Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day, 2011

At The Wall, pointing to the name of someone I served with, my family nearby
This day rolls around every year. Some people stop what they’re doing and raise the flag up in their yard. Some attend a program put on by the community. The event is Memorial Day, a time to remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for their family, their community and their country.
Today, I will sit at home and not do the things I usually do. No coffee shop visit. No motorcycle ride. No projects that need to be completed. No elaborate dinner party or BBQ. In fact, I had the BBQ yesterday, complete with campfire and “smores”, and we used those giant marshmallows!

I do want to mention that I remember the fallen everyday. Having seen the battlefields first hand left me with things to remember, things I can’t forget, things that I realize now, over 40 years later, that I don’t want to forget or shouldn’t forget. Things that creep into my dreams, at times, and wake me up. They tell me to remember, insist on it, and leave me unsettled for a time.
I honor all Veterans and all that died in war, all war, all sides. The very people we were told were the enemy. I honor them too this day. The innocent ones, caught up in a war torn country, them too. They are part of the equation. The four dead in OHIO are remembered. Rachel Corrie is remembered. All that died fighting for what their heart told them was the truth.
There is one special person that I remember today, a fellow I knew on the battlefield in Vietnam in 1969. I’ve written about my visits to his home town, Clarks Hill, SC, on Veterans Day.
A virtual rubbing taken from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
Frazier Dixon was my friend. I served with him in Vietnam
This is Frazier Dixon in high school.
I’ve seen his name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. I took my family there in 2008. I have a rubbing, like the one in the photo, of his name taken from the huge black granite panel.
In the small town of Truth Or Consequences, NM where I have my RV, they have a replica of “The Wall”, as it’s known to many, right there in town.

The replica Wall, in Truth or Consequences, NM

In Neillsville, WI, not too many miles from where I live, there is a Veterans Memorial Park called The Highground. There is a statue there that I admire a lot and I’ll share that with you here as well. (Click to enlarge both photo and plaque)
This is a description of what you are seeing in the scupture above at The Highground in Neillsville, WI
These cement and bronze structures honor the fallen every day, and especially today. They don’t put everything away and take it out like Christmas decorations or Halloween stuff for the front yard. It’s on display every day for all to see and remember if they care to.
Some communities have permanent memorials at the local cemetery, like this one in Harlan County Oregon. Since I travel the two-lane roads and pass through many towns, I see that many have plaques or memorials to the Veterans of their city or county.
Harlan County Veterans memorial
But I can’t resist mentioning the irony of sending people off  to war, for the purpose of killing others, on behalf of a society that allows it.
As a Warrior, I can go on and on and tell you why war doesn’t make a difference like it did when we fought global evil in WWII. Why Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan are taking the lives of our people in the name of freedom as corporations spend billions of dollars to lobby Washington in an effort to make sure war will perpetuate. Doesn't it make you wonder why they would spend billions? Isn't it because the corporations that send lobbyists make billions on war?
1969, somewhere near Tay Ninh, Republic of Vietnam
I’ll leave you today with these facts about the war that was going on when I served in the US Army in The Republic of Vietnam. 
My family at The Wall, 2008
There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.
The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 36 years since the last casualties.
Beginning at the apex on panel 1E and going out to the end of the East wall, appearing to recede into the earth (numbered 70E - May 25, 1968), then resuming at the end of the West wall, as the wall emerges from the earth (numbered 70W - continuing May 25, 1968) and ending with a date in 1975. Thus the war's beginning and end meet. The war is complete, coming full circle, yet broken by the earth that bounds the angle's open side and contained within the earth itself.
The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Mass. listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956.
His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.
There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.
39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.
The largest age group, 8,283 were just 19 years old
3,103 were 18 years old.
12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.
5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.
One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.
997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam.
1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam.
31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.
Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.
54 soldiers on the Wall attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia. I wonder why so many from one school.
8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded.
244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.
Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.
West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.
The Marines of Morenci - They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest. And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci's mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.
The Buddies of Midvale - LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam..
In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.
The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 - 2,415 casualties were incurred.
That's 2,415 dead in a single month.
Enjoy your Memorial Day.  

I prefer to remember and honor the idea that we believed, with all our hearts, that we were fighting for freedom for us all, because we are.
Honor the Dead
Heal the Wounded
End the Wars
Wage Peace

Sunday, May 29, 2011

South Shore Lake Superior

Shadow Shot Sunday
May 29, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday is fun and very addicting. Many fine folks from all over the world publish their photos with shadows and we all share here on Sundays, all thanks to Tracy. See more Shadow Shots and find out to participate at the Hey Harriet Blog.

This old worn tree trunk made a rail on an old fence along the shore
I spent some time camping along the South Shore of the Great Lake Superior last week. We used an old encampment that was mostly used for gathering teenagers and the occasional fisherman's camp. Sings of earlier occupation were seen from this small fence that made a safe barrier alont the sdge of a small cliff at water's edge.

This knot, the trunk, or butt end, of a small pine tree, just made up one of the rails. It was a cloudy day the day I snapped the photo, but the shadows till were bold. In the photos below, you can see the rail and the beautiful lake beyond. I was on the Red Cliff Indian Reservation and the islands in the distance are part of the Apostle Island National Scenic Lakeshore.

I love the waves on the big lake. Close together, different from the ocean, but still that sound as water meets the land.

And a last shot of the butt end.

You can read more about this trip, and I urge you to do so,  in the post below this one entitled Another Spiritual Journey.

May Peace find you today and everyday

Friday, May 27, 2011

Another Spiritual Journey

Haiku My Heart
May 27, 2011

More Haiku My Heart at Rebecca's recuerda mi corazon

Fog kissed my shoulders
Flames from spirit wood flowed free
Warming heart and soul

Buds on the tree limbs with a backdrop of Sand Island on Lake Superior

The photo above doesn’t begin to do justice to being there and seeing the big lake up close and personal. We were at a place called Wolf Camp on the Red Cliff Reservation. To get there, you had to leave the paved road and follow a gravel road that gets narrower and narrower and turns into two ruts careening downhill towards the big lake, always wondering if it will peter out altogether and turn into a footpath.

I had made the trip to help out with a Vision Quest ceremony. Five people were doing a total fast and  praying for a vision, a dream, that would be a guiding light in their lives. These five would be sequestered from the rest of us, deep in the pine, birch, oak and popple woods that stand at the edge of the water.

After four days, they would return to us and feast together. The helpers, ten in all, would tend the fires, cook food, fetch water and be there for support through prayer and kind thought

The colors the water exhibited over the course of a week were astounding. Greens, blues and the slate grey of the sky where you couldn’t see the horizon. The trees were not in full leaf, but each had its own version of budding. The sound of the water gently lapping the shore in the calm early mornings was soothing and peaceful. Of course the sometimes bothersome mosquitoes were not to be seen in the cool 30 degree nights.

Vibrant water near
Sun kissed, wind driven flowing
Lapping music plays

I used my van as a tent and set up a cot to sleep in. It did get really cold, hard frost, on the first two nights we were there. Grandmother Moon was at the fullest and was seen clearly with the stars moving away from her magnificent white light.

My main duty was to care for a perpetual fire. The Sacred Fire was started at the start of the Vision Quest ceremony on Tuesday at Noon. I was instructed not to allow the flame to extinguish until Noon on Saturday, four full days and nights. Firewood was cut and stacked nearby. A maul was handy to split wood into smaller pieces if needed.

I wasn’t the only firekeeper, but I did plenty of time sitting next to it, sometimes alone, sometimes with one, two or even many others sitting alongside. Alone, in the early morning hours, the animals take turns with their calls. The coyotes, then the hoot hoot hoot of the owl. The loons, geese and ducks never interupt each other. Then the crows talk to me, telling me what they see, the woodpecker taps after the grouse drums. Songbirds fill in the background and this symphony repeats itself every morning in Spring along the shore of the Great Lake Superior

Since I am an early riser, I claimed the early morning shift and relieved whoever was tending the flame when I got up in the morning, usually right around four AM.

This time of year, a little less than a month before the Summer Solstice, the longest period of daylight in the Northern hemisphere, the Eastern sky starts to brighten just past four. The daylight creeps up and the sun rises over the tops of the pines, shining on the water, a little after five.
Mother Nature turned this butt end of a small tree into sculpture with the help of wind, water and sand

It was in this twilight of morning that the fog engulfed me. I looked out at the big lake and couldn’t see the water, yet  I was less than 50 feet away from the shore. Then the outline of the nearly bare branched trees at the shoreline were visible with nothing but a grey curtain beyond them. There was no horizon. There was no lake. There was no sky. Just grey. In the woods, a haze of grey covered the forest, all of it, seeping into what was left of the Moon shadows.

The feeling I felt, a physical feeling, was like someone was behind me. A coolness caressed my neck, kissed me, and caught my attention. I sought the flame and its warm embrace, it was like the fog had me dead to rights and I was cheating with a lover that was the fire.

Then the idea of the spirits, alive in the wood and released with the burning, were running free, floating up to the Creator in the smoke after its skirmish with the fog. The warmth soothed my soul and my body, and as quickly as the fog appeared, it was gone.

Gently lapping waves made a sweet sound as they caressed the rocky shore

It was Friday morning that this happened. I reached into my small pack and grabbed a pen and my journal. I jotted down my Haiku thoughts and felt good as I have just about every Friday when I post for Rebecca’s marvelous creation. Here, you can read more Haiku My Heart stories, art, photos and more every Friday.

When others awoke, I asked them if they saw the fog. No one had seen it. One mentioned they felt something but couldn’t explain what.

The morning broke with a full on sunshine splendor. The water turned from non existent to grey to blue then blue-green in the course of an hour. The only grey in the sky was the swirling smoke from our fire. It reached up and was gone a few feet above the ground. As I sat there by the fire, I remembered the old teachings of the wood holding the spirits of those that have passed before us, our ancestors, as the wood grows from the ashes and soil created by the hair, bones, skin and blood of the people buried in the ground. I felt like the fire was setting them free. They tell us their stories when released and are saved and shared as fond memories.

Where do you return
To gather, tell your stories
Spirit flames of peace

A beautiful savior walked close with a pot of steaming hot coffee, made cowboy style, in a large blue speckled porcelain kettle and filled my cold empty cup. There is no Thank You strong enough to convey my pleasure at this ritual. I savored a few hot scalding sips and shared a toast with Grandmother Moon who had crossed the tops of the trees and now had disappeared into the Western horizon.

Others woke up and joined me at the fires edge. I thanked Creator for the birth of a new day, another day, another chance at living a good life. I was thankful for the rest given to us. The warmth that gave us comfort from the cold and the coolness that saved us from the heat. This circle of life, given to me by the tap on the shoulder from a world in between our own by way of the fog.

Pulled by the full Moon
Cool fog draws across the shore
Carry us with you

More about the ceremony and the trip, including a visit to the Longhouse Cafe and the Tale of the Broken Mirror on this site soon. In the meantime, share your lives and souls with someone you love.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Matter to Digest

Well folks, I’m home. I’ve been home since Sunday evening, but preoccupied, as I was “studying” for some tests I had to take early Monday morning at the VA hospital. They had me on a fast for the most part, or at least a clear liquid diet since Saturday’s noon meal. Then there was drinking that awful tasting stuff, copious quantities of it, and sitting on the great white porcelain throne for what seemed like hours on end.
That’s right, Colonoscopy, and an Endoscopy to boot!
Since I was having both procedures done on the same day, by the same doctor, in the same room, I made sure I was satisfied that they would not use the same camera apparatus for both tests. And I have to tell you, they said that many of the participants don’t remember the procedure because of the intravenous drugs they pump into your veins. That was my experience. I remember looking at the TV monitor a couple of times, but other than that, I can’t even say I remember getting dressed. They told me that I had asked them to change the channel.
My doctor has been wanting me to get a colonoscopy since I turned 50 years old. That was some time ago as I recently reached the age of retirement just two weeks prior. I finally agreed to the procedure, but insisted that they do the endoscopy at the same time. I never had any problems down on the bottom, but I have had the hiatal hernia stuff in the past with sometimes viscous heartburn along with it up top.

Funny how the week before I was up along the South shore of the Great Lake Superior attending ceremony. I’ll write about this experience on Friday when we all gather to share our Haiku at Rebecca’s recuerda mi corazon blog. Incidentally, scroll down and take a look at the fabulous artwork that will be auctioned off in early June over at Rebecca's site.

Suffice it to say the irony of helping people who are fasting for four days, and then starting a fast for an outpatient clinic procedure when they end their fast was totally weird. We prepared a great feast for the participants of the ceremony to break their fast, then I sit and watch them eat it.
Oh, the results. Well, nothing, nada, zilch. Clean as a whistle. Come back in ten years for another one. Ten years!? I wonder if the doctor was giving me a decree, like he knows I’ll still be around in ten freakin’ years. I kinda hope so. I have a lot to share with the Grandkids.
The esophagus and stomach weren’t quite so lucky, but nothing was found to stand up and wave a red flag about.
So, I still have to unpack the van and get started on a myriad of projects here at Spadoville. I used to be a handyman and did all sorts of things for people. During tough times when no one was hiring for real jobs, the Reagan years, I pieced together a living fixing this or that or installing, remodeling and fabricating things most home owners shied away from. Now, I’m the guy lookin’ for a handyman to take on some of the load.
That’s not all that bad. It’ll keep me busy between mini road trips. Summer is quickly approaching and the calendar has a bunch of choices and options for travel. We’re already trying to decide if we should go to Milwaukee or Ashland over Memorial Day weekend. Maybe we’ll stay home and get some work done. NOT!
Have a great day, each and every one of you.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday Mystery Tour, May 16, 2011

Spring means the Bear Spirit is awakening after a long Winter slumber

I've been watching Doctor Who on the BBC Network. My Grandson has discovered the good Doctor and we're recording all the episodes. I'm watching here and there while they are in recording mode, between Stanley Cup Playoff games. (Go Vancouver!).

Doctor Who had his Tardis. He'd simply pull down on the blue levers, the column of green light bubbled with joy and he and his platonic partner were hurdled into a time warp, traveling not only across distance but also through time. After all, a Tardis is "Time and Relative Dimension in Space", and looks like a common Police Call Box on the streets of London. That's right. Doctor Who is an alien.

I so wish I could travel like that. Yesterday, while enjoying the second day of our 30 day Summer, I was out on the motorcycle. As I rode along the beautiful Mississippi River bluffs along Lake Pepin, I had traveling on my mind. The 40 mile ride had me planning  trips on the motorcycle and in the car for later this Summer and one late in the Fall. Of course, reality came crashing down when I turned right on County Road O and headed for home. That's when I started to think about the trip I am leaving for Tuesday morning.

That's tomorrow, as I'll post this story on Monday. I'll be away for a little over a week. I'll be headed to the Red Cliff Indian Reservation on the shore of the Great Lake Superior. I'll call it a camping trip and be up there until next Sunday, but it will be so much more than that really. A Native Elder is holding a Vision Quest ceremony and I am going up to help out. I believe my main duty will be to tend a Sacred Fire that will burn while the ceremony is being conducted.

The Full Moon will take place on Tuesday and the night will be lit up like daytime. Nightfall is already after 8:30 PM and it is light in the Eastern sky by 4:30 AM. The nights will be short on the darkness scale.

Friends of mine that are participating in the Vision Quest have their own agendas. I have one too. Like I wandered the desert last February in New Mexico, I will wander the lakeshore, the water, the view of Sand Island, the sky, Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon and the new plants getting green. I'll pay attention to my heart and listen to what it says as it guides me to the next adventure, which will simply be to return home to my family.

Along the South Shore of Lake Superior at Saxon Harbor

I guess I could have just said, "I'll be away until next Monday" and left it at that, but there might be some of you that want to know where I'm at and what I'm doing. So, look up at the Moon, our gazes will meet there, or across the water, I'll see what you saw eventually. The birds will take our messages back and forth and we'll find a little peace on earth, even if only for a moment.

Lastly, there are two dear friends I will be thinking of. One lives out East. I promised a narrative about the Vision Quest last year and never wrote one. I'll chronicle the events as they unfold and make good on that commitment when I return. Maybe I'll see one of the Bear Spirits she is so fond of, like the one in the beautiful water color at the top of the page. Thank you for this gift.

The other is a dear lady, an artist, a healer, an old soul and spirit sent here for some reason we don't get to understand. She wrote the Paper-N-Soul Blog. Her name is Deb Gilchrist and she passed in March of 2011. Ironic then, that her last post is about a Full Moon and she loved the Great Lakes.

Be kind to each other. Be peaceful. Practice it in your daily affairs. Enjoy life as you can.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday, May 15, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday is a fun addictive meme hailing from Brisbane, Australia. Check out the Hey Harriet Blog to see other Shadow Shots and find out how to participate.

Here's mine for this week:

I see many tall silouette shadows on Sundays. I know I've posted my share of them. I wanted to make use of this early morning New Mexico sunshine but not have it appear to be taken by the person in the portrait.

So, How'd I do? I was sitting on a protective barrier for a fire hydrant.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

No Pictures

Mind is blank today and has been since the weekend. No subject to expound upon, no photos to tell you about. Sure, I could dig through digital photo archives and come up with an interesting shot, but I didn't. But that's not all bad. The best part is that I've had a rash of days in a row where I've actually been sleeping all night, and it is wonderful.

Maybe it's been bad for posting as I would get up in the literal middle of the night and develop and post a story, but it's been good for my soul to go to bed and sleep until the sun is coming up. It is a bit cloudy again today, but nothing like yesterday when it just got darker as the storm clouds engulfed the sunshine. But that was okay too. Things are green and leaves are starting to appear. I have buds on the lilacs I planted two years ago. I'll take a picture of those when they bloom!

Okay, one picture, but that's all!

Have a great day everyone.

Go to this link:">Song


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mississippi River Bluffs circa 1978

Shadow Shot Sunday
May 8, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday is a weekly Meme. To see more Shadow Shots and to find out how to participate, please go see Tracy's Hey Harriet Blog.
Gabba Gabba Hey!

All along the upper Mississippi River and in Saint Paul, Minnesota USA are giant bluffs. During a photography class I took in college, I used the river as a backdrop while taking some photos from high atop these sandstone outcroppings. It is not uncommon for conveyances of transport to follow the winding river. In this place, the railroad tracks, power lines, the roadway and the river guide traffic of all kinds.

I like the shadows in the cracks of the sandstone and the striations that seem to be part of the railroad tracks. Here are a couple more photos from that session from 1978.

I like the shadow and reflection at the edge of the barges awaiting a tug boat

These tracks are still in use. I pass this way often on my way back and forth from home to Saint Paul, but usually on the roadway that runs between the river and the tracks, which is called Warner Road.

Looking Southeast from St. Paul along the Mississippi River

Feel free to click on any of these photos for a closer, sharper view. There was some discussion a few weeks ago when I published Black and White prints from film. Most comments were about how expensive that option would be when comparing the digital technology available today. I have to agree, but Iam considering shooting film once in a ehile for a special effect of even a change of pace. How about you?


Friday, May 6, 2011

Where the Buffalo Roam

Haiku My Heart
May 6, 2011

 Haiku My Heart is the brainstorm and creation of my friend Rebecca at recuerda mi corazon. Wander over there and see more Haiku My Heart and find out how you can be a part of all the fun and festivities.

Prairie Wind Moves Us

Massive, Gentle, Healing Breath

Mighty Tatanka

In the Lakota language, the North American Bison is called Tatanka, (Tah-Tahnk’-Ah). These creatures roamed the plains from somewhere in Mexico, throughout what is now the United States and up North, deep into Canada.

Many creation stories, legends, sagas, tales and traditional narratives surround Tatanka. One story tells about a race that was won by the two-legged creatures and how the four-leggeds had to serve the winners. The Buffalo  gave itself to mankind for this task and provided everything people needed. Food from the muscle, shelter from the hide, tools from the bones and horns, medicine from the blood and body and a myriad of other gifts.

Grand Daughter Anna in South Dakota seeking Buffalo, 2006
Another story tells us how the Sacred Pipe and its teachings was brought to the people by a White Buffalo Calf Woman. This Pipe was commonly known as the Peace Pipe, Calumet or Sacred Pipe after the Europeans saturated this Continent with their religious missions. In Lakota, it is called the Chanupa, (Chan-Oop’-Ah). This link has many stories and traditions. Scroll down to read the legend of the White Buffalo Calf Woman.
Artists depiction of the White Buffalo Calf Woman

Times have certainly changed, and the Bison no longer roam in the wild. Even in Yellowstone National Park, where the last of the original blood line indiginous to this Continent live, some 3000 of them, great lengths are set to keep these magnificent creatures within the boundaries of the park. Of course this creates a problem as the Buffalo know of no man made boundaries. I strongly urge you to check out the work of the Buffalo Field Campaign and become aware of how the last of an American Icon, as in the Continent of North America, treats this particular wild animal.

In South Dakota, at the Custer State Park and the Wind Cave National Park, Buffalo roam on the many acres of alloted to public land. These Bison are rounded up every Fall and counted, vaccinated, visually and physically checked out and culled. The event is called the Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival.

South Dakota Buffalo at the Annual Buffalo Roundup
When my Grandchildren were born, I had the thought of giving them an animal to associate with. There is a reason why I chose the animals I did, I won’t get into that now, but each has a spiritual meaning and I, as their Grand Father, suggested to each of them that they might connect with a spiritual life through this animal.

My first born Grand Daughter was given the Buffalo. She was told about this as she grew up and she does still connect with the Buffalo. One year, in 2006, we traveled to South Dakota to witness the roundup first hand. She was young, eight years old, and we traveled together, just the two of us.


We watched as a thousand buffalo were herded through a draw into pens for the process. The photos posted here are just a few of the hundred or so we took. Click on any image to enlarge it. I also have some video and I just purchased what I need, both hardware and software, to edit and produce the roundup video. That will happen soon, I hope.

My Haiku today, comes from my heart. I believe the breath of every creature, as well as any wind that blows, to be the breath of The Creator. For me, this is especially evident in the case of Tanaka, as my spiritual name, given to me by an Anishinabe, (Ah-Nish-Ah,Nah’-Bay), Medicine Man a few years ago, is Mashkoday Biizheekiins, (Mush’-Koh-Day  Bee-Zhee-Keens’). That translates to Little Buffalo. In Lakota, my name is Tatanka Cistila, (Chee‘-Sdee-Lah).

I had contact with my Spiritual Elder friend yesterday and we will talk soon on the telephone to make plans for  Summer ceremony, a Sun Dance held during the Full Moon time of June in Canada, near Winnipeg.

Missouri River railroad crossing at Chamberlain, SD

I had no idea of ‘If’ or ‘What’ I was going to post for Rebecca’s marvelous Haiku My Heart Friday project, but I did when I was awakened by a loud noise.

I was sleeping soundly and dreaming. In my dream, a Buffalo appeared. It was in a motel room, and that’s really odd, but I did have Tatanka visit me in my dreams, and that’s an honor. According to my teachings, the occurance needs to be dealt with with some respect and consideration. Add to the dream the loud bang I heard, and for all I know, Tatanka was upstairs and leaving when I heard him. Maybe the fact that I was in touch with the Medicine Man earlier has something to do with it.

I couldn’t get back to sleep. I knew I had these pictures, these memories and a story to tell and the rest is right before your eyes in the form of this Blogpost.

There is so much I want to say about my spiritual path, about our connection with all of Nature and the places, both mental and physical, that the lessons of the Elders and Ancestors has taught me over the years. I’ll leave it here for today and write again about the subject as the need arises.

In the meantime, have a Peaceful day.

Mitakwe Oyasin

(Mee-Tah’-Koo-Yay  Oh-Yah’-Seen)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mid Week Interlude

Sunset over Chequamegon Bay, Lake Superior, from the Cabinette

It’s one of those nights. Went to bed at a reasonable hour and slept hard until I woke up, at 3:30 AM. Now I sit here and wonder what to do. I don’t eat. I never eat until daylight. This is probably my best trait when it comes to dietary intake. I looked through some older writings and found a piece I wrote in the Fall of 2007. I’m going to repost it here today. The possibility does exist that I never did post it at all, but I might have done so, just four years ago.
The first day of Fall arrived officially at 5:51 AM on Sunday, September 22nd. Seems like Mother Nature knew it, because the rain and wind have blown most of the tree leaves to the ground already. I went to the outhouse early this morning and noticed the carnage of the yellow, red and amber leaves. I open the outhouse door and push the door all the way around. I sit there with a full view of the woods and Lake Superior instead of with the door closed. There are no neighbors, so I don’t have to be concerned with vanity. I watched the leaves fall and land on the ground in bunches.
This time of year, the weather, more than the date, dictates my feelings. It’s time for a sweatshirt, maybe the hooded one from South Dakota State, Vermillion. The one with the Coyote on it. I trade in the sandals for the Goretex lined light weight hikers. I wonder if the oil needs changing on anything. Should I have the kids come over after school and put all their toys under cover?
Everyone around here is sick with some kind of a cold. That’s another sure sign of Fall. School is back in session and they all get together and spread germs. Runny noses, coughs, mucus laden chests, wheezing and laziness abound. This morning, I’m better, but Mrs. Spadoman is down for the count. I’ll make the coffee today. Not ready to venture to the Black Cat.
Earlier on, a month or so ago, I wrote about New Mexico and our plans to take my friends RV down there and set it up for most of the winter. I was so looking forward to it. I love to go down there. I wrote about how we’ve been down there in the past and the things we like to do. I had a good plan. Leave the Cabinette for Winter, as it would be full of chores to try and spend a cold season with only wood heat, an inefficient wood stove and no indoor plumbing.
At the border a few years ago

I went on this road trip to Northern California and had a great time. Mrs. Spadoman flew into San Francisco to join me for a day of restauranting on Chestnut Street, Columbus Avenue and Fisherman’s Wharf. Then, we took the long drive home across the desert. We listened to plenty of music, but we also talked about a lot of things.
The Cabinette near Ashland, WI

We both came away with the thought that traveling these days is not what it used to be. It costs a bunch more than it used to. Gas prices are up for sure, but gone, seem to be, the cheap ass Mom and Pop motels, and the diners are replaced by chain restaurants feeding us crap.
We wondered about our plan to take the RV to New Mexico and live down there for the winter. We already missed the Grand kids. We’d have to attempt to travel back and forth to Wisconsin over the Winter so we could visit them. We talked and talked and cyphered in the calculators of our minds and came away with the feeling that we would be broke constantly if we stood on our original plan.
Morphodite the RV sitting in the New Mexico sunshine in 2011

But what could we do? Staying at the Cabinette all Winter, although affordable, would be a lot of hard work. And even affordable meant buying a lot more fire wood, or at least a chain saw. Along with the chain saw came the prospect of doing the work of cutting, splitting, hauling and stacking, not to mention the chain sharpening and extra burden of buying a trusty old pickup truck that would be needed to haul the wood.
No, we’d have to take the RV and go if we were to hold on to the Cabinette for another great Summer on the lake shore. We resolved that dilemma and made our plans, but deep in my heart, I wanted to ground myself here in Ashland and stay at home. 
You know, it’s not the cold weather or the snow that I wanted to get away from. I don’t mind the cold. I just don’t do all the things I used to do in the Winter anymore. It’s kind of boring when you can’t get outside because of the weather. Trying to heat workspace from zero degrees is costly. Renting heated workspace is costly. And I had the desire to work on my trinkets and make my Dream Catchers, Gourd Rattles, Drums, Snowshoes and other crazy ideas that come to mind. 
Oh well, we have free use of the RV and we’ll do it out of self defense. I returned home after that road trip to California and went to the Black Cat Coffee Shop and saw some of my old friends. I filled them in on the trip and got caught up on all the gossip. People would walk through the door and say “Hi, you’re back” and I’d smile and feel good that they knew I was gone.
One young gal came in and we exchanged hellos. I know her and she knows me, but we don’t sit and have a conversation very often. This day, as I was bussing my coffee cup to the plastic tub near the hallway, I turned to her and said, “How have you been these days?”
The Wintering House of Winter 2007

We started talking and I found out that she has an offer to go to Nicaragua for three months, November, December and January. I also find out that she can’t go because she can’t leave her house empty and has no one to watch over it. You know, watering plants, making sure the heat doesn’t malfunction and the pipes freeze, feeding a cat.
2007 Ashland, WI Winter streetscape

Well I’ll be! As it was suppose to happen, we can keep the Cabinette and stay at her house in town. It has a furnace and indoor plumbing. In February, I can afford to take a short trip to New Mexico for a couple of weeks. In March, move back to the Cabinette. I have enough wood to heat the place for that long, not for all Winter, but for a month or two.
Snowstorm, Winter 2007

So the more things change, the more things stay the same. I’ll be home in Ashland all Winter. I’ll make my craft stuff to occupy my time and be able to be with the Grand kids often. I’ll have more money in my pocket as my expenses will be down. Sounds like a plan.
This is a long explanation of the fact that I could have just said, “We’re not going to New Mexico as planned. We’re house sitting a neighbor’s place through the Winter instead”  
Some folks don’t make plans. Some make them then don’t do what they say. Some change plans. I did the changing plans thing this time. And who knows? They might change again before November. But as of now, this is what I’ll be doing this Winter.

Just before Ice out on Lake Superior, April 2007

Now, back to the reality of today, May 5, 2011

So, here I am. It’s 4:30 AM now and I read this old post and have some thoughts and an update about things. We did spend the Winter of 2007 in the house of a friend. We did go back to the Cabinette in Spring of 2008. I ended up leaving in February to go on The Longest Walk. Mrs. Spadoman took a temporary position back at the College in St. Paul. One thing led to another, Mrs. Spadoman stayed working at Macalester College and we bought this home in River Falls and don’t even live in Ashland any longer.
Just this past February, 2011, I bought the same old RV that I was going to borrow, from my friend. I did get down to New Mexico with it and it sits there in the Artesian Bath House and Trailer Court in Truth Or Consequences, NM.
I was planning on making a trip this month, May of 2011. I was going to load my motorcycle into the back of the van and drive down and do some motorcycle riding down in the desert where the temperatures are in the 70’s and 80’s. The desert climate is dry this time of year as well. I would spend a couple of weeks in our RV and close it for Summer before I return home. 
None of that is going to happen. Gas prices have gone through the roof. We’re paying four bucks a gallon. The round trip costs for gas alone with the van that gets 16 miles per gallon would be a minimum of $700.00 and probably more like $800.00, not to mention some food and camping along the way. Then there’s gas for the bike when I get down there, food costs, and incidentals that always seem to pop up.
So, no trip this May. Instead, I’ll be here at Spadoville from now through the Summer and hope I’ll get back down to the RV in New Mexico sometime next Fall.
I enjoy looking back and seeing what I was up to years ago. I remember the thought process and even some of the conversations. I guess I’m glad I had an idea and stayed with it. I’m glad we have the place set up down there. I’m also sure gasoline prices aren’t going to go down to any of the lower levels like they were in the past. So, maybe it’s time to make a new plan. 
We’ll see what the future will bring. I’ll have a lot of time to dwell on the subject as the warm sunny weather of the past two days is gone and rainy gloomy cloudiness resumes in earnest today. At least it’s not snowing. And Oh yes, It is Cinco De Mayo. Maybe something hot and spicy for dinner tonight with a measure of Latin music.