His childhood was filled with many things. He would travel with his grandparents to places in the middle of nowhere and sit behind Kunshi.
The Old men would get up and orate in languages from many different tribes and Nations. Both grandparents understood many languages and would nod their heads in agreement at the same time as the other people. Sometimes they would sit in tipis till very late and he would fall asleep listening to the crackle of fires and rattles and songs sung with dignity.
The sun would be coming up when things would end and people made their way to their own tipis and sleep. He would be up alone and watch the fire coals bounce around as they slowly burned away having completed their job.The painted tipi designs would come alive to his mind and he would see the history of the human beings play out in front of him. They were his friends in the hours where he was alone while people rested.Thunderbirds eyes would come alive. The Buffalo would snort and paw the ground. Elk would whistle their calls of love. Eagles would scream out and flap their wings so the whole tipi would shake as the wind would bring the smell of sage wafting through the early morning dew.
The old men on the walls would sing once again and the star people underground would dance in place. Yes…. That would be how he would see things.
He would look at the tipi flaps and think of the far away place where the humans came from. One day he will go see them too.
There sat Diidlishi.
Diidlishi would fly to one of the tipi poles and start chatting away to him and fly to the next pole only to begin the chatter again. He would look at Diidlishi and smile back.
“I have missed seeing you since the last time you were here on earth Diidlishi” he would talk back.
Diidlishi would just chat away telling of adventures from high up on the tipi poles.
Life takes its own path and he started to grow into a young man. Ceremonies were becoming less and less because the old people were dying and the next generation were not there all the time because of that residential school order that people had to endure.
It was his grandparents that kept him from going to residential school. They told his father that this one will not go thru that experience and they will hide him away from him, and the police if they had to, but he is not going.
Diidlishi would always be around in the area telling him more stories.
Then Diidlishi took a human form.
He first met Diidlishi when he was about 14 years old. It was at a Native friendship centre of all places. He saw Diidlishi in the form of a young girl and he was captured instantly by her beauty. She belonged to a very strong family. There was something about her that made him feel like a missing piece was finally there.
He was too shy to say anything to her. Still he tried to get her attention but she just sat beside her dad and her other sisters and kept to herself. Scents of sage reminded him of the younger days when she was still Diidlishi in bird form.
LIfe has a way of dictating what should happen to a persons life travels and so it did for him as well.
His grandparents were getting older now and slower. They seemed to be in a hurry to tell him more things so he chose to be around them and listen. His uncles and aunties also asked him to be around.
“These horses need your attention,” his uncle would tell him.
His own horse was called “Mouse” because his coat was the same colour as Dluna (mouse) and he was a very good looking horse.
“Mouse” Stood quietly as he got on and then would take off before he got settled in the saddle properly. It was a game they played everytime. Sometimes he would win and sometimes he would lose but they were tied to each other in eagerness. They both preferred to ride with no saddle at all and just a rawhide rope through the mouth as the only bridle. Just like the old scouts of long ago.
Every spring it would be him and a couple of cousins that would ride and bring in all the herds for branding new colts and breaking young 2 year olds. All the horse owners would come and make their claims on whose horse belonged to who and arguments would ensue. All the while the irons would be waiting to see what brand would be on the next horse. His cousins and he would patiently wait and chuckle to themselves as they watched the comedy unfold.
His desire to see the world led him to join the military for a few years. He came out of it changed. The terrible things people can do to each other. It was so different than what he grew up with. He discovered hardly anyone was raised by their grandparents.
Even a Ojibway man he met was a hollow person who just saw this as a way out of his troubled growing up years away from everything and being raised by White people. He drank every chance he could so he could believed he fit in with the other sailors.
They were soldier boys but the Ojibway man felt lost without a place he knew as home.
He invited the Ojibway to come out west and stay with him to get to know the earth once again. Diidlishi would be there to welcome them, and they will ride his horses up into the hills and they can fast together and watch the sun come up every morning.
He sang him a song while they were standing on the deck in the hot Persian Gulf sun. They smelled sage as they stood there. The Thunderbird clapped once and it surprised them. there were only a few clouds to the west.
“My Isaugh taught me this song to to sing when things were lonely.”
“The bear will come and watch over us because we are his children.”
He believed this very much and it brought much comfort to the Ojibway.
“You will find your way home as well,” he told him.
“Our ancestors have never forgotten about us”
In time the Ojibway did make his way west and found his brother and they helped each other recover from that strange time. They went out and fasted like he said they would. The snorting of the Buffalo Nation would greet them every morning and they would sing the songs to honour them.
“The Buffalo Nation is coming, The Buffalo Nation is coming…. the people are getting stronger…..”
The Young Ojibway man who was hollow found a link to his past and soon decided he must go home to his own land and encourage the young men there. He realized they needed him now even more. He packed his backpack early one morning and they sat around a fire and they spoke for awhile before he buttoned up his navy jacket and started to walk east.
He watched his brother stride with confidence off towards the sun on a late summer day when the leaves were starting to change colour. He was happy and sad to see his brother leave but he knew it was his journey now. He cried for him. The winds of change had started for both of them.
Back to his reality.
He was a father then to a young boy and girl but his relation to the mother was not good and they had gone their own separate ways. It was time for him to leave as well.
He would see Diidlishi in different places and always said hello to her. He was more confident now but he could never tell her how he truly felt. He just watched her from afar and wished her a good life. She had become famous in the Native world and followed her dreams. He never thought she would be interested in him anyways.
He made his way in life and accomplished many things that were good. His generation were starting to emerge out of the cloudy haze of drugs and alcohol and they saw that they were going to have to be the next generation of trying to remember a past almost lost and pass it on to the younger people. They would learn to sing strong songs of support to encourage the young people to carry on. As hard as it was, they knew that they were the strength and continuation of the ancestors running through their blood. They would begin to know what love felt like.
Still, he knew something was missing in his life. It seemed to be a comedy of errors at times when he tried to it figure out. He was too blind to see what it was. He looked into his past to see what felt right.
Images of painted tipis spread out across a long gentle slope not far from a river always filled his mind. Instantly the scent of burning campfires and sweetgrass would enter into his mind and he would find a brief respite from his troubled heart.
Many people looked up to him and he was always kind to them and many loved him for being a good man. Still he was unsettled. The love he held for years sat deep inside.
It was always the words that his Isaugh told him.
“Your spirit will always be ahead of you and you will be trying to catch up for a very long time.”
“That is what is laid out for you I am afraid, my grandson.”
“I don’t like that very much, Isaugh,” he would say to himself.
Then Diidlishi appeared out of the land and said hello back.
He was at a loss of what to say to her.
He knew he had missed her all his life.
His memories of that long ago time came flooding back.
He wanted to take her home. Still they were too far away from being close together. It was too soon.
Isaugh was right.
He would carry on with a heavy heart.
He wanted only to do one thing right in his life and it was just not time.