Copyright 2002 - 2003 by Nicholas6996@hotmail.com The author retains all rights to this story and requests that you do not alter or post this story in any form without his permission. The following is a work of fiction.
This story will contain gifts of love and caring between a man and a boy. If you don't like love, then stop reading now. If love and caring between unrelated men and boys is illegal where you are, then I'm sorry for you. If you aren't old enough to legally read this story, then I hope someone loves you enough to read it to you. If you know of a Finding Place and have stories about it, please give me a gift and share.
My deepest thanks to Rod, I name him friend and what he's given me helps make this story sing.
To Ganymede and Teglin I thank you for the beauty you have shared and hope this reflects a fraction of the light you shine so brightly.
Part Ten Spring Wonder
I lay on my childhood bed gazing at the skin hung opposite on the wall. A circle forming from the center, two boys standing on the prairie. The right side mostly blank.; just a single buffalo in the bottom corner, a honey bee dancing in the upper right.
The bed seemed so small and although I had not changed size wise much in the seven years since I had used it, I suppose my perspective had. This was the BIG BED I remembered Grandfather had gotten me when I was two or three. This was the bed where I had hid beneath the covers, scared of the lightning in a prairie storm. This was the bed where I'd taken oh so many books to read. This was the bed where Grandfather tucked me in, kissed me on the forehead, petted my cheek, read me a bedtime story, sang me a lullaby or chanted me to sleep. This bed had more sheer volume of memories than almost any other place. My feet and legs lying on the thick brown fur called me to one other bed that had marked my soul far deeper: the bed of buffalo robes out upon the prairie.
Spring comes slowly to the plains, first a gradual lengthening of the day, then a moderation in the frigid winds Tate blasted from the North. Duck and goose peoples began to return to our stream. It seemed they were trying to bring the warm up with their beating wings from somewhere farther South. Suddenly the snow would melt and the planet turn to a seeming sea of mud. The top inch or so would be squishy gooey earth, beneath that the frozen hold of winter would reassert itself each night. Our stream would rise and rise and rise again, running dirty from the mud suspended just inside its flow. Back eddies would freeze at night, the ice still crystal clear; mud couldn't stay enclosed.
Grandfather Coyote and the Lakota children had packed dolls and toys and clothes and blankets before the ground turned soft. They left us, a group of sad and crying children, but happy and excited to be off on new adventures. Of course they were also going home!
Cloud Walking took my brother to her tipi, Straighthorn moved inside ours with me. He helped me use the furs and feathers I had collected making headbands, arm ruffles and other ornaments for the dances we would dance that Spring. I had two beautiful full ermine skins that Straighthorn told me we would make into a special headdress for Running Deer.
My brother told me across our heart that Cloud Walking was helping him work the leathers he had decorated into our naming clothes. He told me there was a special joy that they were working too, no matter how I pestered him he would provide no other clue.
One morning the ice let go of the ground. The mud and waters standing above could suddenly drop through. A burst of green began to peek up through the dead stalks of prairie grasses. Almost that same afternoon wildflowers seemed to claim the very air above themselves with a raucous, riotous display of elemental primary color trying to draw the insects to them. The prairie shimmered orange and red and yellow above a rippling sea of green.
A father goose chased us from beneath our favorite cottonwood tree. His squaw goose was hatching chicks there this year. We watched her sit, we watched him strut, he taught us to stay well away! Then one morning she brought forth her brood, ten balls of black and yellow fluff. We watched them eat and learn to swim and glide down stream on the current, a line of proud and growing energy, mother leading, father protecting from behind. My brother would sit between my legs leaning back against my chest and glow with happiness to see the geese so possessed of pride and nurturing and care within their family.
He would run to me each morning, grab my hand and lead me to some new place where he somehow knew new children were coming forth. He took me to Brother Rabbit's nest, Brother Coyote's den, the hollow in the prairie where twin deer fawns took their rest. Brother Badger showed him pups and birds came by the dozens to bring their fledglings near so he could see them flying. He even took me deep within the stream and down the bank to see Brother Frog's innumerable swimming legless tadpole children.
One day he ran leading me across the plain. I, a little taller with longer legs, could barely keep up with him. We ran and ran and ran his lustrous braid bouncing on his back, my silver lengthening mane flowing out behind. Suddenly he stopped, he took my hand, he led me slowly up a rise. Looking out across the ridge, my breath was sucked away. There must have been a hundred buffalo grazing across the prairie. The bulls ranged out before and some behind, the cows grazing slowly East within the circle of protection. Then from under one and then another and soon from all around we could see the calves taking a bite of grass, a tentative step away from mother. She'd give a little snort and baby would be right back beneath her, reaching up and getting one more sip as if to wash the grasses down.
He had known just where they were in miles and miles of prairie.
I held his hand and held his joy within my heart. We laughed to see one little bull calf make his mother snort twice and then again before he turned and simply looked at her. I knew that look, I had tried it a time or two on Grandfather. "Who me?" it said. She stomped her foot and shook her head and this time gave a bellow. He shot underneath her breast and peeking out I swear he winked up at my brother.
It took us hours to walk back to the tipis. Of course we had to stop and see the baby quail and grouse and vole and meadowlark and killdeer and a dozen other peoples. How he found them all I couldn't guess, even looking with my ears and listening with my nose I would never find them.
I wanted so to spend that night with him, but Cloud Walking had other ideas. We returned to separate fires, separate dinners, separate jobs within the tipis. Enough to keep our not so idle hands occupied for hours.
When I finally turned to sleep, he was waiting in my heart. We touched across the distance and began the softly loving pleasuring of ourself. Soon I felt him take me in his mouth and start his tender sucking. Straighthorn knew that Running Deer was there and I felt him touch my chest. My brother reached out through my heart and welcomed Straighthorn too. Soon my pole was double touched, my brother's lips from across the other campfire and Straighthorn's gentle hands beside me. They worked together teasing, drawing, calling forth my milk. As Running Deer filled me with his love it came spewing forth. Since it always entered my brother's mouth and life I had not seen it since that first night. I was surprised looking down upon my chest, there was a lot of it. Not just clear and sparkling drops, but lines of creamy, thick and sometimes almost chunky globs. I giggled to see it spread from near my chin down to the patch of silver curly hairs in half a dozen lines. Straighthorn took a tiny drop upon his fingertip and touched it to the medicine pouch he wore around his neck. Then taking just a dribble more he touched my Tunkasi's home. Scooping up a handful he took it to his mouth and licked it with his tongue. The rest he spread across my chest and his before he hugged me to himself and chanted me to sleep.
The strengthening warmth of Wi, the Tun rained down by Wakinyan's purifying dance across the sky, the warm South breath of Tate all brought life and color to the changing face of Maka. Our own lives were changing, growing too. I had lost the golden glow of summer and my brother sometimes laughed that the shining light of Wi would blind him off my snow white skin and hair. I'd laugh that he was just too far away and if he'd be right next to me he wouldn't have to cry. This usually started a wrestling war and we would roll and play until the urgings of our penises would stop our rough tumbling, but not our gentle touching. It seemed Cloud Walking or Straighthorn would always find us then and need our help with something right away.
I'd smile across the fire to my brother. Could Walking singing stories of Iktomi, I braided leather, stitched together feathers, tied fur with lengths of sinew. Running Deer would sing in me as he stitched quills or used simple willow twigs to paint colors on the skins. We were happy sharing the making of special gifts for each other. Much of the Lakota families' silver and turquoise would become clasps or dangles or center points to our work.
Straighthorn started packing up our finished items, I was amazed the many pictured skins against the walls would also hold these treasures. Some skins unfolded into ingenious boxes where wrapped furs and leathers could safely snuggle together. Others rolled into short or long brightly colored tubes where feathers would stay stiff and straight with never a risk of bending.
Grandfather slipped between us at the fire one night, we had not heard him come. Attacking him with hugs and kisses we quickly pinned him to the ground. He laughed and struggled up one boy barely underneath each arm. "You are growing, little ones," he laughed, "You will need new names soon."
Straighthorn snorted from across the fire, "'Plenty Juices' for that one," pointing right at me.
I smiled then blushed a fiery red as I understood what he meant. My brother grabbed my hand between Grandfather's legs and giggled, "Fox Honey," across his chest at me. I batted at his arm.
Grandfather squeezed us both in one big hug and sighed, "Now you boys settle down."
Cloud Walking told us the story of how the people learned to fish:
Mahto was a very small bear when he came into this world. He was born in a cave deep within the earth and was not big enough to harm anybody. His mother called him Mahtociqala in the language of the people.
When his mother awoke from her long sleep, she took Small Bear out into the bright sunshine of spring.
"What are these creatures flying high above my head?" asked Small Bear.
"Wambli," his mother replied in her low gruff voice. "It is from Eagle that we learn to live our life in dignity. Eagle's eyes are keener than our own, so we always listen to warnings he sends from above."
Small Bear's mother led him across the sweet-smelling meadow to the edge of a river where she would teach him to drink. He put his nose into the cold, clear water and took a taste. The shock of the rushing water made him instantly alert and watchful. Many years later, when he had grown into his warrior name, Mahto would remember his first drink. Whenever he needed clarity of thought or alertness for hunting, he would plunge himself into the river to prepare himself for the task.
Mahto remembered his early days with fondness, for his mother was a great teacher. She always protected him and gave him guidance for living the fullness of life.
She taught him how to hunt for grubs inside the rotting trunks of fallen fir trees. She taught him which flowers and grasses were sweetest, which roots would make him strong, which berries would fill out his flesh for his first long winter's sleep.
And she taught him how to catch the red fish as they came crashing up against him in the slippery river. Mahto's mother showed him a special place between two craggy rocks where he could lodge himself.
"Wait quietly and with patience in this place," she said, "and the great red flashing, thrashing things will jump right into your mouth."
And so it was that the people learned to fish, by watching Mahto and his mother. From that time forth, Mahto and the people never went hungry, as long as he and his brothers could be seen fishing in the river.
"Yelo!" (This is true!)
We fell asleep against Grandfather's strong and comforting chest, I think Straighthorn carried me into our tipi and rolled me beneath the robes. A quiet chanting from the fire sang more magic in my sleep. I dreamt that night of flashing leaping fish and then of Brother Crow. This time he was standing in our cottonwood tree and watching out across the prairie. He would look and look and see a glint of something shiny and dive down from his perch. He'd flap ragged wings in disappointment when it wasn't what he was looking for. Turning back he'd take his post again watching from the tree. I saw he watched the ring of ancient stones which circled round this place. The sticks with ribbons fluttering in the breeze seemed more numerous than before. My mother fox looked from the streambank at me standing beneath his perch. She gazed up at him, then met my eyes and said, "You will be ready when it is time."
I asked her what she told Grandfather when she turned to him before.
She laughed a barking laugh and flicked her thick red tail and turned disappearing into the waving prairie grass.
The picture skin upon the wall drew me from my dozing. It shone with light from the lengthening sun pouring through the windows. I remembered this time of day had always called me in my adolescence. The school bus would have dropped me off, Maria met me on the porch standing smiling in the aroma of the just baked cookies. I'd grab a few and race up to my room to change for chores.
I'd shed my boots back at the slamming screen door and almost shed my socks before I entered my room and slung my school shirt at the laundry hamper. Then right as I'd drop my school jeans and step out of their hold the sun would dive across the room and spear my eyes and pull them to the painting. A burst of light would always fill my heart.
There he stood, I stood, we stood surrounded by the circle, unbounded by our love.
Today a real live honey bee was dancing on the vacant space above his painted image. I shoed him back outside beyond the screen as my heart sang its joy. Grandfather knew and answered love in kind.
The packing of the boxes was followed by a packing of grandfather's wagon. We stored everything along two sides and left a long and vacant space within the middle. My brother grinned when I asked him why we left the space. Grandfather clapped my back and asked if I was strong. My new found growing muscles rippled underneath the winter's whitened skin. I struck a strongman's pose, Running Deer collapsed in a fit of laughter!
I was strong enough for what was to come, I was sore for the whole day after. We walked to the tipi and Grandfather bade me take it down. He walked to the line shack whistling a familiar sea shanty. I looked wide eyed at Running Deer, I had not a clue how the tipi came apart. He laughed again, held up my arm and made to squeeze my muscle. I punched his arm away and chased him round the tipi.
He let me catch him near the door and turning into my hold, he pulled me deep inside. My pole rose to think that we might frolic on the robes. He batted it away and looked around, the inside was completely empty.
I groaned and strained and sweated buckets. He pointed, nodded and untied lashes. I lifted, carried, dragged the outer skin down in sections. He tied knots and folded corners and directed my every action. At last the shell was down and stowed inside the wagon, now the poles were all that was left. I looked to see if we couldn't just leave them and find some others where we went, he answered no before I even asked.
He guided once again and soon the center poles were sticking from the wagon's back. My arms and shoulders ached and throbbed where diving poles had bounced against them on their sure way to the ground. He positioned me between two of the final three and had me hold them tight. Then somehow dancing round and flittering about suddenly my arms were wrenched and all three poles were lying on the ground. He laughed and chanted some happy song of work that's almost done. He skipped away and told me to hurry and get them in the wagon. I heaved and dragged and plotted my revenge as soon as I could get him in the stream.
I raced from the loaded wagon and exploded on him in the middle of the water. He laughed and slipped around and kissed me as he pulled me under water. His mouth left my lips and swallowed my rapidly rising pole. We burst above the water just in time to hear Cloud Walking calling to us. She was standing on the stream bank and once again she needed us right this very minute. My pole shuddered more than my arms and shoulders had, yet followed as Running Deer led it from the stream.
The last of tipi loaded, Cloud Walking took us to the shack and pointed to our breechcloths and leggings. We dressed, I didn't get the joy of Running Deer tucking in my breechcloth. We rode our horses beside the wagon until the night was very dark. Then tossing us each a buffalo robe, Cloud Walking stopped the horses and we made a little camp. My stomach longed for her great cooking, but tonight it only tasted jerky. My arms and shoulders soon drew me into sleep.
I dreamed again of ships gliding on the prairie. They moved so slowly North, I almost didn't realize that they moved anywhere at all. The deep singing of the shanties did not taunt me on this night. I strained to hear if Running Deer had joined their rumbling voices. I slept within the rolling of their stately progress.
Little Bee is dancing at www.netnicholas.com/littlebee