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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


December 14, 2002 - Issue 76


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Winter Comes to Happy Valley
Part 2


Jack FrostAs the bitter cold wind howled through happy valley, Papa and Virginia O'Malley and Pat and Penny were very worried about Paddy and Paden. They knew that there was a strong possibility that the two mischievous little mice were in great danger and there was nothing that they could do. Penny and Virginia softly sobbed as they huddled in the homeground to try to stay warm. Pat and Papa O'Malley were fighting their urge to leave the safety of the homeground to try to save their beloved little ones, but they knew that they would die in those conditions. They could only hope that Paden and Paddy had found a safe place to endure the storm. The other concern was that once the huge storm ended, it would be very difficult for the little ones to get back to the homeground with all the snow on the ground. Additionally, all the predators would be hungry and on the hunt for food. The other situation that they knew was a problem was that Paddy and Paden would probably be weak from lack of food. It was very upsetting.

As Thunderhawk and Blaze roosted high in their favorite tree they shared the worry about the safety of Paden and Paddy, but there was simply nothing that they could do either. Thunderhawk was filled with frustration as he just wanted to go and find the little mice and help them. They both knew that it was very unlikely that Paddy and Paden could survive this brutal winter storm alone.

Blowing WindMeanwhile, Paddy and Paden were slipping into a state of unconsciousness. The bitter cold cut through their fur like a knife. They both began to have scary nightmares as their spirits neared the point of crossing over from the physical world and into the spirit world. They could both hear their families calling for them and they tried to go to the sound of their voices, but something was pulling them in the opposite direction. They both imagined that they were trying to call out for help, but no sound would come from their mouths. No matter how hard they tried to scream out loud for help, their mouths would open wide, but no sound would come out.

Suddenly they both thought that they heard the sound of dogs barking and growling and coming in their direction. They couldn't be sure if it was real or if they were imagining it. Then they both felt a moist warm sensation surrounding their little bodies. Then they felt as though they were being lifted up and moved rapidly. The feeling was odd. They felt like they were being bounced around in some warm moist place that they could not identify. They were too near death to make any sense of it all. Then their little minds went completely blank.

As the hours passed, every mouse back at the homeground grew more anxious. The storm raged on and the snow began to get deeper and deeper. It was unusual for happy valley to get a heavy storm like this, but it just kept going and going. By the time the snow stopped falling the valley had received more than two feet of snow. The tree branches strained under the weight of the freshly fallen snow. The scene was beautiful, but scary for the little mice. Food was now buried deep in the snow and the cold weather that had accompanied the snow seemed to get colder.

In this type of situation, animals try to move as little as possible. The deer yard up in an area with trees that can provide food and shelter for them and with a southern exposure to try to get as much sunlight as possible. Movement is kept to a minimum to conserve energy. Most of the smaller animals are holed up somewhere and keep their movements to a minimum as well. If any of them use too much energy, with so little food to replace it, they will die.

HeartsThat first night was very sad. There had been no sign of Paden or Paddy and all the little mice feared the worst. There was loud crying and the mice tried their best to keep each other warm and comfort each other as the sickening feeling came over them that they may never see Paden or Paddy again. Michayla cried out loud and said, "I wish that I could see them right now! I can't believe how mean I was to them yesterday. I love them so much and if anything happened and I never had a chance to let them know how much I loved them, it will be horrible!" Then she cried uncontrollably. This brought a terrible realization to all of them. They knew that Paden and Paddy could be a handful, but now that they were forced to think about maybe never being able to see them again, their hearts ached. They all longed to hug the two little mice and let them know how much they loved them. It was a terrible lesson about how you never know when any loved one might be taken from the physical world on Mother Earth. Love is too important to go undetected and lack of forgiveness can lead to terrible guilt when something unexpected happens to a loved one and they never return.

After three days of the terrible storm and the stress of the missing mice, the fourth morning revealed a brilliant red sunrise in the eastern sky behind the peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains, happy valley began to come to life once again. The sunrise was incredible. The radiant morning sun glistened off the white snow and created a beautiful scene. The snow covered mountains looked like a winter wonderland.

Sunny SunThe weather remained bitterly cold, but at least the sun was shining. The birds were flying from tree to tree and landing here and there on the snow searching for food and singing beautiful songs that lifted the spirits of all the other creatures. The beautiful songs that the birds sing after a terrible storm like the one that had just hammered happy valley is like a renewal of hope and a promise from the Great Creator of better things to come.

Thundehawk and Blaze were grateful for the beautiful day and were very hungry. They took off to find food and flew in the last direction that they had felt that the little mice may have gone off in. Their keen eyes scanned the ground below for food and signs of the Paden and Paddy. They circled high above happy valley and slowly and deliberately searched every nook and cranny as they went.

Meanwhile, back at the homeground, the beautiful new morning brought the horrible realization that Paddy and Paden were out there somewhere. There was no way to know if they had survived the terrible storm and if they had if they could make it back to the homeground. Pat and Papa O'Malley made a fearless decision to venture out and try to find the little ones. All of the other mice were filled with fear as they thought that Pat and Papa O'Malley may never return either. It didn't matter though, because they were determined to go and look for their missing little ones.

Falling SnowflakeAs Pat and Papa O'Malley prepared to leave the safety of the homeground, Penny and Virginia helped them get enough to eat and urged them to be careful. They were very worried about what could happen out there. They each had tears in their little eyes as they watched the two brave mice fight their way across the top of the very deep snow and make their way off into uncertainty. As they watched them go Penny let out a gasp. Virginia said, "What's wrong Penny?" Penny just pointed to tree nearby where Virginia saw the object of her concern. It was a large owl. Owls are natural enemies of mice, but the fact that the owl was seen in the daytime is sometimes interpreted as a sign that something or someone is going to die. They both just looked at the owl and quietly hoped for the best.

As Pat and Papa O'Malley made their way across the treacherous terrain they were bitterly cold. They could not conserve energy if they were to find Paddy and Paden. They had to push hard. On and on they went. Slipping and sliding on the icy snow covering the ground. Softly they called out for the little mice, but nothing was heard in return. After a winter storm like that, it's always amazing as to just how quiet the forest becomes. The blanket of snow deadens sound. Papa O'Malley and Pat heard other sounds periodically, but nothing from the missing mice.

The atmosphere in the homeground was stressed throughout the day that Pat and Papa O'Malley had left. It only got worse when darkness fell like a blanket over happy valley. Penny and Virginia stared out over the big field next to the homeground, but there was no sign of Pat and Papa O'Malley. They went and tried to put the other little ones to bed, but none of them could sleep. It ended up that they all huddled together at the outer edge of the homeground, all staring off into the dark hoping to see any of the mice returning. Unfortunately, there was nothing. Just darkness and fear. Then the dreadful sounds of coyotes howling in the distance shattered the night and the little mice began softly weeping. Then they heard the sound of an owl hooting and Penny and Virginia looked at each other and slowly shook their heads back and forth as tiny tears escaped down the corner of their eyes. They wondered how everything could have seemed so wonderful just a very few days ago and now their entire lives had just become jumbled up feelings of stress and fear. Where were their loved ones? Were they okay?

EagleThunderhawk and Blaze had been able to eat but had to roost far from their favorite tree that first night. They had searched long and hard without even a sign of Paden and Paddy. They were sad and frustrated. That first night of the search was long and cold.

Pat and Papa O'Malley had been a little lucky that first day. They had not encountered any hungry predators and they were thankful for that. As darkness had begun to fall over happy valley the two had been able to burrow under a large fallen tree, which would provide safety from predators and keep the bitter cold wind off of them. Their sleep was very restless with nightmares about what may have happened to Paden and Paddy and how their loved ones back at the homeground would be worried about them since they had not returned. Returning had not been an option since they still hadn't found their babies, but there was no way to communicate the fact that they were okay back to the homeground.

As the first long bitter night of the search for Paden and Paddy drew to a close, again a brilliant and beautiful sun began to appear in the east. Blaze and Thunderhawk shook their feathers and got ready to resume the search. They decided to backtrack a little and see if maybe the little mice had remained hidden in their initial search, but maybe were coming out now for food.

Scared MousePapa O'Malley and Pat hadn't slept well at all. That had cost them valuable energy and they were hungry and cold. They carefully emerged from under the safety of the fallen tree and looked in each direction and smelled the air for any sign of a predator. The coast seemed clear so they ventured out.

As Thunderhawk and Blaze slowly circled up above they spotted Papa O'Malley and Pat running across the snow. They usually didn't worry about protecting adult creatures, but they both knew why the two mice were braving the dangerous conditions. They were desperately looking for Paddy and Paden. They slowly shook their heads back and forth in sympathy and agreed to split up so that Thunderhawk could look for the two missing mice while Blaze kept a watchful eye on the two brave adult mice who were risking their lives out there.

The second day of the search was just as unfruitful as the first. There had been no sign of Paden and Paddy. Thunderhawk was forced to roost without his mate and he didn't know if she was alright, so he was now worried about her as well. Pat and Papa O'Malley found another safe spot to spend the night. Again they were hungry and cold and filled with dread about their precious babies. Blaze was forced to roost without her mate as well. She wasn't worried about him, because he was a huge powerful hawk and the odds were that he was fine. She did however worry about all of the little mice. She began to fear the worst about Paden and Paddy's fate.

Back at the homeground tensions were running high and all the mice were upset. Another day had come and gone without a sign from any of the mice who were out in those bitter dangerous conditions. Fortunately Penny had overheard Ian, Michayla, Fiona and Sean, Jr. talking about sneaking out to try and find their loved ones and they were able to prevent another possible disaster. They were very firm in disciplining them and warning about such foolishness. Sadly, all that any of them could do was wait.

Jack FrostThe dawning of the third day of the search for Paddy and Paden was foreboding. The weather was still bitterly cold and a new covering of dark clouds kept the sun from shining at all. The dark clouds did not take long to reveal their intentions. Just after first light a heavy snowfall began to once again cover happy valley.

Papa O'Malley and Pat just looked at each other in frightened uncertainty. This was not good at all. Blaze knew that she was stuck on her roost again and so was Thunderhawk. They were forced to remain separated again. It was very upsetting. Back at the homeground the stress was becoming unbearable. Penny tried to keep order along with Virginia, but stress takes a toll on every creature of Mother Earth.

Pat and Papa O'Malley were beginning to be overcome by the cold and the inability to properly care for themselves as they burned up energy and didn't have the opportunity to properly nourish themselves as they had frantickly searched for Paden and Paddy. That night Papa O'Malley began to slip in and out consciousness and Pat was scared. Papa O'Malley began having some type of upsetting visions and began to thrash around on the ground under their shelter. Pat tried to calm him down because he was using up even more energy and if he didn't settle down he would never make it back home. Then Pat began to experience a loss of consciousness as well. The rescuers were now in need of rescue, but who or what could save them?

The End - Part 2

© 2002 Geoff Hampton

Geoff Hampton is an internationally known author, speaker, motivator and business consultant. He is also the Marketing Director for Indian Voices newspaper and is a regular columnist for the wellness business Website He can be reached by E-mail at

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