Tracks ancient, and new

3 Jan

My great great grandmother, full blood Blackfoot, watches over me, shows me how life pulses and throbs on Mother Earth. I imagine my ancestors walking softly through their woods, just as the Cherokee walk these Western North Carolina Mountains I am fortunate to live on. I step upon ground that thrums with stories ancient and true. I notice how I am walking from outside my foot to inside, a rolling motion—is this my great great grandmother’s way? I say, “Show me, Kip a ta ki, (old woman). I have lived too white!”

I tread silent, as I don’t want to break the spell. Bear tracks, kiaayo, along the road above my log house. There are feline tracks, too, and I crouch to touch one of them—a big feral house cat? Or the Bobcat, natayo, I once saw racing across my driveway and up the incline. I step off the road, and bend again to study the larger track. Bear. I know that if Bear and I meet, it could turn out wrong for me, or Bear could simply run away—same as Bobcat did that day. I have respect for wild things—the respect of care and distance, not of personification of human idealization.

I finally say aloud to GMR, “Hey, looks like bear tracks, and I’m not sure about these feline ones, maybe too small for Bobcat.” He comes over to look. The dogs sniff eagerly. The wind blows. The snow sparkles. The mountain, miistak, gives and takes away. I am filled with thanksgiving. My great great grandmother breathes warmth on my cheek, prepares to leave me, “Pookaawa, sokapii (child, be good).” I answer, “Wait! Forgive me my stumbles—on the land, on the language, on life.” She nods. Is gone. I walk home.

(repost from YOG)….

[I will see you all soon – Home to my mountain on Tuesday 1/6]


13 Responses to “Tracks ancient, and new”

  1. jinksy January 3, 2010 at 6:57 am #

    'Pookaawa, sokapii' – what beautiful words. I can almost hear the voice speak them from inside the frame of that photograph…

  2. Bonnie, Original Art Studio January 3, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    You have her picture!!! She is beautiful…regal. Amazing how our DNA infuses us with values…guides us. Seems like she is an inner guide that accompanies you through this life. How fortunate you are.

  3. Barry January 3, 2010 at 8:49 am #

    Beautiful story Kat. I love the thought of travelling in the company of our ancestors.

  4. Patience-please January 3, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    Yes, this is lovely. Oh I want to finish my novel just for you! There be ancestors.I hope you will bring the essence of that snuggly young 'un home with you. I know you will.hugs-P

  5. Deb@RGRamblings January 3, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    I have Cree ancestors – loved the post Kat!

  6. Sheila Deeth January 3, 2010 at 6:46 pm #

    Lovely photo. Lovely words.

  7. Elizabeth Mahlou January 3, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    How wonderful that you know who your great-great-grandmother was! Not everyone does. Mine is unclear — a Piscataqua Indian is all I know. (And, of course, since the Piscataqua died out over a century ago, there are few, if any, records. I tried at one point, unsuccessfully, to track down information.)Happy New Year to you!

  8. Karen January 3, 2010 at 9:46 pm #

    Oh, what a wonderful heritage! There is some Cherokee way back on my mom's side… But don't know anything about it. Great post!

  9. Jessica January 4, 2010 at 6:18 am #

    I love exploring my heritage! I know I have quite a bit of French Indian in me, but my mom's not sure of the tribes. Very interesting stuff, right? :-)

  10. Debbie January 4, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    Looks like it is snowing fairly well up on your mountain right now! My younguns and supposed to go back to school tomorrow. One is praying for snow and one is praying it won't stick. Go figure:)

  11. Suldog January 5, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    I wish you a lovely and loving embrace of your mountain.

  12. Sandra Leigh January 6, 2010 at 1:04 am #

    Oh, dear. I missed this post when it came up – but wait. That means you must be home now. Welcome home, Kat!

  13. Nishant January 7, 2010 at 7:18 pm #

    Beautiful story Kat. I love the thought of travelling in the company of our ancestors. Work from home India

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