Smudge

Native Stories

I collect my own sage, bear root and cedar to make smudge bundles. I always light sage or burn cedar before I pray. For well over a year I have prayed for one person and lit sage or cedar. Psalm 141:2 says, “Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” and even the foreboding book of Revelation 5:8 speaks of “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints”. No, I am no saint my transgressions are numerous and yet I continue to pray – not for myself – but thankful for where I live in the beauty of the Crow Reservation and for my few friends.

My friend Shawndae was talking about his girls and how much he loves them – and he said “I pray for them everyday”. That moved me!

I remember a t-shirt “Smudge Me Don’t Judge Me”

Smudging is a way to cleanse a space of all negative energy and spirits. I like to let the smudge “do the thinking” for me. The other night I lit a smudge (always before my evening prayers) and it just took over the room and the house. Thick caustic smoke cleansing everything. I thought to myself wow someone was really sending some negative spirits or energy to my home. I was thankful that the incense of smudge was lifting even my prayers.

 

 

 

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4H Pond

4H Pond

I was up at the 4H Pond fishing with little success and saw a huge a pine tree that had fallen on the road. Someone had made long work out of cutting it up and left behind huge pieces of wood. I walked over and wondered how this grandfather had come to fall? Strong storm up at 6000 feet in the Wolf Mountains –

I thought back to a poem I had written in college – probably the only poem I have left after years of travel. My grandfather was a lumberjack. He was one of probably thirteen children – I really do not remember – but I do remember him telling me how as a boy he came home and found his family dead at the dining room table. Some in the family say it was mushrooms and some others  say it was canned food. Fact remains he and his sister were late for dinner.

My grandfather was drafted into the military and when they went to take his fingerprints they rolled one finger across two finger spaces. He had huge hands! He was a giant a gentle giant.  He finally took the whip away from my mother when I was thirteen and hid it away.

I get my stubborn nature from him – Grandma kept complaining about his driving fast and at 65 he told her if she said it one more time he would never drive again – yep – she said it and drove him around the rest of his life. When I was a freshman in high-school, I visited him in Florida and he was brewing homemade grapefruit moonshine! Breakfast had a kick!

I will let the poem speak for my grandfather – he passed at 98 or 103 depends on if one believes Ellis Island records or ?

 

Grandfather

Solid, very solid

like the many timbers he has hewn

A lumberjack by trade

He lived life not in hate

of forest

but in respect and love.

Once he said to me (his favorite grandson)

“Hoss, you need to be careful of the tree when

you go to cut, twenty minutes TIMBER

bellows from your throat

one hundred years yells growth!”

We both have an affinity

for sitting on the back porch

I could always find him there

killing bumble boars that

ate the soft redwood

I find him there chewing Havana Blossom

that ever familiar orange and brown pack

and drinking Genesee beer but always

the sweet reek of beer and tobacco

mix together – grandfather. Upon the porch we have spoken

He a man of few words.

At thirteen a Schrade knife he gave

me – symbol of his love. His bleary

eyes look upon me and seem to say –

of all my grandchildren – Hoss you understand me best.

At fifteen, he taught me

to use his double bit axe

sharp end for the tree and dull

for roots in ground.

Love of nature, trees, being outdoors

love of strong beer and whiskey

but never chewing tobacco –

Grandfather

Hopefully she remembers this day – as her grandfather – I can only hope I am as good as mine!

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