Canku Ota Logo

Canku Ota

Canku Ota Logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


November 1, 2003 - Issue 99


pictograph divider


Autumn is Upon Us Now

by Greg (ShyHawk)

Autumn is upon us now
It is easy to perceive
Each tree, shrub, and grass
is covered with crimson golden leaves.

Autumn DoeAutumn is a time of change -- a time to prepare for the up coming winter. The land, the animals, the plants all make ready for a time of rest that will soon sweep the land. It is a time for us to also settle conflicts inside ourselves so we too may bring some rest to our tired souls.

In the beginning of spring we are refreshed and as new leaves -- green, shiny, with sharp clean edges. By fall we are faded, scarred, and worn from spring storms and summer heat and humidity that have crept into our spirits. For myself -- squalls over land issues, sovereignty struggles, and illness are but a few that have raced across my home and heart.

The heat of summer has faded and the cool winds of fall now brush across my face. It is a time of change -- a time to prepare. Older brother Winter struggles to cover the land in snow and ice while his younger brother Summer wishes to keep the land warm and green. Each day is different. One day warm and sunny -- the next cold and windy. The mornings wake to long grasses adorned in ice crystals glimmering in the early dawn sunlight. As the day progresses the ice changes to droplets of water and the chill is replaced by a warm touch from mid day. The struggle continues across the season and even across the day for the warm touch of Summer will soon be replaced once more by the icy grip of Winter's frost over night.

My spirit also feels like the season's struggle. I have been kept to long from the land I love. My energy seems to be gone. My closeness to Creator feels distant. Prayers given now feel hollow. It is time to leave the struggles behind. It is a time to travel home and once again find myself. A time to lift the morning fog from the path I walk so that I may once more be focused. This season has again shown to me a cruel society not based on fairness or respect -- but greed and power regardless of consequences.

I travel home to Antietam Lake.

On the previous day high winds and rain ripped across the mountain. Today is a day of transition. A stiff breeze
blows cold winds through the valley. The sky is overcast. In the distance the clouds stretch slowly apart as fiber s of cotton candy. Betwixt the stretched threads of dark appears small elongated patches of white soft clouds floating in a frame of azure blue. Soft rays of yellow individually reach for the cold earth. Small silhouettes of black race across the land on stretched wings.

I walk into the mountain on a small dirt path. Now slippery from a smooth wet clay covering. I feel lost and all alone. The struggles still weigh heavy upon my heart. The wind blows strong and the leaves deafen my thoughts with their voices. Smell of damp leaves and rich earth fill my senses. My Mother welcomes her lost son home once more.

The path becomes steeper and is replaced by small rocks set in place by dark earth pointing. Large Tulip Poplars reach for the sky which is almost hidden by their canopies of golden yellows. A gentler breeze gives voice to their fancy leaves of flower shapes.

As I follow the path that leads me up the mountain I return to an old circle. The circle has not been used in over two centuries. Its outline is still clear and the front wall remains semi circular. Trees border her outline -- but none intrude. I am reminded of who I am -- reminded my heart belongs to my ancestors -- this is there home. Respect is given as the dried leaves of tobacco are laid.

The path rises steeper from the circle. The leaf litter is several inches deep here. Their soft rustle and crunch beneath my feet are a settling music to my heart. Their aroma is overpowering -- no perfume could smell sweeter to me. Here the canopy has been thinned. Beeches and poplars gray limbs covered sparsely in yellows and oranges greet the soft yellow filtering thru their thinning tops.

I reach the overlook -- a long stretch of gray stone which parallels the slope. It resembles flagstone steps overlapping each other on their path down the mountain. They rise about twenty feet over the forest floor. The stones are large as small trucks. Lichens of washed out green cover them in spotty patterns. My vision reaches out over the side of the mountain. I remember as it was. Small lodges dotted the slopes above the stream. Ribbons of smoke wound up through the canopy on these cool days. Fields ready to be harvested of squash and corn - Creators gifts to his people.

Today's gifts are the leaves of gold. The land was and still is ravaged for black gold. Creator's gifts are destroyed and not respected. Yet the true gift of gold is unobserved by most. These leaves of gold provide water vapor, oxygen, cool the air, gentle breezes, remove our pollutants, provide us with beauty, whisper to those who will listen, and at the last season they return to Mother enriching her soil once more.

I travel higher into an area of pines. Their soft whisper brings a peace to my soul. My heart is softened once more. Their sadness fills me. I am reminded this land is in struggle also. People who wish to preserve this place struggle daily -- highs and lows are endless as hopes are dashed. It is not about the right thing or the fair thing. It is not about saving the forest for the next generation or the sacred places for the peoples children's children -- sadly it is about money.

People here try to teach of nature and history. The small nature center is being forced off the land due to no funding. The people who run it and try to preserve this land are dedicated and respectful to this place called Antietam Lake. As on my own face the struggle of years can be seen. They struggle to keep the land free and the opportunities open for all to enjoy and learn about the true world -- not the aquarium of life most call cities. Separated by cement and asphalt from the real world that surrounds their capsules of life.

Then hope is shown to me. I see a large boulder seemingly reaching up out of the earth -- suspended in air. I approach on a path of long yellowed pine needles. My steps are silent. Their softness is appreciated -- for the hard rock trail prior has been felt through my soft moc souls. The pine scent is sweet and lite. The boulder is indeed lifted from the earth. The boulder is shaped as a spear point. His black color contrasts against the yellow hue of the thickly needled floor. A young wild cherry tree grows from atop the wide end of the spear point. Her roots of red wrap and encircle the broad end of the stone tightly as octopus tentacles. They drip from the base into the earth.

When the tree sprouted I would not have imagined its impact upon this huge stone of great size and weight. Now as it has grown to a girth of eight inches and height of twenty feet its strength is revealed. The once small sapling dominated by the rock has now reversed the role. Its strong hold now pushes the stone skyward. Daylight now pours under his base which was once firmly embedded in the ground.

I am eased over the struggles now. I am shown we each make a difference. The grass roots movements start with one dream. As the dream is shared the people once more gain strength. One day the roles will be reversed as with the rock and the tree. We will again be free and our land respected!

The bounce returns to my weary step and a warmth to my tired heart. I again look at the path I follow. I notice fresh deer tracks. They travel my direction and I am now into the sneakup. I stoop and feel and inspect the tracks. They are still rich black from wet earth. The wind has not had time to dry the edges yet. I drop some pine needles and am enlightened the wind is in my face racing down the mountain.

The deer will not smell me coming. The wind will shadow my movements and sounds. I slowly and deliberately start up hill once more. My feet have again become a part of this land. Each stone and twig are felt through my souls. It is not my eyes that guide me now but my feet feeling for the soft quiet place to set.

I crouch low and peer up the trail. I spot a light white area on an otherwise gray sapling. The bark has been rubbed away. I look for hair on the trunk. I look for hair at the base of the tree on top of the leaves. Their is none. The pale hairy fibers ruffed from the trunk are dry. It is not a fresh rub.

I smell the wind. No scent present. Sometimes when the deer are close their scent will be that of a wet horse. I continue farther on this winding rock trail. Stopping and listening every few feet. Moving as one with the wind. A small mountain bench appears before me surrounded by young elms adorned in yellow serrated leaves. I inspect the bench carefully. A small elongated area of black earth has been cleared of all leaves. It has been pawed and small tree roots of ivory color stand up as worms on end. In the middle of the scrap a large hoof print has been imprinted telling all this territory belongs to this buck. It reminds me that the circles proclaim this land to be Unami Land still! We are each in our own territory once more. This is where we were placed by Creator - where we each belong. This earth is my ancestors. It is Unami. it is me!!!!!!

My loneliness is replaced by my feeling of coming home -- a feeling of belonging once more. The struggles no longer weigh on me. I understand once more they are needed and can be won. Here I do not belong to Pennsylvania. On this mountain I belong to my people. I am home on their land! Turtle Land!!!

Before me Vulture Rock stands. It is a bluff of gray stone boulders. They are huge and fitted together as a Mayan stone work. Their beauty and power make me forget the hunt. This is the place I have sought this day to come. As I reach their peak a loud noise carries across the escarpment. Crashing and snorting swing my head to the left. My eyes catch the rising of brown stout figures leaping to their feet. Three large white tails dance from side to side as they disappear into the forest. Three deer also sought out this spot today. Their grace and beauty always amazes me no matter how often they visit with me.

The bluff bends in a right angle. I walk out on the large stones to the point. In the seams wild grasses grow. They are browning to make winter food for the animals. some have dull green long thin leaves with a long thin stem of reddish purple dancing on the wind. Their beauty is appreciated with a curtain of gray stone behind them. I reach the edge and sit down legs dangling over the edge.

I notice beside me grows a vine of Virginia Creeper. It traces my route to the edge. Her delicate leaf hands of five symmetric fingers are adorned in bright crimson heightened by the dull gray over which she inches this day. The valley opens before me. The storms have been hard on this place. Many trees are snapped and broken off. Others have been uprooted and lay over on their once airborne limbs. Young growth fills the voids. Berry bushes spiked and adorned in red fruits tangle into the open area. Young oaks and beech nuts spring to life.

It is as with us. Struggles scar and cripple some. Others remain straight and strong. The old pass and return to the earth helping to bring new life to the people who follow. At one time we are each of these depending on our place on the circle. Here is life -- we cannot escape into the man made encapsulating bubbles many now call home.

The top of the mountain has been reached. The canopy has opened. The wind whispers to me. The Old Ones welcome me home once more. The sky is still troubled with patches of blue to be covered over by gray only to reappear again. I stand on the edge of the bluff. The sky seems able to be touched through the opening in the leafy ceiling. I feel once again strong and close to Creator. The fog lifts and my energy is renewed. A call is heard and a flash stops before me. An old snag stands tall and alone in the opening. It is filled with many small holes. On her side rests the brilliant red cap and back draped in rich black and white specks of my friend the woodpecker. More calls are heard and small blue objects flash across the sky. The rasp of the blue jay is not easily forgotten.

I now settle into a time of silence. The soft smells of sweet grass and sage intermingle with the damp aromas of Mother in this place. The strength of Grandfather Rock is felt. It fits easily into the gentleness surrounding this bluff. The fog lifts and my path again is seen. Peace fills my spirit, A oneness with this place - Mother Earth and Father Creator.

The Old Ones rest on the side of this mountain. My own father who loves this place rests across the valley on the far peak easily seen from this high place. A small flock of geese fly overhead. Their grays and blacks paint a magnificent moving picture. I am reminded of an old elder's tale of how the people are like the geese. No one is greater then the other. All most be respected. All work together to reach their goals. We are one.

Prayers are over and much was heard in the silence this day. Creator's gifts were respected. For an instant Mother, Creator, Grandfather Rock, the Old Ones, the One Leggeds, the Four Leggeds, the Winged Ones, the Crawlies were all one in this place of spirit and tradition. No words can describe this feeling of family of true belonging.

This is the True World as it was gifted to the True Americans!
It still lives -- the people still live!
Thankyou Grandfather

written by ShyHawk
fall 2003

pictograph divider

Home PageFront PageArchivesOur AwardsAbout Us

Kid's PageColoring BookCool LinksGuest BookEmail Us


pictograph divider

  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

Canku Ota Logo   Canku Ota Logo

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.

Site Meter
Thank You

Valid HTML 4.01!