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Posts Tagged ‘Stories’


Dawn

The owls visit at sunrise.

I don’t know if they are up early or out late.

“Dude, wake up!”

“It’s been a while,” they hoot.

“Get out of bed!”

“Come with us!”

They all cackle.

I call  back to them in Owlish without opening the window or getting out of  bed. I know they can hear me. “It’s good you came by, but I’m sleeping in!”

Startled by my reply, dog jumps on the bed and gives me a sloppy kiss. That’s her way of reassuring herself that I’m okay.

As I sputter and fend her off, I hear a last soft mournful “Aw, man!” fade into the distance outside.

 

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Nanabozhu decided to visit Maui on the spur of the moment. What he didn’t know was that Maui decided to visit Red Lake at the same time. So they missed each other. Nonetheless, Nanabozhu had a great time on Maui’s island. This morning Nanabozhu decided to greet the sun at the top of Haleakala, and take the bike tour down. He thought it was kinda funny that the tour guides slept in the van because the mountain was covered in clouds and they knew that no one would see the sun that morning from the top of the mountain.

Nanabozhu decided to check out the gift shop since it was open  during the time the sun rose. He chanced upon a Hawaiian ranger chastising a white tourist who had (N. supposed) complained about not being able to see the sunrise. The ranger said in her best berating voice. “I’m Hawaiian, and we are taught from when we are very young to discern things with all six of our senses, not just our sight. Now if you’ll excuse me I have a duty to perform.” And with that she left.

You go girl!” Nanabozhu thought. The term “Haoli”, coming to mind.  Outsiders would always be Haoli to a native people. There would always be that sense of otherness between them. He had to smile at the irony. Here, Nanabozhu was haoli.

He then followed her outside to a crowd of about six hundred people who had gathered, and this is what he saw and said:

tour

Cold impenetrable fog whips their hair.

A crowd and Japanese tour couples stand huddled.

Their windbreakers occasionally wrapped in ineffectually thin blankets.

Waiting in vain for a visible sunrise.

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Nanabozhu is on his way to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, where the people are unique and peculiar.

“Can you pull up next to that guy driving that semi?” He rolls down the back passenger side window to the Chrysler Town and Country.

“I don’t think it’s going to accomplish anything.” Says the blond in the front seat.

“Well, I have to try,” he replies.

By now they are alongside the guy driving the semi at 75 miles an hour. Nanabozhu sticks his head out the window (which doesn’t quite open up all the way so he’s kinda squished through it.)  The trucker looks down at them and sees an older Anishinabe fellow squinting with effort as Nanabozhu tries to make a  rolling motion with the one hand he can get out of it.

The truck driver rolls down his window with a curious look on his face. With the wind whipping by, he thinks he hears Nanabozhu yell something like “Your barn door’s open!” (Which is a euphemism for “the zipper on your pants is undone”.) Nanabozhu can see him mouth “What?!” with an incredulous look on his face.

“Your back door is open!” Nanabozhu yells again. The trucker smiles and waves with that easygoing look of someone who has heard you say something but is too polite to tell you that they didn’t quite understand what you said.

Their Town and Country pulls ahead, leaving the truck behind with Ben their driver glancing back in the SUV’s rear view mirror to watch the trucker checking his side view mirrors looking like someone who, with a little thought, has finally  figured out what you were trying to say,  and the trucker finally begins to pull off the road.

Mission accomplished.

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“I think maybe the owls are out tonight.”

“I don’t know. It could be morning doves.”

“After dark?”

Whatever it or they are, the sounds are muffled behind a closed window and the susurrus of the air conditioning.

The spirit being willing more than the flesh being lazy,  I roll out of bed–a distance of three feet, open the window and reveal the world; its chorus of frogs and the song of the  Barred Owl.

He has a distinctive call.

So I reply.

It is a moment before he responds. From hearing the sound of my Owl voice he is probably thinking that as an Owl, I am retarded, (Sorry folks, the politically correct words “developmentally disabled” just don’t convey the proper nuance in Owldom.) but deigns to answer me anyway.

“It’s good enough that he is answering you back,” Wifie says.

The three of us converse long enough–he and I in Owlish, and she to me in English–to drink in the strangeness of it all.

Until I stop.

When he doesn’t hear from me any more, he gives one last  Awwww! And goes away to look for other friends elsewhere.

Sometimes the difference between living an uneventful life and enjoying a singular experience can be as little as three feet.

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Nanabozhu

At 5 a.m., Nanabozhu woke up and found himself sleeping in the “Inn over Oak Creek”, in Sedona, Arizona.

“Oh, It’s still dark outside. I wonder where the sun is.  It should be getting light out by now.” He also noticed that he still felt a little tired.

“Hm.” He thought ” I think I’ll drop by that vortex at the Phoenix Airport for a little refreshment.” So he stepped outside, changed into a small Blue Heron, and winged his way over.

Twisted JuniperHe searched for the place on the hill where the Junipers grew twisted. That was one of the ways that you knew to find a vortex. Of which he heard Sedona had four. Looking at one of the Junipers, he could see how it grew.  It was as if the small tree had grown inside a cyclone and the wind perpetually twirling about had spiraled the tree as it grew so that not only  the bark of the trunk and branches were twisted but their grain deep into the heartwood as well.

He knew he had arrived because he felt that tingling on his neck and the hair standing on the back of his head as the healing energy of he vortex refreshed him, and he began to feel better already. Still no sun though.

“That’s because I thought I would give you the honor of singing the sun into view.” the Earth said.  “You see, the Sun always likes to hear the songs of The People of the Earth so I will slowly turn  so he can hear the song of the next person to sing. ”

“Well, what should I sing?” asked Nanabozhu with a twinkle in his eye.  ” How about, ‘Ah’m all shook up’, by Elvis Presley?” He could feel the earth give him a gentle swat on his arm.

“That would be good if Elvis sang it.” she said,  “But the Sun likes original songs that come from the singers themselves, the best.”

“I can do that.” replied Nanabozhu. He thought quietly for a few minutes and then raised both arms to the East where the sun would rise, and began his chant.

Oh my favorite Sun,
(even though you’re the only one.)
 
Enlighten the skies
to entice the eyes
of children and old folks to waken.
 
But not so much so,
to the Larks please don’t go,
they’d rather the day were forsaken.
 
Then dim the stars and the moon,
so The People will swoon
when that beauty is seen
come this e’en’.
 
And turn the violet sky rose
bring sweet dawn to the nose
to soften the hearts of The People.
 
Now Chiaroscuro the place
your appearance will grace
to make the artists of Sedona most happy;
 
But not so intense
that their feelings are flensed
to the point that it makes them get sappy.
 
Now color the earth
and put shadows therein
and the hearts of the people you’ll win.
 
And when you are ready,
shine your brilliance most steady,
warm the air with your breeze for your kin;
 
So to soothe stiff old bones
and to soften sore muscles
so we all say “Well Come!” when you show.
 
And when you have risen,
freed us all from night’s prison,
we are thankful,
just so you know.
 

Nanabozhu could feel the Earth looking at him askance; nevertheless, the Earth had turned, and the Sun had risen.

“Thank you.”  said the smiling Sun.  “That was…very Nanabozhu-esque.  That certainly adds to my day.”

“Now”, said Nanabozhu to the Earth, “if you will allow me to rearrange things a little bit, I have a gift for you.” And with that, he rearranged a mountain formation so that it looked like his face, waking up to the dawn and praying. Which you can see to this day from the viewing point next to the Sedona airport.

 

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skunk

Hey kid,

why did I have to let you out at 2:30 in the morning? I knew something was up when I called you back in and you didn’t show up right away. When you finally slunk in, it hit me! You had to go and play with “the-little-black-and-white-Kitty”.

You thought he was purring because you both had found a friend. But you got too close for comfort, and met the clueless office coworker when you entered into the orbit of his cologne.

It only takes five minutes to Google a remedy for Skunk spray: a quarter cup of  Baking Soda, a little dish soap and a quart of Hydrogen Peroxide from the store. But in that time you managed to trot all around the house looking for help and to jump into 3 beds.

After washing your head according to the prescription, and chopping your affected hair off–all the while my eyes were watering– we got you squared away. (Here is a link or two, to find out what to do. )

Now all I have to do is wash my sheets in a bleach solution, dump my stinky clothes, and sleep under different sheets and a few blankets with the windows open until the house airs out.

I know you feel bad, and could use some more comfort, but you are sleeping on the floor tonight.

 

 

 

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several maple trees tapped with buckets

In my zeal to tap Maple Sugar Trees

I did not look up high to see

this one was dead.

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