fire, which was not easy, just before the sun began setting. In the distance he heard aWolf 1 wolf howling, which sent chills down his spine. He decided to do something his father had taught him, and that was to dig a pit in the earth, and put heavy logs over top of him, once he was in it. The pit would protect him from the wolves but there was no way to have a fire, once he was inside. He might freeze to death. It was either the fire and probably facing the wolves, or sleeping in the pit. Either way he might die.

Oh no! As he started digging he realized the earth was frozen, which ruined his knife. It was slow going, but he made it deep enough, to move the earth with his hands. At the same time, he had to keep the fire going. Wolves did not like fire. Off in the distance he saw several sets of eyes. They were not people eyes, and they were not friendly. He would have to move quickly to get the large logs.

The logs were so big he had to roll them into place. Then he put more wood on the fire, and kept digging. He could see forms moving in the forest, shadows really. He guessed there were 4 or maybe 5 of them, pacing back and forth, looking for the right time to attack. He worked quickly, but not quickly enough. The wolves became bold and showed themselves. He began throwing burning pieces of wood at them which held them at bay.

Once he had the pit deep enough, he got in and said goodbye to the fire. He might be saying goodbye to life, and for the first time he realized that coming out here by his self was not a good idea.

The men had a tough time getting through the brush. Most of them were cut or scratched on their faces, and then on their hands as they tried to protect themselves. Seven Hawks got the worst of it, as he tried moving his huge frame through branches that hit him like ropes with knives on them. He gave up trying to protect himself, and barreled through like a buffalo in a corn field.

By dark, they had made it through the brush, but they had lost the trail of Talking Eagle long ago. There was no sign of the young man, and they had no choice but to build a fire, in order to stay alive. Was that a wolf? Night Scene

 This weekend the conclusion of The Lost Son, and some poetry!

Thanks for reading! Peace!

Writing © Copyright 2015, nicodemasplusthree

The Lost Son – Part II

from indianscowboys via flickr
from indianscowboys via flickr

He made his way to the forest, and had gone inside of it, through a trail that Two Wolves had shown him. Once he was in the forest for a while, the sun was beginning to rise, and he could see everything clearly. Up and over logs, around rocks, down into a ravine, and up the other side he went. As he traveled he noticed deer tracks. There were two – no three – deer not far up ahead according to what the trail was telling him. He thought about hunting, but no, he needed to get deep into the forest and away from the village.

It was bitter cold, some of the worst he had seen, and that was another reason to keep moving. He was still being driven by what he felt inside, but he knew he would have to build a fire by nightfall in order to survive. This was the kind of weather that could kill a man.

The trail ended at a large group of boulders, which he climbed. At the top he could see nothing but trees, and a small creek. This is where he wanted to be, the deep forest. No one would find him now. There was some thick brush that would be difficult to get through and that is exactly where he went.

At the village, it took a while for his mother to realize he had left. When she woke both her husband and Talking Eagle were not in the lodge, and she thought maybe they had gone out to talk. She prayed that there would be healing in her family. Her heart ached and tears filled her eyes. A short time later though, Bull Elk came inside and stared at her. He looked terrified. He did not say, good morning, or I’m sorry, he stammered, “I cannot find him, our son is gone”. Her mouth dropped open and her heart sank. He continued, “I’ve looked everywhere, the trail he left is headed for the forest”.

Bison in SnowThey both ran to the lodge of Standing on the Mountain, and the village sprang into action once the word had spread. There was no reason to ask why, or how did this happen? The people knew already, but more importantly they judged no one, and only wanted to help in some way. A group of men volunteered to go into the forest without horses, including all of the Grie men. They were Seven Hawks, and his son Wild Horse, Strong Bear, Buffalo Talker, and the boy’s father, Bull Elk.

Standing on the Mountain thought for a moment, as they were all assembled together, and asked Bull Elk if any Grie men needed to stay in the village. Bull Elk was having trouble facing the people, but he looked up and said, “The Grie people are safe here among the Tsi, and we know that”.

Most of the Tsi men also wanted to go looking for the young man, but not everyone should go. Hawk in the Sky mentioned that the group needed to be small, because of the thickness of the brush in the forest. Fifteen year old Two Wolves spoke up, and said, “I should go. I know the forest better than anyone. Besides, Talking Eagle is my friend.” It was true on both counts, and everyone knew it.

It was decided that 8 men would go, the 5 Grie men, Standing on the Mountain, Hawk in the Sky, and Two Wolves. Songbird was scared for Two Wolves, and she told him so when she had the chance. They were too young to be married, but they were very much in love. He embraced her, and told her he would be back, but he needed to help a friend. She shook her head yes. No one objected to their embracing, in fact it was expected. After all, the Creator had put these two together.

The men left quickly, and were in the forest in no time, led by the young man Two Wolves. Standing on the Mountain couldn’t help thinking, how remarkable this young man was. Here he was just fifteen, and he was leading the men.

According to the trail, Talking Eagle was about 3-4 hours ahead of them.

Dawn Snow

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all – the best in the upcoming year!

I look forward to more of your wonderful blogs in 2015!

The Lost Son Part III, next time! Peace to you!

Writing © Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree

New Dreams

Sheena Cain - Jingle Dress Dancer
Sheena Cain – Jingle Dress Dancer

Microfiction: This is the continuing story of the Tsi people, and the Grie people, who live together in the same village. They live near a forest, on the Great Plains of Canada, in the 1700’s. For new readers, Thunder Speaking and Bluebird are a young couple that have just been married.

No one saw the young couple much for several days, which was to be expected. They were enjoying each other. Laughter could be heard coming from their lodge sometimes, so the people were happy for them. Couples, young and old, not only had knowing smiles on their faces, but looked at each other more intently!

The young couple would talk for hours inside, while he made weapons and tools, and she made clothing. The snows were getting deep now, and no one went much of anywhere. He often watched her, amazed. He was surprised by her in a number of ways.

from texasbirds.info
from texasbirds.info

He did not know that a woman could be so tender. She helped him daily with his injured arm, and fussed at him gently to take care of it. Her gentleness when she unwrapped it, melted him. She often kissed his arm and spoke sweet things to him.

He was also amazed at how wise and practical she was. He had been making a new bow, a long one, much longer than the Tsi people normally made, and he was very proud of it. He had also carved some beautiful designs on it, and was just about finished it, when Bluebird asked him, “Shouldn’t you have a smaller bow?” “The longer one will be difficult to pull”. He was stunned. Of course, she was right – his arm was not strong enough for this bow yet! He had not even thought of that.

At night he dreamed about her, mostly about the two of them in the summer, walking, and riding together, looking at birds in the forest, or listening to the river flowing over rocks. She was a friend to him, but so much more than that. She was his very life.

Bluebird dreamed about him too, but in a different way. She dreamed about his strength, his connection to the Creator, and how he was willing to talk about anything. She had never met a man like this, and she was always amazed at the loved they shared. She could see eternity in his eyes.

She also dreamed about sunsets, but they were always strange. In the dreams there were the brilliant colors of orange, red, and pink, but then, as she was looking at the colors, she heard a baby crying. The two always went together, the sunset and the baby. The dreams always ended with an image in her mind, of her holding a beautiful baby boy. She knew these dreams were important but she did not know what they meant.

On the other side of the village, Cricket in the Meadow was having dreams too, and some visions while she was praying, but she did not like the looks of them. They were dreams about dark clouds, and a storm brewing. The storm kept coming closer, and would always stop over one lodge. She knew trouble was coming, and it could turn deadly. The storm always stopped over the lodge of Bull Elk. Everyone knew that he was disappointed, over the Grie wanting to stay here in this village with the Tsi, instead of building a new Grie village. But there was more, and it had to do with anger.

One day the sun was shining, and Bluebird felt a need to get outside. After a short walk, the idea came to her that she should talk to her husband about the dreams she had been having. She called to him, and Thunder Speaking came outside, carrying another robe for her. He wrapped her in it, smiling, and proud of himself for taking care of such a beautiful woman. They looked at the sky together, with him embracing her, and she told him about the sunsets, and the baby crying.

They talked about it for a while, watching their breath make smoke. As they were talking, she realized what it was all about. The two went together – the sunsets, and the baby – because it was all about the baby’s name. She didn’t know if she was pregnant yet, but when she did have a child, it would be a boy – and his name would be….yes….his name would be….“Fire in the Sky”. After all “Sunset” was a girl’s name.

Sunset

Writing © Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree

The Wedding

American Beauty by Craig Lamere via 500px
American Beauty by Craig Lamere via 500px

It was cold the day they were married but the sun was shining brightly. It was unheard of to get married in the middle of winter, but for this couple it was right and everyone knew it. The Creator had placed them together and that could not be denied. Still, it was difficult to know how to celebrate.

A large fire was built in the center of the village and the people gathered. There was some singing, first in Tsi, and then there were some songs in the Grie language. A few people danced, but then covered themselves again in thick buffalo robes due to the cold. At first the young couple were standing only in their clothing – she in her white and blue dress, and he in his traditional red clothing, but several friends on both sides insisted they be covered with thick buffalo robes, so they were.

Thunder Speaking was nervous, but not just because of the great love he had for Bluebird. Something important was happening in the village today. Different peoples were coming together as one. There were the Tsi people, the Grie people, and himself, the lone person from the Ite (pronounced Ee-teh) people. It was a wedding for all of them.

Bluebird was not nervous at all, in fact she was bursting with anticipation. She wanted to be married and right now! In fact as the women were helping her to get ready, and helping her with her wedding dress, Bluebird had a vision. She had a vision of a bright orange flower in the summer time that had been closed, but opened up, baring itself to the strong, bright rays of the sunshine. She decided not to say anything about it though. She would tell her husband when the time was right.

After the singing and dancing, Thunder Speaking spoke for the first time publicly in his original language. Actually he sang a wedding prayer for his wife, that went like this:

May you always live with happiness,

live with happiness,

may I always be worthy of your love,

worthy of your love,

may we always be protected,

be protected,

and may we have a very long life,

a very long life,

together.

He sang it in the Ite language first and then the translation came as he sang in Tsi. He had been practicing this for a long time, and at the end he thought it went well. Many people thought his original language sounded like water flowing over rocks.

Cricket in the Meadow shared the blessings of smoke, which touched each person there, and they sensed the presence of the Great Spirit. Standing on the Mountain said a few words about the blessings of marriage, but due to the weather he made it short.

As he stood watching his daughter getting married, Bull Elk had mixed feelings. Where did his daughter go? She was just a girl the other day, running and playing, and now here she was, a grown woman getting married. He was sad, and yet the love these two shared was special. He looked over at the face of his wife, Holds the Fire, and saw tears streaming. Yes, love was good he thought, and right. Everything made sense with love.

Bull Elk also performed the Grie custom of tying the young couple’s arms together, one arm from each, symbolizing unity and oneness. And then came the tradition of putting one blanket over the two of them, and the ceremony was over.

A strong fire was burning in the lodge of Thunder Speaking and Bluebird that night, along with a great deal of tenderness. They both flew high many times on the wings of love, and they went far above the clouds, into the heavens, and then down again.

They both fell asleep dreaming about warmer weather and going for long walks with each other. At one point she woke up, and covered his bare chest with the blanket they had been given by the people. She placed her hand in his, and fell back to sleep.

Art by James Bama
Art by James Bama

Note: More to come in this series, in a few days! Thanks for reading! Peace.

Writing © Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree

The Decision

photo by Kate Purdy from startupchimp.com
photo by Kate Purdy from startupchamp.com

Seven Hawks had a problem, and he did not know how to tell his wife about it. They both lay in their lodge, awake one night, not knowing what to say. How could he tell her he wanted to stay here and live with the Tsi? The plan had been from the very beginning, to stay with the Tsi over the winter, and then in the spring they would begin a new Grie village somewhere else.

He loved the people here. There was something about them that made them different. They seemed more… connected somehow. He remembered his family visiting the Tsi when he was a boy, and he noticed then their spirituality. He also played games with the Tsi boys then, such as Whirlwind, and Standing on the Mountain, and lately he was able to get to know them as men. They were becoming more of his “brothers” than the Grie men were, in his old village. He turned over again towards his wife, and looked at her. Noticing she was still awake, he lifted his head, and thought about kissing her but she turned away.

Prairie Flower also had a problem. She could not figure out how to tell her husband that she wanted to stay here, and it bothered her to no end. It was the way the Tsi people treated them more than anything else. It was the love and respect they gave the Grie, that impressed her the most.

Her husband was a huge man, with a chest and shoulders more like a horse than a man’s. His arms were like two small trees. Over the years he had saved more than one life simply because he had the strength of three men. But he was the most gentle and humble man she had ever met, and that’s why she married him. She wanted their children to have his personality. In spite of her name, she knew she was too often harsh, and he smoothed her out with his gentleness, like no one else could.

Because of his gentle ways, her husband never got the respect that he should have, in their old village. She knew deep down that was one the reasons they left. She was also tired of the jealousy from other women at the old village. Young women would often giggle as he walked by, hoping to catch his attention. Even married women whispered cruel jokes about him. It often made her angry and sick in her heart.

Everything was different here though. They had been here two months already and the people respected her and her husband for who they were – on the inside. Then too the relationship between Thunder Speaking and Bluebird was the most amazing thing she had ever seen. It was supernatural really.

Thinking about this couple inspired her to get up for a while, and work on Bluebird’s wedding dress. Holds the Fire, had given her the tremendous honor of helping to make it. It was a beautiful white buckskin, with fringes and beadwork. Prairie Flower loved doing beadwork and as she sewed carefully she heard her husband gently snore. She loved hearing that sound, and smiled because of it.

She would also be installing a beautiful and distinctive blue color at the top of the dress. The Grie were known far and wide, for this color they used so often, to decorate their clothing and horses. It reminded her people of the blue sky and deep blue lakes.

She decided that in the morning she would talk to him. She had a peace about this, and she knew deep down they would stay. She would also tell him about the new child she was carrying. She smiled again, realizing how close this would draw them together.

 Brown and White Vanner

Note: Next time – the wedding! Blessings of peace to you!

Writing © Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree