Two weeks ago Tom Howell died.  I have known him and his wife for 20 years.  My heart hurts for Chris.  Yesterday I awoke from a dream and this was to be conveyed to her from him.
My Darlin:
I knew from the start we would be better together
Forever, now – always.
We made our lives complete – with love.
Forever, now – always.
Thank you my friend – my sweet – my wife.
Forever, now – always.
Like the breath of the dragonfly, feel my kiss.
NOW – forever and always.
End.
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Burden Basket


THE BURDEN BASKET – OR A LESSON IN SELF RELIANCE

 

In this time of living in our modern times; it is certainly to say the least hard to walk both worlds.  Our world as we know it now does make it difficult to believe in who we are.

As children we are led to believe that we know right from wrong but in our hearts; what we know is the difference between what we see and how we think.

That is how I began to learn who I was.  Not from childhood but from walking this world as an adult.  My heart tells me I should have been walking with our ancestors of long ago but my mind also knows that in this world I agreed to come to either learn or teach.

Grandmother Turtle is one whom I love very much.  She is not my grandmother by blood but by spirit.  It is through her teachings and love that I have found my way to the path that I walk with strength.

One day we where walking in the woods and her love surrounded me like a warm blanket.  I felt like I wanted to cry for her thoughts of me was something I had looked for in my own mother and sisters and never found. Yet here was my living angel; my guide in this world.  She loved me with out any exception.

During this quest we talked of many things and it is how I began to learn of the burden basket.  You see this old one explained; in our native American Indian tradition, we do not have use for such a basket any more.  It is to easy to stuff things into boxes and hide them away.  That includes our feelings; emotions and way of living.  There was a time thou that this basket was very useful to our female ancestors who walked before us.  I say that from before the Trail of Tears that forced the proud peoples onto reservations.  Wood could be gathered by women for their cooking fires or the Grandmother fires that were used to heat the inside of the lodges.  These heating fires received their name because the wood was small enough for even a grandmother to carry and was placed in a burden basket leaving the hands free to gather and carry roots to eat; herbs for cooking and even berries.  A grandmother fire was like a twig fire and burned hot with very little smoke.  A grandmother fire heats a lodge even in winter and provides the needed warmth and light for nighttime during evening meals or bead work that had to be done during this quiet time.

The women back then who carried burden baskets where never asked to carry more than this basket would carry.  They used the basket to help carry acorns, berries and the women used it to keep the lodge clean at all times.  As the guardians of the home, the burden baskets where a reminder to respect everything they did.  When this basket was not in use it did not hang inside the lodge; however, it hung just outside the opening to the lodge.  It hung here for a very specific reason.

When one wanted to enter the door of a lodge they would have to make a noise like scrapping the pelt or blanket that hung to cover the opening.  To receive permission to enter this dwelling one would wait.  If there was no answer then one could not enter the lodge.  So entry was not permitted at that time.  It could be the family was eating a meal or a family gathering or just did not want people around them.  This decision was always honored.  Nobody’s feelings were hurt because everyone knew the idea of sacred space was understood.  If one did gain permission to go in then the burden basket that hung by the door was a reminder to that person to leave their own problems in the basket before coming into a another persons sacred space.  This custom was honored or the visitor was asked to leave and would not gain access to the lodge again.  If one entered someone;s home with a dark cloud of worry of neediness this was considered very poor manners.  As long as everyone considered the space of others before speaking or acting, balance would be easily maintained in all communal living situations.

 

The only exception to this rule in any community was given by the elders.  If one needed counsel with an elder they would go to them and bring a gift of tobacco or something larger like a buffalo robe.  It all depended on how bad the situation was.  Once the elder had decided to take on the helping to find an answer of the problem there was a waiting period.  The question would be asked and then it was time to wait for the answer.  The time was usually three days.  During that time the elder would sit with the prayer smoke or sleep asking for an answer.  One the fourth day the elder and the person would usually meet again and the answer given.    Because it is honorable to find your own answers to go to an elder for help was indeed very serious.   Thus, what ever the elder gave for an answer would be taken to heart.
There were never a question asked about what the elder said.  And what ever advice was given was listened to.

Since in this modern world we do not show the consideration of the burden baskets or their wisdom; solutions are sought out elsewhere other than our own hearts.

Grandmother then said to me: you can conquer the world when you let go of the burdens that you face.  Problems then cease being burdens when solutions are found.  You find the solutions by trusting your own ability to find your own answers.  So do not drop what concerns you on the door step of another.  But if you find the need to seek out advice, don’t waste the precious time of others if  you do not intend to respect the wisdom offered.  You must also know that it is not your job to solve the problems of others.  Do not rob them of their right to be self reliant.

In all that is; we only carry the burdens we wish to carry.

All to soon it was time for grandmother to be on her way and I was left with a hurting in my heart.  The hurt did not last long for I knew we would meet once again.

That was many years ago and now I am being shown that I need to put a burden basket outside my door and remember what it is used for.  Just because we walk in both worlds does not mean we have to keep our hearts in both places.  We can live the honorable life that we choose.  By placing the basket by the door we can remind ourselves two things.  First – find your own answers within your heart and second – do not let the burdens of others cloud your sacred space.

One of the answers that came to me was that if my elders or relatives were to walk into my home; they would be ashamed at what they would see.  There is clutter everywhere and this lodge is not clean.  So; I shall spend the next few days cleaning and re-arranging.  As well, I will get rid of the dirt and the clutter.  This will leave time for me to certainly disgust what I have written here and then we shall see what the next lesson is.

The first and only thing I did this night was to clear off the table of the clutter that had settled there over the past few days.  Tomorrow I shall begin the beginning of cleaning this house and it will all begin with the list.  Oh yes, the burden basket will again be birthed to life.

 

 

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The First Healer


THE FIRST HEALER 

 

In the days we live in now when people get sick they go to their doctor to get medicine to get well.  In this world today people go to the doctor for everything, for they have forgotten the old ways of healers and healing themselves.  There once was a time when our grandparents knew which herbs and roots would make us get better very quickly.  Their parents learned from their own elder family members how to pick just the right things from the forest get rid of illness.  However, long before that there had to be the first healer and this is how it happened.

 

One day as a man was walking alone he met a coyote.Coyote spoke to the man and said, “How would you like to smoke my pipe?” The man thanked the coyote and said “Sure!” When the man was finished, the coyote said to him, “You have smoked my pipe so now you are my friend and I will not harm you, but will take you to meet my people. I want my people to know that you have smoked my pipe. They will be glad to see you and will give you great powers.” 

 

They walked on a way and after a while they met many coyotes and wolves. When the coyotes and the wolves saw the coyote with the man one wolf called to the other wolves and said, “Everyone be seated. Let us hear what these people who are coming have to say.” 

When they were seated the coyote stood up and said, “This man is my brother. He smoked my pipe. He came with me to pay you a visit. Let us take pity on him and make him a wonderful man.” The man was frightened, for the wolves came very close to him. Then the man was told that he must not be afraid to look. So he did and saw many coyotes, old and yong. The coyotes began to roll in the dust then they came to the man and gave him plant roots and told him that the roots were good for healing the sick.   

 

Then one of the coyotes arose and said, “We will give you this root and if any many is bitten by a mad dog give him this medicine. He will then get well and not go mad. The other medicinal roots are good for other ailments and pains.” 

 

 

Next a wolf stood up and rolled in the dust. Then he arose and gave the man a whistle and said, “I give you the whistle. When anybody is sick, use this whistle and the person will be made well.” Then another wolf arose and gave the man a piece of bone with the skull of a wolf on it and said, “Take this piece of bone. If anyone attempts to poison or bewitch you, lay the bone on your forehead and you will be able to overcome them. My power is the bone.” 

Finally the man spoke and said, “This is enough. I thank you wolves and coyotes, I am glad I came here.” 

 

Then coyote took the man back to the village. “When you get home,” the coyote said, “take this whistle. Blow it before you get home. Blow hard and we will hear it; all the coyotes and wolves will hear it.” 

 

The man did as he was told and heard the coyotes and wolves howl in the distance. 

After several days he heard of a man who was very ill. He went to him and doctored him. With the new healing powers he had learned from the wolves and the coyotes, he was able to cure the sick man. 

 

Thus began the journeys of the first healers.

So, let me ask you this if I may.  Are you a healer? 

 Do you know that there are many ways to heal someone? 

 It may take only a smile or a hug.

  It might take a hot cup of tea and you just being a good friend by listening.

  In remembering that sometimes people just need to talk without a word from you;

 the healing has begun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RABBIT THE MIGHTY HUNTER AND WHY THERE ARE BROWN RABBITS


Another story remembered and told by me, Hawk Lessard
One day Rabbit took his bow and arrow and went hunting. He left the house where he lived with his mother and hopped through the forest, happy to be out and about. Suddenly he saw huge footprints in the track.
“Wow!  Look at the size of this!” Rabbit said,  twitching his nose. He hopped into the middle of the left footprint,  took six long hops to reach the right one.
“This fellow is some big man” he said out loud, talking to himself because no one else was there. The forest was silent. He couldn’t even hear a wing flap, or a  bee buzzing.
“I bet that big man’s hunted everything!” said Rabbit  angrily. And sure enough, when he checked, there  wasn’t anything left to hunt.  Rabbit went home to his mother and told her he hadn’t hunted  anything for dinner because the big man had been to the forest first. She  patted him on the head. “Don’t worry dear. I’ve picked some berries.  We can have them for dinner.”  “I don’t want stupid berries. I want to eat something I’ve hunted!”  Rabbit grumbled to himself. He didn’t say it out loud because he didn’t  want to hurt his mother’s feelings.
The next day Rabbit got up earlier, hoping to hunt before the big man  came. No luck. Everything had gone already. “It’s not fair!” cried  Rabbit, stamping his feet.  Each day Rabbit got up earlier and earlier, and each day the same thing  happened. The big man got there first. Rabbit became angrier and angrier. “I will set a trap for the big man. And  when I catch him, I’ll shoot him with my bow and arrow.” He strung a  net across the track to catch anyone who walked down it. Then he went  home to his mother, thinking “this will be the last night I have to  eat berries for dinner. Tomorrow I’ll be able to go hunting.”
The next morning Rabbit got up extra early and  went to check on his net. “Oh no!” He wailed.  “The  big man has walked right throng it and made a big  hole!” He went home and told his mother.  “Don’t worry dear, have a berry” she said.  “I don’t want any more berries” cried Rabbit “I want to eat something I have hunted.” Then he looked at his mother and thought for a moment. “You know some magic. Will you make me a special net?” he pleaded.  “Alright. If it will make you happy.” She told Rabbit to go away because the magic was secret. When he came back she gave him a net as thin as a spider’s web, but stronger than any net ever made.  Rabbit tied it across the track in the forest. The next morning, he got up extra early and rushed out into the forest. He hopped round a bend in the track and skidded to a halt. There was a blinding light coming from his magic net. It was so bright, he couldn’t look at it for more than a second. “Oh No!” he wailed. “I’ve captured the SUN”.  “Let me out of here,” roared Sun in a deep load voice that shook the forest. Rabbit fell backwards onto the track, then hopped home as fast as he could to tell his mother.
“You must let Sun out of the net,” said his Mother “Look how dark it is everywhere.” “I’m scared” said Rabbit.
“I know” answered his mother, “but if you don’t let Sun out of the net it will always be dark.  Here’s a magic knife. Go and cut the net.” Rabbit hopped back into the forest.
“Let me out of here” roared Sun, thrashing around in the net with his big feet. Rabbit slowly moved forward, his little legs shaking with fright. The closer  he got, the hotter it became. Closer and hotter, closer and hotter.
Little legs shaking and sweat gushing from him, Rabbit shielded his eyes and  reached up to cut the net with the magic knife.  Sun struggled free then jumped upwards. One of his big feet kicked  Rabbit on the shoulders, almost knocking him over. The sky filled with  light again and all the animals cried out in happiness.
Rabbit looked at his sore shoulders. They were scorched brown with  the heat from Sun’s foot – and they are still brown to this day.
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The Little Rabbit Who Talked Too Much


I take no credit for this story.  It was once told to me and so relay it you.
One time, long ago, there was a little rabbit and her coat was gleaming white, and so she was called Little White Rabbit. She liked to visit her Grandmother who lived in a lodge on the edge of a big wood. One day, as she was starting home from her grandmother’s lodge, she met a stranger she had never known before – a big cat. He sang this song to her:
Tell me, little one,
Why are your ears thin like leather?
All thin and straight your ears are,
All thin and straight.
Why is this so, little White one?
Little White Rabbit was so afraid of this stranger and his big green eyes that she crouched flat to the ground and said, “E! E! E!”. Then she ran back to her grandmother as fast as she could. “Oh Grandmother!!” she said, “I met a stranger, a spotted one with green eyes and fringe on his ears! He want to know why my ears are thin and straight!”
“Ho, that must be the big cat. He is bad fellow,” said her grandmother. “Run back and if you see the stranger, tell him that your uncles fixed your ears that way when they came from the South. Tell him only that! Do not say anything more, but run!” Little White Rabbit ran back the same way to go home and there was the big cat again so Little White Rabbit sang this song:
My uncles came from the South
and they fixed my ears that way:
My uncles fixed my nice long ears
when they came from the South.
Little White Rabbit would have started home then but the big cat stared at her with his big green eyes and sang:
Where, pretty white one, Where do you go? Where, pretty white one, Oh where do you go?
Little White Rabbit was so frightened that she again said “E! E! E!” and ran back to her grandmother again as fast as she could run. “Oh, Grandmother,” she said, “the spotted stranger wants to know where I am going. I am afraid of the spotted one!”
“Ho!” said her grandmother, “you should be afraid of that stranger. Go back and if you see him again tell him you are going home. Tell him only that! Do not say more, but run!”  Little White Rabbit went back to go home and there was the stranger waiting again. But instead of repeating only her grandmother’s words, only what her grandmother said, Little White Rabbit sang:
To the point of Land I go,
for there is where my home is.
To the Point of Land,
there I am going, where I live.
Then Little White Rabbit laid her ears flat back on her shoulders and started on, but the big cat stared at her with those green eyes and sang this song:
Why, why do you run away, pretty one?
Stay, pretty white one.
Tell me how you run so fast.
Tell me how you keep your feet so dry.
Little White Rabbit was even more afraid now, more than ever before and she said “E! E! E!” and she ran back to her grandmother. She said “Oh, Grandmother, I am so so so so  afraid! The spotted one wants to know how I can run so fast!. He wants to know how I keep my feet so dry!”
“Ho!” said her grandmother, “do not mind the big cat, he is not to be trusted, we do not know him as a friend. He is a stranger. Do not listen to him but run home to your mother. The lynx is only bad, an idle one who is not good to listen to or be with. He is not to be trusted!
So Little White Rabbit ran away just as fast as she could toward home. She did not see the big cat anywhere as she ran home, so she began to feel safe. She hurried along the path wishing she were safe at home with her mother on the Point of Land. Nowhere was she able to see the spotted one with those big green eyes and fringed ears.
But the big cat knew where she was going, for Little White Rabbit had told him. She had told him more than her grandmother has said to tell him! She had told him where she lived! Because the big cat was told more than he should know, he was able to slip through the brush unseen and he quietly hid in the grass on the Point of Land, very very close to Little White Rabbit’s home. And when Little White Rabbit came along the big cat jumped out and ate Little White Rabbit all up to the very last bit. And Little White Rabbit never was seen again! No one ever knew what happened to her that day! So it is told!
And so now you can see, it is not good to stop and talk to strange ones, but rather one must say very little or nothing to strange ones and run away to safety!
END
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The Rainbow Crow


I am a story-teller.  I take no credit for the start of the story.  These stories have been told in the past and so like my ancestors I remember and then tell the story as I remember it.

The Rainbow Crow

As remembered and re-told by Hawk Lessard.
Over this hard winter many seem to be enduring I think about spring and rainbows.  I thought about rainbows because of a prism hanging in my kitchen window.  It brought me to this story.
It as ever so cold as the snow falling put a white blanket across the lands.  Ice hung from the trees and the waters were frozen so solid you could walk on it.
Since this was the first of its kind and the animals were all new; the did not know what to do.  Some liked it at first and played in the white fluffy stuff but soon when they got wet and cold they did  not like it so much.
The little animals could not walk on it and they were afraid that if this white stuff stayed they would all die.

They all went to the wisest of all animals; they owl.  When they told the owl of their concerns he gave them a good plan that they all liked.  We will send a messenger to the creator.  Oh they liked this plan but who to send?  The owl could not go because daylight hurt his eyes.  Coyote could not go because he got distracted easy.  The turtle was to slow to get an answer fast enough.  Okay we could send the crow who has the most beautiful feathers and clever.  They picked crow to make the journey.
.Even though this was going to be a long way to go, Crow would do this.  He left and flew up over the trees and though the clouds.  He had no place to rest as he flew through the night, in between the stars and finally he got to the place of the Creator.  Now creator was very busy.  So Crow began to sing. His song was so different creator stopped working and went to crow.
  As they sat and talked crow told of the white blanket that was so nice but oh so cold and so much of it caused problems.  Would they freeze and die, he asked.  Could creator take away this beauty.  Creator told crow that his white blanket was called snow and no they would not die.  He also explained that the snow and the ice had spirits of their own and could not be taken away just yet.
You will not freeze nor shall you die if you build fire to keep warm by.  Creator took a stick from a fallen tree and held it deep into the sun to gain a fire.  He handed crow the cool end of the stick and told crow he needed to fly fast back to earth so the fire would not burn up the stick.  Crow sang his thanks to creator, then as fast as he could he flew back to his home. However, as he flew the sparks caught his tail on fire and it turned black.  As the fire burned his body his beautiful feathers all turned black.  The smoke got into his throat and his singing voice was burned and all he could sing was ha, ha.  He got back to his home and by this time his entire body was black and
By the time Rainbow Crow landed among the freezing-cold animals of Earth, he was black and he could no longer sing.  What came out was a sound that was either a caw or ha ha.  But he got the fire going and the snow melted and the animals were warm.
Now crow was proud that he could be of help to the other animals but he was sad.  Then he felt a breeze go through his feathers and when he looked up there was creator.  Creator told crow not to be sad and then he gave crow the gift of knowledge.  All animals will be happy to see you and when humans come they will not hunt you for you will taste bad to them,like the smoke from a fire.  they can not put you in a cage to sing so you see you will be free.
Then Creator gently lay his hand on crows body and feathers and they turned shiny and pretty again.   Now in the sun his feathers were pretty again.  As Creator was leaving he was heard to say – now when animals and humans alike see you they will all know of the sacrifice you have made.
Well that is why we see crow and can hear him say, ha  – ha and so we call him Uncle HaHa.
That is all there is – there isn’t anymore.
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The Run Away Camper


  • DOLLY
    Dolly was an elder I met many years ago when I lived in Orlando, Florida. Her daughter Geri and I also became good friends. For the time I lived in the city it was great
    to go to Geri’s house for tea or to Dolly’s home for lunch or to have them at my place. We always had wonderful times to share with each other. I truly do miss them both
    and think of them often now that I live so very far away.  Dolly has long since passed over to another world where I know she lives in pure love. For that is what she lived while she was here on this earthly plane. She showed me how one could live in gentleness, no matter what the circumstance. She had during her lifetime twenty-nine cancer surgeries on her face. You would never know it unless she told you or show you pictures of before and after.  She lived in a great deal of physical pain and tiredness, yet she always shared the love in her heart. Geri has moved onto a new life as I have and we
    have lost touch with each other but I have only the fondest memories of her. My hopes for her are that she is happy and doing well for herself. I would like to honor them both with the following story about them for even today they are touching my life.

  • Dolly even after all of the surgeries to her face, still smiled and you could tell her heart overflowed with love for her people. She loved to show me pictures of herself
    before the first time she had to have part of her mouth
    cut away and reconstructed. There was significant changes in her. No matter how she felt physically she would smile, yet she longed for the old days of our ancestors.

    One day while having lunch at her kitchen table she told me that she knew that it would not be long before she passed from this world and the one thing she wanted was to go to a full moon gathering. I sat and thought about what she was asking. I had only heard of the full moon gathering but had never been to one. So, I suggested that we find out where one was being held. She knew right away the place to go to and we made plans to go to the very next gathering. After investigating more about the gathering I found out that I
    could sell some of my jewelry there after the ceremony had taken place. So, I made sure that everything I had made was tagged for sale. Little did I know then that this would be the start of a new road in life for me. We set the date and as the time came I had worked at my day job and had the car packed and ready to pick up Dolly and her belongings. She was so excited and I couldonly be just as giddy as she was. A new adventure for the
    two of us was about to unfold. We had some trouble finding the place and ended up in what I thought was a wrong place but when I asked for directions the people at the first campgrounds told me of the gathering they would be having in just two weeks from that date. So, I wrote down the information and knew in my heart that I had to be there. Even though there was apprehension in my heart about that particular place I wanted to be there. I could feel a new door opening up for me.
    We eventually found the grounds in which we needed to be and the hour was late. Looking around people had their campfires going while they settled into their own
    tents. Dolly at this time was completely worn out from the excitement and the drive, yet I knew I had to get the tent up and warmed so she could rest and feel better
    The tent I had been new and I had no idea as to what I was doing. I was also very tired but the back of my mind. Dolly’s comfort was the task at hand and I started it with my diligence in my heart.  As I struggled in the dark only being illuminated by
    lantern light with being tired and trying to get the tent up I heard a mans voice say “have you got any steaks?” Despairingly I replied – “no but we have hot dogs in the cooler if you have a fire and can cook them, we willgladly share”. I turned around and there stood a very tall man in dark clothing. He started to laugh and so did the woman beside him. I felt embarrassed. Did I look that bad that they would laugh at me? “I then said – we did not bring much food but we will share with you:”. I looked at them through the light given off by our lantern. He tried to contain his laughter and said, “no, I mean tent stakes.” I sat down hard and started to laugh at myself. “Yes, I have tent stakes.  I have never put up a tent before and I was really almost to tired to figure out how to do this but knew I need to get this done and to get Miss Dolly settled in.
    Funny, I do not remember their names but do remember the faces of both of them. As well I will always remember their kindness. They both took just a few minutes to put the tent up and stake it into the ground. After thanking them both, I got Dolly settled into her sleeping bag and then I settled in.  After warmth had filled the tent and we made ourselves comfortable I crawled into my own blankets and fell into a deep sleep.

    The next morning after making breakfast over an open campfire for Dolly and myself, I finished setting up one table for merchandise. As I was unpacking one statue
    that I had made, a man by the name of Bobby came over. Funny how I can remember him and his name, but not the names of the two angels that came to help us the
    night before. Anyway he asked how much the Indian painted statue was and immediately gave me the money I asked for. No questions at all, he just handed me his
    money and took his prize with him. Just that easy, I made my first sale. I never got to fully unpack it, so I deposit the statue in the box and he walked away happy. I showed Dolly and she smiled telling me that this is the place I needed to be. I hugged her and went
    back to my work. The day went on and the excitement grew as this was the
    evening of the full moon gathering and the people had begun to gather. In groups. How wonderful this day felt as I made many sales that day although I could not tell you to this day what else I sold or how much money I had made. Somehow money was not important to me at this time. Could this truly be what I was supposed to bedoing with my life? Many hours would be filled with thoughts on this new path that seemed to be laid out
    before me. The only thing I knew was that my heart was full and there so much going on. I met many wonderful people who we shared the  weekend with. People walked around making sure we all had what was needed to get through the day. I could not think about any one thing because my mind overflowed with so many good things.  That night all vendors turned off their lights as the sun went down for the drum started and so did the singing. The center fire was lit and then……….it was time for the
    ceremony to begin.

    I will tell you much about the gathering at a later date but for now please know that this was a beginning for me and I was privileged not only to be there for myself but
    to also be there with Miss Dolly who knew this would be her last gathering. She knew it, the rest of us did not want to face or even look at what was happening for her.
    Everyone loved Dolly and she sure did show her love for
    them. That night after the ceremony was completed we all shared food together. There was a long table filled with food that many had brought to share and everyone ate – everyone ate till tummies became full and there was much sharing amongst all who attended. Many shared with others their own experience of that night. Nobody went away
    hungry for even those who came just to visit and watch also had been given a plate of food.  After making sure that Dolly had eaten and was ready to go to sleep for the night we both knew how very tired our bodies felt. However as she told me that there is so
    much to share here and she was tired but did not want it all to end. I knew what she was saying. I also knew we could not be long before we would slide into deep sleeps
    and much dreaming. As I made Dolly comfortable in her sleeping bag I leaned
    over to kiss her good night. She said to me as she briefly held my hand, “Thank you., I can not tell you what you have done for me.” At that moment as our eyes met in
    the glow of the lantern, my heart-felt full. In my heart, body and soul I knew that total love filled that campsite that night.  She then said – “get into your bed. I want to share a story
    with you. It will be the first story of many you will collect.” I did not question her at that time I just excepted her words. Soon I settled into the warmth and softness of my own bedding. Then she began. “You will one day learn to work with the Raven. The bird has much
    to teach you. You see all animals have something to teach us. Once you learn what each animal represents, you will see life differently. So let me tell you this story
    that was told to me when I was just a young girl myself. One day a very long time ago a large Raven while in his flight was very thirsty. As he flew from tree to tree he
    saw on the ground a gourd. The gourd was large and round with a tall slender neck.
    As Raven flew down to the ground and stood by the large gourd he saw in the bottom cool clear water. However, he could not reach down to the bottom to drink. Here he was in sight of water but could not reach it. As he hopped around trying to get to the water he saw a group of small rocks. The rocks seemed big enough for him to hold in his beak. It was then he knew what to do. One by one he picked up a stone and dropped it into the
    gourd. As he dropped the small stone into the gourd the water began to rise. Higher and higher the water rose and very soon the water reached the brim of the gourd. It
    was then the Raven could drink until he was not thirsty anymore. So you see my friend – you must keep adding to yourself until you are thirsty no more.” “Do you understand what this story means to you?” “I think so Dolly but I need to let this story marinate for
    awhile.” Then we fell asleep – deep wonderful sleep. Full of great dreams and comfort.
    Sunday came and we sold more merchandise – talked to many people and I knew that I would come back to this gathering many times. I was making contacts here that
    would show me how I needed to be on this path. This new and wonderful way of life filled my spirit. Could this be what I had been searching for all of my life? I looked up just as some leaves came tumbling down from a branch and I felt the thrill of the autumn of
    the year greeting me. Later in the early evening it was time to pack up and get Dolly back home.

    A sort of sadness and longing filled my heart as we began driving away. The smile on my face let me know that I would be back. I was grateful to have taken part of this gathering but even more grateful that such a great lady was there to share this time with me. It was like having the family I had always wanted and here we gathered. Many years have passed and I have traveled many miles. Stories have come to me and I have collected much wisdom. However the one good thing I knew in my heart that I had done was to help bring Miss Dolly to a new home. She was only gifted one more trip to the next full moon gathering when her health brought her farther on the path to meet her ancestors.  Now when I travel and stop for a bit and I happen to see a white feather my thoughts go to Miss Doll.


Listen to your elders; help them when you can, love them always. Keep close to your heart what has been given to you so freely so that one day you can pay it forward. As well, pay attention to what happens to you or for you, there is a lesson waiting for you to open your eyes and heart to see it.

 

THEN END

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