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Summer Solstice: Harvesting Knife: Native Sisterhood Discovered
Fit perfectly in my hand
Corn had been shucked, beans had been canned. Summer had been busy. I had set and cleared the table washing away the remains of a bountiful meal. I could hear the television in the other room. The news reported upheaval in all these unfamiliar places all over the world.
I picked up my baby and placed him in the modern papoose. I was determined to go for a walk.
The road lying ahead was like all dirt roads, but this one had only one way out to the main road.
The other direction took you to the woods and up higher to the knob where if you found the right spot and looked hard enough, you could see Grandfather Mountain standing proud a thousand miles away.
I always took my walk in the other direction. I had no want for visiting with neighbors- just solitude with my baby. And with my baby snuggled up against me, I walked. I walked until the lightening bugs blinked their luciferous lights all around me. Courting and carrying on like a bunch of prepubescent teens. I continued as I passed that plant or herb that I do not know the name of but smells like lemons.
I wondered about all the women who had walked before me carrying infants in makeshift papooses. I bet they had a name for the lemony herb and probably tons of uses.
I live in a quickly changing part of Appalachia where there are still dirt roads and footpaths made by families who have lived here for generations where some of us never think twice about hollerin’ for our young’uns or expecting them to mind what we tell them. Though our numbers are decreasing as our elders are dying off and folks from other places are moving in bringing with them their customs and taboos.
And while I know change is an inevitable force, I can’t help feel a certain kind of sadness for the cultures that get lost in the exchange.
I walk. I walk to the knob. I salute Grandfather. I touch my little one’s tiny face and sit on the rock and rest. I wait for something that I can’t identify to remind me of who I am.
After my respite, I turn to head home. As I walk back, the woods are darker and the air is cooler. I make it back home and gently place my sleeping baby in his crib. I walk outside and make my way to the garden. I kick off my shoes so that I can feel the coolness of the dirt on my tired feet. I walk the aisles of my outdoor market proud of the food I have raised. It is then that I see the point sticking out ever so slightly in the earth. I reach down and brush the dirt aside.
And there on this magnificent night is my Native sister’s harvesting knife. Too big to be an arrowhead and yet so perfect a fit for my own hand.
Treya means "New River"
She shakes the briars
From her long crow-colored hair
Now sprinkled with the frost of many winters:
Young warriors slip away
With peace pipes and knives
She yearns to be young again
A drummer summons the tribal
Knee high braves
Running and hiding behind the trees
Maidens take turns
Beading and painting
Eagerly awaiting her favorite
Young mothers look at her
And sees her own future
“Spirit of New River”
© 2013 ocfireflies