Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
February 12, 2000 - Issue 03

Brain Food-Beginnings
By Lazorletter
Well, the holidays are behind us. Its a new year, new century, and a chance for a new beginning for many of us. I am still stumbling over the gallons of water I had bought, "just in case," and I don't think I will ever eat all these canned goods up. As I look at my little stock pile I feel a bit silly but try to justify them by saying its always good to be prepared.

As do most of us, I have spent some time reflecting on this past year. For me, it was one of change. It was hard at times, and has left me at the beginning of a totally different life than I have been used to. I embrace this new year with a mixture of excitement and fear.

This morning, when I let the dog out, I noticed a rusty paint can wearing a thick pile of snow. There were lumps and bumps all over the yard signifying something laying beneath the clean blanket of snow. The sun had just started to journey to its position for the day, and the air was icy, quiet and had a hollow sound. Chilly shook his ears, looked at me with eyes that said that he was torn between the feelings of need and want. He then lumbered his fat little body out the door to take care of his need. I shut the door and headed for the coffee pot.

It was then I realized that it has been way to long since I greeted the sun with my morning offering of tobacco. My life being filled with stress and sorrow I have emotionally withdrawn into my personal storm. I put on my heavy robe, and slipped my feet into a pair of very attractive boots, grabbed my tobacco and headed outside, beginning my prayers as I tied my boots. I spoke my prayers in a mixture of English and Ojibwa and my words flooded out. After dropping my tobacco next to a huge old tree, I stood there and looked around at the beauty of winter. My neighbors roof was edged with long sparkling swords of ice. The snow had hues of blue and pink from the sun. Sitting in my neighbors tree was a fat little ball of fur watching me and the birds sang their morning songs. Even that big mouth crow sounded good to my ears. I whispered thanks to the Creator for his unchanging beauty and watched my breath carry my words up. I heard a tiny low bark and noticed Chilly parked next to the door. His bark was as though he was clearing his throat to draw attention to the fact that his needs were met and he was waiting on me. We both heading inside feeling much better.

I knew that the things I am facing now, are still here. I knew that the many cross roads that lay in front of me like a knotted expressway, were still here. I knew that I would still carry around this fear of how these roads will affect my future. But I also knew that this day began good. What I do with the rest of it, is up to me.

It seems to me, that change, uncertainty, fear, and doubt are the things that tip our personal canoe. These things can take away our balance and cause our steps to be like a staggering drunk, unable to control our journey. I believe that in order to find balance we must take time to soak in the things that are firmly planted, constant and simple. Those things that have endeared the test of time and remain the same. For me, I know that I must take the time to enjoy the unending beauty of the Creator. I must always keep in touch with my heritage, and talk with my Creator often. These things help anchor my feet and allow me to walk steady. So when I do make a choice of which road to travel, I can walk that road balanced.

We as a Nation, of people, will face changes in this new century. The ugly is still alive and with us, but so is the beauty of our simple culture. In order to survive, and walk into this new century with balanced steps. I believe that we must make sure that we keep alive the wonderful things that make us who we are. Passing on to our young the secret to keeping their canoe from tipping is our greatest gift, and strongest hope. Add to that a mixture of education, pride, and honor, I believe we will still be here well into the next century.

Peace Laz

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