A group of us had gathered this last weekend to take part in an inipi, an Indian sweat. The gentleman who runs the sweat had just moved to a new location, so we had to go earlier than usual and help build a new inipi lodge. While the men where out gathering willow, us women stayed at the house and visit. One women brought her granddaughter and for me, what a treat this child turned out to be.
This little girl, Katie, was not one bit shy. She was probably about six or seven years old, but you could tell she yearned to be older. The first thing she wanted to show off was her purple and clear high heel shoes. They were for play dress up. When she would slip them on, she would dance around and by the gleam in her face you knew she felt like a princess. Oh, to be young again!
Before noon time hit, Katie had been out in the yard gathering all the dandelions her little hands could hold. Then she proceeded to gift everyone with a yellow flower. Some of us put the flowers collectively into a cup of water, while others, including me, would put them in the button hole of our shirts.
Later that afternoon, some of us were outside in the back yard preparing the willows the men had retrieved earlier. I sat there with my knife and gently peeled off the outer bark. It was not long before Katie came around to help. I would peel the strips of bark back so far and Katie would pull them off the rest of the way. Her job was to gather the long strips of bark and place them into the buckets of water. We are to use these strips as rope later in tying the inipi together.
As Katie would sit there waiting patiently for pieces to pull and collect she would talk. One point she said I reminded her of her Grandma Mary. She suddenly saw the flower in my button hole and was surprised that is was dried up and shriveled already. Well, as her Grandma Mary substitute, I decided to teach her about the cycle of the flowers life.
I explained to her that without water or food, it was dieing. I continued to explain that the flower will eventually crumble and become part of the very dirt we were sitting upon and also become food for the other plants. I watched her face as we spoke of this. Her loose hair was gently riding on the breeze and would fall in her face. She pulled back her hair and then I saw a light go on in her eyes. She replied, “Oh I just had a vision. So this flower will go back to the ground and other flowers like this will grow again”.
I was surprised in her quick thinking and reasoning, so I decided not to become technical here. I was pleased and replied with a gentle laughter, “yes, something like that.”
Later on, I went into the house to rest a bit while the men continued to build the inipi. Katie had her coloring books and crayons out and asked if I would color with her. How could I resist. A thirteen year old girl, Ashley joined us. Katie loved more company. Even though Katie scribbled, Ashley would encourage her and compliment her on the colors she chose. Not once did Ashley insult or put Katie down for her scribbles. I was impressed by yet another child.
In an inipi, we gather together to pray. We gather together to be closer to the Creator, to be close to things that are holy. We gather to find the holiness in ourselves. Before the inipi was ever built, before the Grandfather rocks were every placed into the sacred fire, before any of us every crawled onto our knees to enter the Mother womb, I experienced the purity of the holiness through Katie and Ashley.
It is in children that God can be found. It is that beginning time in life when we are at our purist and closest to the Creator. These children touched me with honesty and holiness. Thank you Creator, for the gift.