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 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 Healing of the Grie People

Sequoia National Park by Ben H.
Sequoia National Park by Ben H.

“I cannot go back there.” “You must”, came the answer. “No, they should kill me and throw me in the river”, Red Hawk was surprised they had not done it already. “I will be with you”, came the answer. “You will?” “Yes”.

The Great White Buffalo further explained, “There needs to be a healing within the people, and fear must be removed. You can explain that you were sick, but many will not understand that, so you can apologize for harming them.” This all made perfect sense of course, and Red Hawk knew it was right. The White Buffalo continued, “Over time the people will begin to trust you again.” With this statement, Red Hawk had hope that began to grow, maybe it was all possible. He did want to repair any damage he had done.

“First we need to take care of that pebble”, The Great White Buffalo was filled with compassion. Red Hawk closed his eyes again and shook his head yes. This time there was only a bright light. He could not tell if it was coming from the outside of his body, or if it was only in his mind, or if it was both. It did not hurt, but the light was so intensely bright that he covered his eyes with his hands. Then there were flashing images of his mind, where he could see the pebble in his mind shrinking until finally it disappeared, and his mind became well! He also saw the tree branches, but this time they became untwisted, and untangled, as he watched. Red Hawk knew that blood was flowing properly again.

A little while later they were walking towards the village, side by side. The Great White Buffalo explained that Red Hawk should talk to his father first and go from there. Healing would flow like a river. Red Hawk was thinking he needed a new name, and knew right away what it should be – Buffalo Medicine.

Then they stood at the top of the small hill that overlooks his village. Would they accept him? Either way, at least he would do everything he could to make things right. There were several people milling around the village, and two women noticed them first. They saw both Red Hawk and the Great White Buffalo. They froze where they were, with shock. Others saw the two women and wondered what they were looking at and they saw the man Red Hawk, and the Great White Buffalo too. Ten people saw the Great White Buffalo, which was a sign of abundance and restoration. Then they all fled to get their families to come and see this wondrous sight.

When they returned to look, there was only Red Hawk. Eyes were popping, and jaws were dropping as he walked into the village, now obviously in his right mind. He found his father, and they went inside his lodge, where they had a long talk. He told his father everything. As he was listening War Chief wept, grateful to have his son back.

Epilogue: Buffalo Medicine (formerly Red Hawk) did all he could to gain the trust of the people. He went hunting and gave the food away. He caught horses and gave them to the families of women he had injured. He made things, like bows, arrows, knives, anything he could think of, and gave them as gifts.

Gradually the people began to trust him, but it took time. There was a healing process, and fear had to let go of the people. Fear walked away from the village with its head hanging low, looking for other victims elsewhere.

War Chief decided not to be the chief anymore. He did not feel right about it, and he told the people they should decide who their leaders should be. He also changed his name to reflect who he was now. His new name was – Grateful Man.

Years later Buffalo Medicine married, and they had three beautiful children.

 

Tipi in Snow

Note: There will be more microfiction in the future but this weekend I’ll share some poetry. I long to return to the village where the Tsi and some of the Grie people live together. After all there is a marriage pending! I call this village the village of “Two Peoples”.

Peace to all of you!

Thanks for reading!

Writing © Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree

A New Home

Pray

Mounds of snow began moving and shifting, as the people pushed upward and began rolling out of their cocoon of buffalo blankets. They were all alive and grateful for it. Bull Elk was especially grateful and he broke out in a song prayer, and everyone else joined in. It was an ancient prayer of gratitude, and of asking for help.

It went:

Great Spirit thank you that we are alive today,

we are the people of the earth,

the people of the earth,

help us and give us strength,

to live again today,

to live again today,

We want to live.

It was late in the day now, and there was not much time to do anything other than discuss what to do. Their horses were gone, which meant they had no supplies. Holds the Fire, and Prairie Flower each had a basket of food, which might last them a day, if they ate little. The snow was waist high now and it would be impossible to walk through without getting too wet and cold. No one wanted to die that way.

“We cannot give up, we must keep trying, and go forward.” Bluebird was surprised that it came out of her mouth, but it did. Her father was surprised too, but not her mother. Holds the Fire smiled because she was always proud of her daughter, but especially now. Bluebird came up with the idea of moving the snow out of the way, or least some of it so they could walk through it. She saw the baskets, picked one up and said, “…we can use these.”

They took turns in teams of twos, each person with a basket. It was a desperate attempt really, but at least they were trying, like Bluebird said. They moved the snow to the side, one to the left and the other to the right. By nightfall they had made some progress. Tomorrow they would eat the last of their food and they would keep trying.

Some distance away, the search party had had a tough time making it through the deep snow. Their progress had been much slower than they had hoped. When night fell, they had no choice but to stop. They camped near some trees and built a fire. They were convinced they were not far from the Grie, the trail of the Grie horses showed they were close.

Off in the far distance the fifteen Grie people were tired and hungry, and they bedded down again, without a fire. If they would have waited a few more minutes before bedding down, they would have seen a fire glowing on the far horizon. It was the fire of the Tsi search party.

The next morning they were found. Every single one of the Grie shouted, jumped up and down, and some prayed. They all hugged each other, and cried like children, even the men.

A New Home Part II will be posted next time! I love writing these.

 

Snow Bound

Writing © Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree

The Winter Journey – Part II

Western Montana by Donald M. Jones
Western Montana by Donald M. Jones

Microfiction

Fortunately it was a light snow and it ended quickly. It left a dusting on their heads and shoulders as they were riding, and then the sky began to clear. The biggest problem was keeping their feet warm and dry. They needed to give the horses rest occasionally, so they would walk. Each time they did, they wrapped their feet in extra pieces of hides, or even small pieces of buffalo blankets. They were well stocked with provisions, but Bull Elk worried about how long the provisions would last.

Later the same day, he looked at the people traveling with them, and took notice of their courage. His anger had cooled and he was now concerned about them, as well as for his own family. Even traveling his wife, Holds the Fire, was a beautiful woman, and he thought about how much he loved her. He was looking forward to setting up the lodge in their new home, and being with her. His daughter Bluebird was the one that had been beaten by Red Hawk, and then there was their fifteen year old son, Talking Eagle. His newly married nephew Strong Bear and his wife, Runs with Doe’s were also with them. The largest family was that of Seven Hawks, and Prairie Flower. They had three daughters, Sunburst, Magpie, and White Sparrow, ranging from age six to sixteen, and their son was Wild Horse, at seventeen. Buffalo Talker and Shining Water had the youngest child at just three years old, a son named Mountain Wolf. Bull Elk realized how much he cared, for each one.

Day 4 was a difficult day. Early on there was snow and sleet. The people did not complain, but traveling was slow going. They had to stop early, and change clothes, underneath their buffalo blankets. At night was the only time they were warm. Each family wrapped themselves in several layers of buffalo blankets, much like a caterpillar in a cocoon. The warmth was wonderful and they slept well.

By day 7 the journey was taking its toll. The horses were exhausted and so were the people. Would they ever find their friends?

It was day 9 when the disaster struck. A storm had been forming overnight and by morning it was snowing and the wind was blowing. It only got worse and they had to stop walking. The women got all the warm blankets they could in one place, realizing they would be bedding down to wait out the storm. The wind became intense, and the men started yelling about holding onto the horses. Even with the ropes tied around their waists, it was impossible to hold onto jumping and frantic animals. They had no choice but to let them go.

Each family wrapped themselves together, laid down, and hung on as the wind howled. It became worse and sounded like a wild animal. They tried with all their might to hold onto the blankets. Bull Elk became sick in his heart. Would they all die together? Snow began to cover the blankets, and the people inside.

In addition to sensing her father’s anguish, Bluebird was sensing something else. Was it a voice? She tried calming her spirit and began to experience an unusual peace. The peace enveloped her and filled her. The sounds outside became dim, and there was a voice! The voice said, “Do not give up! Do not give up! Don’t quit! Your future husband is waiting for you…..You can do this, and he is not only a kind man, he will love you deeply, and always. He is a very spiritual man, and he will be a leader of his people.”

Bluebird then had a vision. She saw clouds building in the summer, and a gentle refreshing rain falling. What was that noise? In the vision she heard the noise….was it?….yes it was….it was thunder. She heard the thunder….. Was the thunder talking? She did not understand it, but she knew that it was important, and that it all had to do with the man that would love her.

 

Note: Part III of The Winter Journey will be coming tomorrow.

 Appaloosa in the Snow

 

Writing © Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree

Thunder Speaking – Part II

colorized photograph
colorized photograph

The next day, Standing on the Mountain met with all the people outside. There was no lodge big enough to hold everyone, so they built a large fire in the center of the village. Once everyone was assembled he began telling the people about the dream, and what the horse had said. He told them all about what he saw and heard, and why Thunder Speaking had left his village. He was a man without a people.

As he was finishing, the people heard the hoof beats of a horse running very fast. It was the horse of Thunder Speaking! They were in shock as the horse circled the village at top speed. Thunder Speaking was the only one not in the crowd, but when he heard the horse running, he came out of his lodge. He knew it was his black and white. He went to the edge of the village, and watched the blur that was his horse. He was so fast it was hard to tell the exact coloring of the animal.

After four times of circling the village, the horse stopped right where Thunder Speaking was standing. The horse greeted him with loud snorting, foot stomping, and head shaking. Thunder Speaking gently spoke to the great animal and stroked his nose and neck. They seemed to talk to each other. By this point all the people were watching them, and their circle opened up, so everyone could see them better.

In the distance some rolling thunder could be heard. This was very unusual because the sky was blue and it was cold. The people could not understand the noise. The man Thunder Speaking now had his head against the horse, and his lips were moving. Was he praying? Were they saying goodbye? No one could tell.

The sound of thunder came closer, and a dark cloud suddenly appeared over the people. As it did, the black and white stallion rose up on his hind legs and yelled in the horse language a loud yell. A bolt of lightning cracked open the sky, and the earth shook with thunder. The people crouched down instinctively and looked at the sky, fearing for their lives. They held onto each other, and many closed their eyes.

And then all was quiet. They looked up and there was no more cloud, the sky was blue again. There was no lightning or thunder. As one, they looked over at the man called Thunder Speaking, and he was alone. The horse had vanished! No one saw or heard the horse leave, but he was not there.

Thunder Speaking was not afraid of what he had seen or heard, but he did turn toward the people hoping they would accept him. He wanted this village to be his home, and these people to be his people.

No one ever saw the black and white stallion again. Thunder Speaking did become part of the people, and he became the son of Cricket in the Meadow.

by Miriam Sweeney
by Miriam Sweeney

Writing © Copyright 2014, nicodemasplusthree