a different winter, quieter,  more introspective, sometimes lonely... perhaps enough quiet to reflect on our relationship, past and present, with our Indigenous brothers and sisters...

Prayer Bowl

Al Hunter

Anishinaabe

Rainy River First Nations

When the moon is turned upwards like a bowl waiting to be filled

We must fill it. We must fill it by honoring the spirits of creation

With songs of our joy and thanks, with food created with our own hands,

Water for the thirsty, prayers for the people, prayers for the spirits,

Prayers for the Creator, prayers for ourselves, and the sacred instruments

That join us to the glory of this world, that join us to the glory of this world

And to the world beyond our sleep.

Indian Singing in 20th Century America

Gail Tremblay

Onondaga and Mi'Kmaq

We wake; we wake the day,

the light rising in us like sun--

our breath a prayer brushing

against the feathers in our hands.

We stumble out into streets;

patterns of wires invented by strangers

are strung between eye and sky,

and we dance in two worlds,

inevitable as seasons in one,

exotic curiosities in the other

which rushes headlong down highways,

watches us from car windows, explains

us to its children in words

that no one could ever make 

sense of. The image obscures

the vision, and we wonder

whether anyone will ever hear

our own names for the things

we do. Light dances in the body,

surrounds all living things--

even the stones sing

although their songs are infinitely

slower than the ones we learn

from trees. No human voice lasts 

long enough to make such music sound.

Earth breath eddies between factories

and office buildings, caresses the surface

of our skin; we go to jobs, the boss

always watching the clock to see

that we're on time. He tries to shut

out magic and hopes we'll make

mistakes or disappear. We work

fast and steady and remember

each breath alters the composition

of the air. Change moves relentless,

the pattern unfolding despite their planning--

we're always there--singing round dance

songs, remembering what supports

our life--impossible to ignore.

(c) Nurturing the Heart with the Brain in Mind (2015).