A Lakota moment
Dick Williamson PhD
The wind sings to me as it plays upon the gentle trail through the barren timber, then tufts the feathery snow in softness against the hollowed fallen trees.  Occasionally the chill breeze remembers not that it is north driven and sighs like a summer zephyr heaving gentle leaves as it saunters along the village path.  The rime builds thickly upon the skinned tipis and the paint of many symbols glisten against the evening stars.  The prairie dog has long since removed to his sod gallery biding time until tender morsels avail themselves again, the snowy owl floats above a tree considering a place in which to rest, the raccoon, the badger, and the hare have set themselves to burrow.  The camp-dogs have found refuge among the stores of wood. 
The mother earth sleeps fast in the Moon of the popping trees, as if in eternal slumber, save the occasional rustle of the smoke flap as it struggles to remain tethered.
While the wintry eve cast a spell upon the land, the air sows feathery seeds across the plain, accumulating in uneven flakes to shroud the Mother in a robe of white.
Somnolent sighs waft languidly from the breath of sleeping children pulled snugly in their bison robes.  The village sleeping soundly against the stark reality of a frozen landscape awaits the morning light.
The snow lies deep upon the Mother concealing all blemish in virgin cloak.  The round house poles are ribbed with powdery snow that falls easily away at the slightest touch or stirring breeze.  The quietness of the morning air is overwhelming and makes the spirit leap.  A brave soul removes from the comfort of their tanned bedding and peers from the lodge.  The dogs have begun their celebration of a new day by reclaiming that which had been lost to the fragile invader.  With every romp the pristine canvas is tainted by footed chaos.  Beyond the village the tree limbs stand burdened under their new load and groan on occasion with arthritic branches pressed against the chill.  The once jutting stones are rounded by clinging drifts that make everything on the mother appear wrapped in cooperation.  Gone are the frenzied patterns of the changing Earth juxtaposed against rock and sod.  No longer does their seem conflict between those growing things competing for the same space.  Wrapped in silvory lace all things for the moment embrace in peace and for the moment they are linked as one and it all began with a single flake descending in the night. 
Silently they move unto the day to confront the sharp air.  The evening orbs have lost their glimmer and broken clouds move across the horizon in opalescent mist.  Crimson beams illuminate the Mother in wiyohiya pata, the east sky, to announce the arrival of the day spirit.  The other three directions see that it is not their moment to be honored and stand respectfully.  The light emerges from its cocoon bursting forth as silken wings of a cosmic butterfly spreading its spectral veins unto the new day. 
The new light reveals that the four leggeds have ventured near the camp in comfort of the darkness, neither fearing the hunterís stony darts nor the eyes of those who would watch them. 
The morning hunters gather quickly supposing that they may overwhelm the four leggeds while they saunter home.  The hunters tread along the same trail with a glimmer of hope in their hearts believing that the mother has blessed them with the tracking snow. 
The snow is soft and yielding and makes little noise under the weight of moccasin feet.  There is little to disturb the air save the cracking of bark under the stress of frozen sap. The strands of shimmering rays invade the trees standing leaflessly nude, pressed against the chill.  The hunterís dream amid the unfurled paths while far above the drifts and powdered branches Tunkasila watches from beyond and blesses their pursuit.  The smokes ascend from each lodge amid the towering poles.  Spiraling ever up the wood framed cone from earthen pit below. The smoke laden air emerging in the new day and announces its existence in the presence of the fresh morning.  Then oftened billowing in strong current it struggles to rise heavenward, then plays upon the crystal breeze until it cannot be said from whence it emerged.  Then is blended from all number of village smoke so that it becomes of the same core, bespeaking that we are all related regardless of our fires.  A single message mingled from the smoke of others that we are of the same vapor, cast unto the morning air from the womb of the mother.  Then we journey down the corridor gathered upon the light wind.
Then over the uneven prairie our venturous spirit blends.  Beyond each hill we seek with curiosity that we should choose the right direction.  So much like the smoke captured within its current.  Perchance, we move ever higher wafting above all, until our spirit from its vantage sees the edge of earth.  Then greets the creator at His high mountain as some resplendent vapor in the upper sky.
In the village, the sound of breaking marrow as the camp dogs stand ready to argue over bone morsels.  Over the white blanket, the barking of the camp dog, and the distant naying of the horse, through the clear air reveals only the slightest disturbance of profound peace.  Han! It is of such sweet sound that descends upon the ear, with undisturbed and familiar repose, as each voice is measured by the purest of senses.  Then far beyond the sacred hills where dreams are brought into meaning, the grandfathers cup each ear that it may hear the music of the moment and rejoice with a good heart.
The earth is resonant, like stretched skins, the trotting horses thump their hooves upon the frozen ground in melodious rhythm., and even the clattering shafts of the frozen willows plays its song upon the crystal air. 
The streaming light ascends above the forest floor, as if with subtle changing of the shadows cast beneath the trees, darkness retreats beyond the depths, warming air with golden beams.  With hastened stride the dawning steps purposefully toward the distant hills.  As if the Great Spirit has rehearsed all and knew without wonder how it would unfold.  All things given to precise measure and hearken unto the Creator a prayer which befits the moment.  Even the chill cannot stifle the gentle charities that abound to please the sight.  A pure heart drinks in all within purview knowing the virtue of captured innocence, then releasing it unto others that it may never cease its blessing. 
The old women have waited until the very last to emerge from shelter to become yet another part of the cycle.  Their squinting eyes have long since molded a permanent crease upon their face. The air is dry and pulls tightly at the skin yet the leathered flesh yields not the desire for the heat stones.
In the bleakest day, on the coldest dell, the faithful of us is warmed by a fire kindled within the breast, warmer than any robe.  The Great Spirit has rolled heated stones around our heart that we should never perish from the chill of indifference.  There is a direction upon which all of faith may look in order that the warm spirits are gathered about us. 
Amidst the camp firs whose wavering bows scrape gently at the air, then cast off its snowy rider.  The pines whisper sweetly to those who are listening, standing tall and green against the snowy canvas, reminding us of warmer days.  In many ways they are like tipis, reflected against the manmade copies nestled in their shadow. 
Even in the quiescent winter day, life teems where shelter seems removed; the four leggeds survive the stinging chill.  The prairie smeared with snow, conceal its clever inhabitants.  Brown prairie grasses bend under their burden, and turnip stalks long since picked clean shiver against the gusts.  The lifeless stems and grasses stand unsupported arousing thoughts that even in death there is strength.  The good heart observes the slumbering life from summer's work in the shadow of the cold.  He sees that in the bleakness the valleys will again be verdant with many suns and warm rains nudging the life within.  It is a good day to live.

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