Today, I was out for the first run in Tru Grit – carefully put my St Croix rod and reel in the bed wrapped in an old sleeping bag and grabbed a Clif bar and Mountain Dew for the road! Headed up to the 4H trout pond which would take me through the Sundance Grounds of the Crow people. I drove out of the sunshine and into the clouds literally and figuratively.
Shrouded in clouds I came down the trail and into a large grassy plain – the Wolf Mountains hold this small valley sacred for the Crow. I stop and walk the grounds and see if they left anything behind. Two playing cards buried in the grass, tobacco offerings, bright colored strips of cloth snap in the crisp wind while ropes that suspended the supplicants still tied to the tree. The whole of the grounds were quiet, sacred, holy – and I mused “what better way to spend Sunday morning church”.
I picked sage and bundled it together and remembered the Sundance Holy Water I drank that had been blessed here…
I am content with my old truck, Nikon camera, and old Mojo driving the backroads of the Crow Reservation looking for remnants of a time long past. Enjoy my day…
11pm and I am out walking the ranch. I hear the horses splash through the river as they cross. No, I am not usually out this late walking. I stand and just listen. Faint at first – people talking and I catch a whiff of wood smoke. They are not speaking English something old – older than Crow – guttural, low but pleasing to the ear. A child cries and I hear the yip of a coyote and I know that the coyote is on my side of the rift and the native people camped by the river are on the other.
Something tells me to turn and look to the Wolf Mountains and as I do I see the blood red moon rising silhouette black pine on blood red moon.
The rift vanishes as the moon rises and I am left with the faint smell of woodsmoke – my thoughts flow with the river water rushing onward – slowed for a moment’s glimpse past, present, future stained blood red.
I stop at the Post Office and meet this fascinating guy who’s chopper broke down and he shares a great story about a local that drove 10 hours to pick him and his bike up off the side of the interstate. He was genuine. He loved on Mojo and then drove off – but while we were talking an old Indian dude drives up in an old old propane powered Chevy and asks me if this girl took my gas and gas can from my Jeep a couple weeks ago? I said yes, and he said wait right there – it is at my house. (I had a pretty good idea who “stole” it but let it go because Karma is a bitch). The guy comes back a few minutes later and gives me my gas can!
He said that he and his wife came back from Sundance up in the Wolf Mountains a day ago and the girl who borrowed my gas can and gas had danced. One of the things she had to make right was taking my gas can so all good? I smiled – all good. The man’s woman pulled water from a jug in the back of the truck and by then there were four of us standin around. This was Sundance Holy Water – it had been prayed over and we should all drink. She drank long and deep and then the Crow man next to me drank – I know they were all watching and waiting to see if I would drink – I drank deep and felt the blessing instant flow through me. The man who returned my can drank last and we stood talking for half an hour – laughing deep – and happy to be alive on such a perfect day!
These are the days I live for – when the bounty of reservation life is shared so freely – stories, the delineation between Crow Mountain People and Crow River People, and Holy Water shared…