Monthly Archives: February 2013

in un raniin awi (Assimilation)

Oh, my dears. It’s been a long week. And it is Friday night. The sky is dark, the moon is traveling past the stars, and much of the world is readying for bed. Curl up and listen to the tales I weave, until your eyes grow heavy and you slip into slumber, ready for the Dream Maker.

The Arikara people (also called the Ree peoples) lived in North and South Dakota long before they were called North and South Dakota. Strong agriculturalists, they traded with both the white settlers to the East and their fellow Native Americans to the West. While originally a peaceful people, the Arikara were often caught in the bloody differences between the European and White peoples and the Native peoples of the United States. Staying peaceful is sometimes a bloody business, my dears.

The tribe met with the Lewis and Clark expedition when they came through their lands. They were fascinated with their journals and the expedition crew’s habit of filling them with notes and pictures. While the Arikara had no written language, they were adept at picking up the languages of their neighbors – white and otherwise.

When several Arikara men joined General Custer’s cavalry crew, legend has it that they kept their own versions of expedition journals, chronicling their travels and their experiences. The Arikara called these in un raniin awi, literallly “written pictures”; since they had no written language they used photos in their pain-stakingly crafted journals. In the aftermath of The Battle of Little Bighorn, one of these journals was found. Nothing is known of the original owner, but it is clear that the Arikaras’ affinity for meeting peoples of all colors and creeds helped fuel a robust in un raniin awi.

Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.

 

Assimilation

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Hythe

This morning, Bubo and I took a delightful hike up through the woods. With the fresh snow fall muffling sounds, I felt as though we were alone on the earth. Of course, the normally noisy forest inhabitants were quiet; my hiking companion is a great-horned owl, after all.

I feel so fortunate to have Great Great Uncle O. Underhill’s house to call my home. It fits me like a glove. Yes, perhaps because it is mysteriously the mirror image of my old house in Brooklyn. But there’s something more here. Which brings me to today’s word.

Hythe is a noun that means a small port or haven; sanctuary. The word is considered obsolete except in the names of towns like Rotherhithe, Queenhithe, and Lambeth. No one seems to know exactly how the word came about, and it can be found in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.

I find this house tucked into the woods in the Green Mountains quite a hythe.

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Wooded Wonderland

WoodsWalk

Mind you, the chickadees were suddenly silent as Bubo and I hiked up the mountain. Odd, don’t you think?

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Shamus

Oh, my dears. It’s been a long week. And it is Friday night. The sky is dark, the moon is traveling past the stars, and much of the world is readying for bed. Curl up and listen to the tales I weave, until your eyes grow heavy and you slip into slumber, ready for the Dream Maker.

Deep, deep, deep in the Bohemian Forest lives a hunter of specific tastes. Shrouded in a burlap cape and covered in a fur that melds with the botanicals, Shamus quietly picks his way through the forest. His nose twitches, constantly searching for his prey, and his nimble feet barely leave prints in the dirt. Shamus, you see, is a mushroom hunter. He follows the paths of the ancient Boii, a Gaelic people whose name means “outsider”. Shamus could be called an outsider, though he knows the forest better than any other creature. He is a solitary hunter, hoarding mushrooms in his cape until he can secret them away to his lair. His eyes, accustomed to the dark of the thick forest, allow him to see at night, and he can spot the tiniest mushroom by the light of just one star.

The children of Bavaria grow up mushroom hunting, but they make sure that they are home by dark, just to avoid Shamus. He is stealthy, able to pluck a mushroom without disturbing the dirt around it, and mushroom hunters young and old are haunted by visions of his tiny hands curling around one’s mushroom basket, silently stealing their cache.

It is said that on a silent winter’s night, if you find yourself in the peat bogs, you can smell wild mushrooms inexplicably on the wind. Perhaps it’s Shamus, cooking his supper from his den. Shamus can’t be the only creature of his kinda, can he? Perhaps you should leave a mushroom out on your sill tonight. Stay vigilant, for the those tiny hands will pull that mushroom out of sight silently.

Sleep tight, my pets. Dream deep.

shamus

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