When I was young (it seems to me, not all that long ago) I imagined in a barren field, a leafless tree. It looked lonely and desolate like a forgotten teaching, rhyme nor purpose now non-existent, a death of sorts, forced upon it by an uncaring society. In my mind’s eye I allowed that in the future, each time I did something selfless or went out of my way to help a friend or neighbour, a leaf would grow on the branch of the tree. Each time I volunteered at the homeless shelter, each time I said a solemn prayer, I saw that for every good deed I performed, a leaf was added to the tree of my vision. The tree I see today has many branches, but alas, too many of the tree’s limbs are still empty. I feel I should have done more to add to the tree’s beauty, for when my life comes to an end at some undetermined time in the future, I expect to sit then in circle by that tree to smoke the sacred calumet with my noble ancestors. Them, who held true to their spiritual beliefs given them by Creator at that time when human beings took their first steps upon Turtle Island; my relatives will either question why the tree of my mind’s eye has so few leaves or they will heap praise on me because of the majestic beauty the many leaves (my good deeds) lend to the tree, offering shade for our circle.
Today, a virus is severely disrupting our lives, yet when I look up into the sky, I see that the clouds are few and small. The sky this day is three shades of blue: dark, medium and rare I could say. The sun is free to shine and warm my face. The grass, tanned by last autumn’s winds, is quickly being painted green now with the re-invigorating breath of spring spreading on it like the brush of a grand artist. A raven chuckles, a robin sings. The pines around my house (I’m surrounded) dance and give the appearance of Anishinabe women lifting one foot after the other off the sandy floor, their deerhide skirts swaying gently. It’s all extremely mesmerizing! I offer tobacco that it is so.
An old friend whom I admire very much called a few minutes ago to reassure me that good health has returned to her. I was concerned and am grateful that I no longer need to be. Another blessing to be sure. I close my phone and take note that Patsy Cline is singing on my radio, “Take these chains from my heart,” she croons, “and set me free.” I feel free today, like the happy raven I soar on the wind.
Since COVID-19 has forced me into isolation, I have had a lot of time to spare. I’m doing things that were impossible for me to do pre-COVID. When it’s all over I expect to have the best skin colour I’ve had since the carefree days of my pre-teen life (yeah, I love sun bathing), which seems yes, a long, long time ago.
Keep the Circle Strong,
South Wind (Albert Dumont).