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Full moon dances with clouds last night

The Anishinabe People (Ojibway) who live in our area call this December moon the Little Spirit Moon.  Some refer to it the Small Spirits Moon.  January’s moon is called the Great Spirit Moon. 

This month, on December 31st, another moon will rise in our night sky.  Many of us call the second moon in a month with two moons “The Blue Moon”.  Which is why you’ve probably heard the old-time saying, “once in a blue moon” implying something doesn’t happen very often.

I do not know what the Anishinabe call the Blue Moon.  I do not even know why they call this month the “Little Spirit Moon” although I could tell you some possible stories which may or may not be true.  Today it made me think of the small things in life, the little spirits, the precious gifts of life which are sometimes easy to overlook.

A small spirit: perhaps a coneflower or wild bergamot

Perhaps it’s because the sun keeps inching further and further away from our world.  As the darkness descends oh-so-early some people experience a feeling of despair or apathy or depression.  Perhaps “Small Spirits Moon” is meant to imply this is a time of year when our spirits sometimes flag or despair.  I’ve heard it said that our Christmas lights and candles burn in the darkness to help us through the bridge of the Winter Solstice.   That we share the light in this deepening darkness to help each other through these days.

As the earth in this northern hemisphere tilts away from the sun, the snows begin to fall.  The ice begins to freeze on our lakes and rivers.  We saw the first ice forming on a couple small lakes today. 

The sheen of new ice

Most of my outdoor commitment happened after dark today.  When one is planning to write a blog about the moon, one should go outside and look for it.  However, it wasn’t ready to rise in our sky at 7 p.m.  So I ambled in the dark.  How many of you have ambled in the dark in a forest?

It is a very interesting experience.

Can you see the ghostly images of trees?

You can see that it was snowing lightly this evening.  While it was dark, there seemed enough light to avoid falling in ditches, blindly running into trees or tripping over stumps.  I stayed fairly close to the house.  The wind rustled through the trees.  Suddenly–over there!–a great rustling ensued!  (My mind then began to wonder what that rustling might be.  Bears?  Deer?  Chipmunks?)  But the rustling stopped and the forest returned to silence punctuated with dog barks in the distance, perhaps the yip of a coyote, the low hoot of a faraway owl.

Our little house in the dark (with the moon in hiding)

Even though the snow fell gently down from the sky, it almost felt warm.  It’s nice to be bundled up in your warmest clothes when outside in December after dark. 

Goodnight, Little Spirit Moon.

P.S.  I just looked at the last two photos on a different computer and can not even SEE the ghostly images of trees and snow flakes and the soft etchings of our house against the darkness.  On this computer they basically look like two black photos.  Laughing…well I guess SOME of you can see the subtle ghostly images and the rest of you can enjoy the black night.   tee hee…

Hidden lake at dusk

It’s been 336 days now.  Three hundred thirty-six days of opening the door, walking outside.  In rain, in snow, in sunshine, in happiness, in resentment, in indifference, in delight.  The outdoors has opened itself to me, and I have opened myself to it. 

One month from now, on December 21st, the Winter Solstice will occur.  One year ago on the Winter Solstice we built a big bonfire back behind the house in a clearing in the woods.  My daughter, Kiah, was home and we invited a good friend, Catherine, over for the official commitment ceremony.  We each stated what we desired to accomplish during the next year and placed our slips of paper in the fire…which carried our intention to the heavens in the form of smoke and ash.  If you want to read about that first evening by the roaring fire please click here.

And now the year is winding down, as the hours of sunlight decrease each day.  Winter approaches.  We’re moving toward the depths of the year, toward the darkest hours.  Here is the place where we perhaps dream of next year.  Where the seeds of our next movements are born.

The tiniest of tiny green mosses, up close

We contemplate, we give thanks.  We dream perhaps of new directions.  Perhaps we’ve traveled west for a while; now it’s time to travel north.  (Metaphorically speaking, of course.  I am still aiming to travel ALL directions!)  We say goodbye to the green grasses and fallen leaves.  Snow’s sleep will come upon them soon.

Red berries over wooden dock

I spent lots of time outside today.  How shall I count the ways?  Outside helping Barry with his garage-addition project (two or three times).  Outside picking stray wet leaves out of the perennial garden.  And later on in the late afternoon, Barry and I decided to drive over to Keweenaw Bay to Carla’s Restaurant.  I really didn’t need to eat out any more after last week’s eating-out-extravaganza in San Diego.  But poor Barry hasn’t eaten out much lately…so over to Carla’s we drove.

A cornucopia of red berries!

On the way there I asked, “Would you like to see the hidden lake I discovered earlier this year?”  Yes, he would like.  It’s behind the Pow Wow grounds.  You can read about the magical day of discovering the hidden lake here.

We followed the almost-hidden path back to the little lake just as dusk descended.  He liked it.  I was pleased to see the placid waters yet again.  Ducks flew up in a squawking flight of wings as we approached.  It looked like they were running across the lake as they attempted to rise.  The lake was filled with invisible duck tracks that shimmered in the fading light.

Partridge on fence?

We walked back to the car.  “Hey!  Look at that partridge over there on the fence!” I said.  Grabbed the camera, stalked toward it (probably with all the finesse of a large elephant).  Triumphant because the partridge was not moving.  It would be the best partridge photo of the year! A National Geographic up-close wild animal shot.

But wait a minute.  As I got closer it didn’t look like a partridge anymore.  It looked like…

Owl wing

…an owl wing.

An owl wing?  What was an owl wing doing here on the fence?

But then I got the shivers.

The book I am writing for NaNoWriMo is about an Ojibway medicine man named Kookookoo’oo.  (Well it’s partially about an Ojibway medicine man, but he’s a big part of the story.)  And you know what Kookookoo’oo means?  You got it. 

Owl.

I’m not 100% certain it’s an owl wing. It could be some kind of little hawk wing.  (In which case the medicine man might be saying, “Change my name, will you?”)  But I have found many owl and hawk feathers over the years and these looked more like owl. 

OK.  That’s the story of how today’s outdoor and indoor adventures and dreams all merged together.

Our weekend motto

Our weekend motto

This blog is Part II of our weekend attempt to Climb Silver Mountain.  For Part I, please click yesterday’s post. To summarize:  we did not Climb Every Mountain yesterday.  We searched high and low and followed every rainbow but did not reach Silver Mountain. Instead we were sidetracked into a delicious dinner at the Hardwood Steakhouse. 

 This morning our conversation went like this:

 Barry:  Let’s go back and climb Silver Mountain.

 Kathy:  No, I don’t want to drive all the way back there.

 Barry:  OK, let’s not go.

 Kathy:  Wait a minute, maybe we should go.

 Barry (a few hours later):  No, it looks like it’s going to rain.  Let’s not go.

 Kathy:  OK.

 Barry:  It looks like it’s not going to rain now.  Let’s go.

 Kathy:  Arhggghghghghghghghghgh!!!!! 

Prickett Dam

Prickett Dam

This time we drove directly there.  We did not drive through convoluted backwoods roads.  We were civilized.  We took the paved highway and followed the nicely marked signs.  There was no question of getting lost.  We knew where we were 99.9% of the afternoon. 

Kids, I’m showing you the picture of Prickett Dam.  Can you believe how low the lake is?  Remember when we camped there?  When all four of us crowded in that tiny rowboat along with our tents and sleeping bags and food and fishing poles and camped there for a weekend?  Didn’t we have fun?  Wasn’t it a lifetime ago?

 Excuse me, all the rest of you.  Needed to break for a Nostalgia Moment.  Prickett Dam was built ‘way back in the 1930’s…the construction of the power dam resulted in the death of hundreds upon hundreds of trees as the river was damned.  One can still see the stumps sticking out of the lake even when the water level is high; this year the stumps themselves rise out of the lake like giant wooden beasts with octopus-like wooden legs stretching out in every direction. They are repairing the dam; the water level will magically rise again to cover up the stump-creatures come spring.

Silver Mountain mine entrance

Silver Mountain mine entrance

 

The famous Silver Mountain steps

The famous Silver Mountain steps

After our view of the low water levels of Prickett Dam Lake, we proceeded easily to Silver Mountain. What were we fussing about yesterday?  So easy to drive there.  How could anyone get lost?  Several other vehicles parked along the base.  Darn, we didnt have the mountain to ourselves.  (We are so spoiled way up north.  It can be so isolated that you hardly cross the path of other folks in the backcountry.  How many other places in the country can you sometimes have a whole mountain–albeit a Michigan mountain–to yourself?)  

Our first peering:  at the closed-off mine shaft built into the side of the mountain.  Back in 1847 miners built a shaft 150 feet into the mountain looking for silver.  A sign says the miners were probably drawn to the area by rumors that the Chippewa had discovered silver particles along the riverbanks.  The Chippewa, however, believed that Silver Mountain was haunted, or at least bad luck.  This may have been well-founded (according to the sign) because the mine was abandoned by the fall of 1847 and no precious metals were ever found there. 

 

The Exquisite View

The Exquisite View

Up the steps we climbed.  Heart pumping faster with each set of steps.  Keep your eyes on the steps, keep your feet square on them.  Hold on to the rail.  In between the steps your feet pound upon the earth.  It almost sounds hollow, like a drum.  The mountain isn’t really a solid mountain…it’s a mine.  And keep your eye open for ghosts!

A giant stone cracked in two

A giant stone cracked in two

 After surveying the vista from the top of the mountain we descended the stairs.  An odd synchronicity met us at the bottom.  First I need to back up to yesterday.  When we were approaching the restaurant last night I said to Barry, “Wouldn’t it be fun to meet Karen and her husband at the restaurant?  I know they live out here.”

 Of course we didn’t see them at the restaurant.  I haven’t even glimpsed Karen since last June or July, when we abandoned our Artist Way gatherings.

 As we descended the last of the steps down Silver Mountain today, guess who drove up in their truck and came walking toward us?  Karen and her husband! 

 I love when this happens!  🙂

Ice

Ice

The Anishinabe (Ojibway) call this November moon “The Freezing Moon”.  We all know why.  As the angle of the earth tilts away from the sun, our northern hemisphere begins to cool.  Winter whispers in the ear of autumn, “You’re outa here!”  Autumn waves the last of her vibrant leaves, recognizing that it’s here time to go.

Vibrant oak leaves...last to go...

Vibrant oak leaves...last to go...

I’ve had a challenging day or so.  I feel overwhelmed; spread too thin.  The precious silence and simplicity that I love has been eaten away by too-much-busyness.  It’s not just the new novel-writing commitment for the month of November.  It’s simply that I am not making enough room for quiet space if my life.  My soul is begging for me to listen and I simply brush it away, “Oh, do be quiet now, I’m busy!”   It feels as if an inner voice keeps whispering, “It’s time to let go of a few things in your life right now.  Let go of a few of those autumn leaves that are ready to release into the wind.”

The Freezing "Moon"

The Freezing "Moon"

People often move to the woods or country desiring a less hectic lifestyle.  They want simplicity, quiet, ease of life.  That can happen if one cultivates it.  But more often than not, Life and Busy-ness have a way of finding you even in the backwoods.  Busy-ness can take over your life, wherever you go. 

When Busy-ness starts getting overwhelming, we need to have a talk with her. 

“This is what must go,” we might say to Ms. Busy-ness.  “This and this and this.  You might like all these things, but are they really necessary?”

And we know what is simply wasting precious minutes and hours in our day.  We know.  But it’s often challenging to let that autumn leaf fall off the branch.  To simply let go of that which is not serving us, in order to give more quality time to that which nourishes our souls.

Snowy bike

Autumn slipping away...

Snow fell on the morning of the full moon.  Less than an inch draped our car, scattering on the fallen leaves.  In town, at the top of the hill, as I drove to get my hair trimmed, I noticed at least two or three inches of white.  Amazing how one area has no snow; three miles away you almost need boots. 

Every person is different.  Some of us need huge vistas of silence, of space, of walking in the woods with the companionship of the sun and moon.  Another person is satisfied with much less.  The snow falls in different proportions everywhere; we must listen to our inner guidance and follow the quiet direction which prompts us.

A frozen Buick

A frozen Buick

Too often if we refuse to heed our wise inner voice, our body speaks up instead and suggests a nice vacation with the flu or perhaps some other illness. 

I’m going to try, starting today, to make room in the midst of busy-ness.  Perhaps the busy-ness will sit back and relax.  Perhaps she and I will share a cup of jasmine tea and some silence.

Perhaps the leaves will effortlessly release from the trees and drift in the autumn wind, beneath The Freezing Moon.

Perhaps.

Miracle

Miracle

Outdoors today:  helped Barry move and cover the wood splitter.  Then we carried long heavy boards for his garage edition.  Later we covered the woodpile.  More checks off our “to do list” before winter arrives.

Catch a falling leaf and put it in your pocket...

Catch a falling leaf and put it in your pocket...

The Anishinabe (or Ojibway) call this October moon “The Moon of the Falling Leaves”.  This one isn’t hard to figure out.  The leaves are falling everywhere.  They’re not falling like they will fall in a week or so, but now they trickle down from the trees, splashing their red and orange and yellow colors everywhere.

It’s still raining.  Here’s what happens:  rain pours non-stop from the sky in a flurry of wet showers.  Then it ceases.  The sun even sometimes peeks briefly from behind the cloud-studded sky as if to say “Is it safe for me to come out yet?”  But then quickly ducks back in just as another rain shower pours from the heavens.  Yep, that’s how it’s been for days now.  The temperature stays in the upper 40’s or lower 50’s.

Three Leaves

Three Leaves

Today, in between rain showers, we pulled up the brown tomato plants and threw them in the woods.  Most of the tomatoes were rescued from freezing the other night, so the ripe ones already sit inside on the kitchen countertop and the green ones lie in the basement sandwiched between newspapers.  Just before we finished, the rain unexpectedly drenched us as another shower passed through.  I don’t know why I said “unexpectedly”.  These rain showers are getting quite expected every twenty minutes.

Colors lined up in a row

Colors lined up in a row

Good news!  The phone just rang and it was my mom.  She and dad are (hopefully) planning a trip up to visit next weekend. Hurray!  (This, however, means that I will need to spend a great deal of time INSIDE in the next several days cleaning up the house.)  But don’t worry, the outdoor commitment will still happen.

Here are some interesting photos from our trip to Houghton last night.  We drove down near the lift bridge when Barry said, “Look at that girl!  You have to take a picture.”  He prepared to stop the car.  I was full from dinner and muttering something like, “I don’t WANT to take a picture…” but the car was stopped and he gestured over toward the bridge supports.  I reluctantly opened the door.

But what a surprise!  How cool!  Some graffiti artist had drawn cool-looking figures on the supports.  Now, I know some people think this is defacing public property, and maybe it is.  But I loved all three figures!  Great art on the construction site.  (Much nicer than looking at all the construction vehicles.)  What do you think?

Girl playing violin in construction zone

Girl playing violin in construction zone

Somebody wants Change

Somebody wants Change

The Inspector looks around, wondering who the artist might be.

The Inspector looks around, wondering who the artist might be.

Wild rice moon shines on the Keweenaw Bay

Wild rice moon shines on the Keweenaw Bay

The September full moon shines upon us now.  With her lovely white orb, she brightens our nights.  Some call her the “Harvest Moon” honoring that many of our plants reach their full zenith now.  The garden produce finds its way into our kitchens, canning jars and freezers. 

The Anishnabe or Ojibway people of this land called this the Wild Rice Moon.  It was time to harvest the wild rice, known as manoomin, growing to full maturity in the small lakes or slow-moving streams.  The natives would often utilize their canoes harvest the staple seed which would nourish them through the long, cold winter.  They would bend the ripe grain heads with wooden sticks called knockers, threshing the seeds into the canoe.  For a more detailed explanation click here.

Many folks think that wild rice is a grain, but it actually is a seed.  We’ve been eating it more frequently in the last three or four years.  I like to add it to long or short grain brown rice and cook for 50 minutes.  In a separate skillet, saute some vegetables such as chopped onions, garlic, diced carrots, celery or other favorites.  Toss in the cooked rice, your choice of spices, and perhaps some soy sauce or vinegar.  Very good.  (Thinking about having some of this tomorrow with veggie and shrimp shishkabobs on the grill!)

Wild rice in wooden bowl

Wild rice in wooden bowl

The wooden bowl in the picture belonged to my grandpa.  It was a bean bowl.  I am not sure what that means, except he grew up in farming country in Michigan’s Thumb where navy beans grew plentiful.  We often enjoyed meals of baked beans while visiting on Sundays and holidays.  I am wondering if they sorted through the beans in this bowl, picking through the beans to discard the blemished or rotten specimens.  I am also wondering if the natives had wooden bowls like this in which they picked through the wild rice in the same manner. 

High school football game

High school football game

Right before the full moon rose last night, I traveled with Barry for an hour west to Ontonagon.  He had to take pictures at a Baraga High School football game, and  wanted to keep him company.  Even though I was tired of traveling.  It was kinda like a date.  We ate fish at Syl’s Cafe and then caught the first half of the game.

He suggested that I might want to title my blog “This was Once My Life”.  Because for many long years it seemed like we spent many a fall evening at football games.  Our son played for maybe five or six years before a knee injury required surgery.  And then I continued to attend many games that Barry had to cover for the newspaper.  Just so we could spend time together, you know?

The enthusiastic cheerleaders

The enthusiastic cheerleaders

On to today, Saturday.  Here’s the wrap-up.  The most delightful indoor activity of the day was going to the new coffee shop in L’Anse.  I have been so excited that we have been blessed with the first real coffee shop in Baraga County.  Yes, the restaurants serve coffee.  But we haven’t had such a selection of lattes and cappuccinos and wireless internet service.  I parked myself down there this morning for an hour with Ms. Laptop and we had a great time.  People in big cities (or even medium-sized cities) don’t understand what it means to get a coffee shop in a tiny little town.  It’s big.

Outdoor activities today:  harvesting the garden and sitting on the deck.   Yep.  And I’m sitting outside on the deck right now with the traveling laptop and it’s still 74 degrees at 8 p.m.  Life doesn’t get any better than this.

Happy Labor Day weekend, all.

All photos today courtesy of Nancy's gardens

All photos today courtesy of Nancy's gardens

People wonder:  “Who is Centria?” 

“Why are you calling yourself Centria?”

“Why aren’t you calling yourself Kathy in your blog?”

Sigh… It’s time to tell the whole story.  The truth and nothing but the truth.  (Except the truth is always a strange thing.  It kind of shifts shape in our memory, doesn’t it?  You think you’re telling the truth, but what you’re often telling is simply the memory of a memory of a memory, which may or may not resemble the actual happening.)

Why is the author of this blog calling herself a strange name like “Centria”?

Black Eyed Susan, methinks

Black Eyed Susan, methinks

It goes back at least ten years ago, to my wild and crazy youth.  (ha, ha, a story already!)  It wasn’t my youth and I wasn’t that wild and crazy.  Umm, was I?

I was camping out in Montana with a tent beneath the stars in a meadow filled with women on a spiritual quest.  We were given an assignment:  choose a name to represent the qualities we were attempting to bring into our lives in the next year.  Everyone was happily getting into the assignment and picking names which symbolized their deepest desires and yearnings. 

Except I was being stubborn again.  Refusing to come up with a name off the top of my head.  Instead, I decided, a name would have to drop out of the Montana skies and announce itself.  The Spirit of the Land or Sky or whatever would have to choose my name.  (Told you it was a wild and crazy youth.)

The trip happened to coincide with my birthday and I had a strange dream in which some dream-character of a voice announced very clearly:  “Your name is Centria.”

When I woke up, almost gasping at the strange synchronicity, I remember thinking:  “That had better not be the name of a car!”

So Centria it was for that retreat.  Everyone wanted to know what it meant, but I could only mumble something like perhaps being centered, the new century, the female version of the trinity.  Everyone was invited to guess as I had no idea.

Friends from that Montana visit would send cards and packages to the house for years after addressed to “Centria.”  The kids would look askance at the letters and at least one child was known to inquire, “Is that suppose to be YOU, Mom?”

Well, Yes.

The inner world of a hibiscus

The inner world of a hibiscus

Years later (when the Centria era was almost, almost, forgotten) I discovered an on-line world of blogging.  And you needed a name to describe you.  So what name popped up from the recesses of the brain?  Of course…Centria.  She could be resurrected.

Because, of course, at that time, I had heard horror stories about writing your full name in Internet Print.  You weren’t suppose to tell your name.  People could track you down and…well, it wasn’t safe.  So we were told.  (And maybe that is still the case.  I don’t know.  But I see lots of people sharing their full names and contact information on blogs everywhere.  And on Facebook my name now stands out in black and white to 100 friends, three quarters of whom I’ve never met.)  The fear of those early days has abated.

Yet the name Centria remains.  When it came time to write this wordpress blog for 365 days of outdoor commitment it seemed more natural than breathing to type in “Centria”.  The name from that dream, all those years ago, before the new century birthed itself. 

So now you have the full story.  You can call me Centria or you can call me Kathy.  (Or Mom, or daughter, to some of you!)  Or “Hey, You!”  Or maybe even the name some of the Ojibway (Anishnabe) around here call me.  But that’s another story.  And it’s just as strange as this one. 

P.S.  Looks like it’s Day 243 of the commitment. Kathy or Centria spent lots of time in the garden, some time with her mother-in-law on the phone while outside and sitting on the deck with Barry in the sprinkles before dinner.

Three guesses.  What do you think this is?

Three guesses. What do you think this is?

Before we start talking about full moons and such, here’s the game of the day.  What do you think that mysterious photo is?  What could it be?  Here is your only hint.  It was discovered between the house and the mailbox.  Please hazard a guess in the comment section.  Tomorrow will reveal the answer.

So today is August’s full moon.  And what a full moon it is!  Not only is it a dazzling full orb in the sky, it’s also participating in a lunar eclipse tonight.  According to the calendar, the auspicious event takes place at 8:39 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.  It is called a penumbral eclipse.  Wikipedia defines it for us here.  The moon is passing through the earth’s penumbral.  The shadow of the earth has two distinctive parts (how many of you knew this?) Within the umbra, there is no direct solar radiation. However, as a result of the Sun’s large angular size, solar illumination is only partially blocked in the outer portion of the Earth’s shadow, which is given the name penumbra.  There will be a quiz.

Deep in the raspberry/thimbleberry patch

Deep in the raspberry/thimbleberry patch

Now that we have all the scientific discussion out of the way, let’s return to our full moon year-round theme of Ojibway names for the monthly moons.  August is the Berry Moon.  Go figure!  We’ve been on the theme of berries all summer. June was Strawberry Moon, followed by July’s Raspberry Moon.  I might suggest that August should be Blueberry Moon or Thimbleberry Moon, but perhaps the abundance of berries resulted in the generic name. 

However, and this is where it gets confusing, the guy on the radio this morning called it the Sturgeon Moon.  Which a cursory google search revealed is a name “some” Native Americans call this August moon.  My search didn’t reveal what tribe, but explained that many sturgeon are caught in the Great Lakes this month.  (Since we viewed the documentary all about the sturgeon at the Omni Theater in Duluth last month…I am inclined to believe that incredible ancient fish provided much sustenance to the tribes in earlier times before it nearly went extinct.)  P.S.  Even if you caught an elusive sturgeon these days, your instructions are to release.  Or suffer the wrath of the Department of Natural Resources and conservationists everywhere.  Let those sturgeon go.

I decided to pick berries this afternoon instead of go fishin’. 

Ripe and ripening thimbleberries

Ripe and ripening thimbleberries

And what a successful bowl of berries lies ready for tomorrow morning’s breakfast!  Once again, berries will herald the day.  The mingling flavors and textures of thimbleberries and raspberries make for a delightful treat.  As everyone knows, wild berries are much smaller than the cultivated berries you buy at the store or farmers market.  But wild berries taste jam-packed full of flavor.  Big is not always better.

Back to the full moon.  I hope you all glimpse it.  Last night it was a glowing orange-red ball in the southeastern sky around 9 p.m., attempting to crest above the trees in our woods.  Breathtaking beauty. 

Bowl of berries (look at the size of the thimbleberry leaf--bigger than a hand)

Bowl of berries (look at the size of the thimbleberry leaf--bigger than a hand)

Now for the quiz.

1.  What is the first photo?

2.  What is the penumbral?  (ha ha, I had to go back and read again!)

3.  Do you think it’s the Berry Moon or the Sturgeon Moon?

4.  Will you remember to go outside tonight and admire the moon?

The Baraga Pow Wow started last night.

Hundreds of folks gathered to listen to the Native American drums, to dance in the arena, to pray, to socialize, to gather together as families, tribes or nations.

Have you ever heard the drum beat and the call of the singers?  If you have, it stays with you forever.  The eerie cry in Ojibway (or whatever language your Pow Wow brings) wakes up something deep inside of us.  Something which has been sleeping, or missing, or gone.  You can hear the drum beat and suddenly you’re carried back to some ancient memory of the land, of another time, of another language which beats deeper than any words or syllables.

The Drum

The Drum

Eyyy-Eee!  The singers shrill and the Manido looks down from the sky and shrills back its eagle cry.  You stand quivering by the Pow Wow arena, wanting to dance, longing to dance, and when the announcer says, “Inter-tribal!” you can enter the arena and your feet hit the soil like the drum beat.  Up and down you pound the drum of the earth, around and around.  If you dare. 

Grand Entry

Grand Entry

I have a long history with the Native Americans, the Anishnabe, here in this area.  ‘Way back in 1987 I heard the drumbeat for the first time, and it awakened slumbering embers within.  Back in 1988, I danced in this arena, feeling the wind in my hair, returning to a Time before my conscious mind was born.  For about seven years I attended ceremonies and lodges with these people.

Every year, now, I return to give thanks to that which has helped me to awaken deeper to who I am.  It’s a time of deep appreciation, gratitude and honor.

It was hard to come this year, with a camera, and take photos.  Very hard.  My native friend, Denise, had to hold my hand and go ask the people permission for me to take a photo.  Don’t know why it was so hard.  Some people believe that when you take a photograph, your spirit can be stolen in that photo.  There’s all sorts of etiquette and protocol involved. I didn’t want to be stealing any spirits, or to be disrespectful in any way.

So Denise took charge.

Cute young dancer

Cute young dancer

It really wasn’t hard.  No one said “no”.  My main source of irritation (don’t really want to go into this right now, but here’s the gist) is that my camera’s zoom has gone kaput.  OH NO!  This may involve the purchase of a new camera, and after buying a laptop computer this week…that’s financially challenging, to say the least.  Thank goodness for the “crop” feature on the computer.  Otherwise, you’d simply be viewing dots on the horizon, which may have barely resembled humans.

Look at her dance!

Look at her dance!

Today it was fun to spend time talking with friends, listening to the drum, watching the people in their multi-colored regalia.  You can eat fry bread or wild rice soup or an Indian Pizza.  (I bought Denise one after she so kindly asked folks to pose for photographs.)

More dancing! Shawl dancing and jingle dresses everywhere.

More dancing! Shawl dancing and jingle dresses everywhere.

There’s more photos to show you (and tomorrow’s outdoor adventure may involve the Pow Wow again) so stay tuned until tomorrow for more pictures.  Hopefully everyone will have the opportunity to attend a Pow Wow at some time.  Stand very silently and let the drum beat mirror the beat of your heart.  Something very precious may awaken with you.

Shhh!  Can you hear the drums now, out the window, down the road?  They’re calling for you…

Strawberry blossom says it all

Strawberry blossom says it all

The Anishnabe (Ojibway) call this June moon “The Strawberry Moon”.  Barry and I debated that today.  Either (a) this month’s name came from Ojibway living a LOT further south or (b) they meant Strawberry Blossom Moon. 

Our white strawberry blossoms smile up in full bloom.  We won’t be munching juicy ripe delectable strawberries until the July moon is thinking about its encore performance.  Doesn’t a quart of fresh organic sweet berries sound fantastic?  Maybe the Anishnabe were dreaming of strawberries and attempted to speed up time with this month’s name.

Flower sale at the Huron Bay Tavern

Flower sale at the Huron Bay Tavern

You might call this month “Planting Flower Month”.  Every year, about the first weekend in June, folks from downstate travel to the Huron Bay Tavern near Skanee (also fondly known as Billy da Finn’s, although I don’t know why) and sell baskets of flowers, tomatoes, and assorted other vegetables.  We always drive over there and find at least $20 worth of flowers and plants to plant.  (This is after we’ve found lots of other local vegetables which we’ve been curing in the sun and taking inside at night for a couple weeks now.)

Here’s the rule.  If you plant your tomatoes and peppers and beans and zucchini before June 10th:  watch out.  Frost might just attack those tender plants.  Barry’s birthday was yesterday and he thinks the date of planting these warmer-weather vegetables and flowers is June 6th.

So guess what we’ve been doing today?  Planting!

Planting the tomatos.  They are a little yellow, but we're hoping they make it.

Planting the tomatos. They are a little yellow, but we're hoping they make it.

Last night we received a little rain shower.  Not a lot, but enough to wet the ground and water the plants.  The dandelion puffballs looked a tad soaked in the morning, almost like they had a little shampoo.

Soggy dandelion puffball

Soggy dandelion puffball

The forest around our house looks leafy and green.  Spiffed up in its summer clothes. 

Green, green...everywhere you look

Green, green...everywhere you look

So we enjoyed a lovely birthday party this evening.  (Barry’s band played a gig last night so the official celebration was postponed until today.) Dinner menu:  tamale pie and green tossed salad.  Very delicious.  Barry didn’t want a cake, but kindly picked some lupines for our table.  He opened cards and packages and I…oops!…forgot to sing him Happy Birthday.  Hmmm, will do that the minute he walks in the door!  Promise!

Birthday lupines in a vase

Birthday lupines in a vase

P.S.  OH MY GOODNESS!  If the quality of these photos is acceptable, I am in seventh heaven tonight.  Gerry of  Torch Lake Views suggested compressing these photos on WordPress to save space.  She said it would also make posts load faster.  You can’t IMAGINE how fast these photos loaded.  Two seconds!  I am so very thrilled by this new possibility.  Thanks, Gerry.

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