29 June 2011

Walk in the Dark

The stars were bright tonight as I walked home.  The village is becoming more civilized with street lights most of the way.  One stretch along Lovers Lane is dark.  See three porch lights with mine being furthest away.  I'm making an effort to enjoy the beauty of the night sky.  Frogs are quiet tonight.

Wishing my ride would come along.  Stayed on the other side of the road when I got by the cemetery.  Crossed over when I got near the corner.  By then my cigarette is almost out.  So, must concentrate on the sky.  

Too late.  One chill goes up my spine and I push away the stories that crowd through my mind's eye.  Make my feet keep their rhythm, angle my eyes to my porch light, still a ways yet.  Flick my eyes back to the sky.  My ears are tuned for the sound of the car, still hoping it'll get here.  

Ahhhh.  Light.  I've crossed the invisible line and relax.  Amble to the door and go inside. 

Sometimes I think about the old, old days.  I know what it is like to have no electricity, no indoor plumbing.  When I read about something happening in those days, I can see it.  I walked a lot but no where near what some of my ancestors walked.  

One of my great great great uncles had an ear infection.  His wife and sister ran all the way to the village from a logging camp near Gheen.  The superintendent hooked up his horse and cart and they went back to Gheen.  When they got there, it was decided to put him on the train and send him to Duluth.  That was where he died.  The women ran about 20 miles in 5 hours.   

My greatgrandmother often went to the woods to get birchbark.  My mom says she didn't know how Grandma carried that big stack on her back.  The men would go hunting deer and drive them towards one another in the hopes of getting enough to feed the village.    Traveling to get enough food and supplies for winter was around 70 miles one way.   

My great aunt was taken out of the Indian School and sent to live with her grandparents.  The grandparents lived in Canada.  Not sure where but that was a journey of about 70 miles.  From Wakemup Village to the Indian School was only 20 miles.  

I get leery walking 1/2 mile in the dark, with the pertinent part only about 100 yards.  My aunts, grandparents, others thought nothing of running in the dark for miles when they had to. I'm glad I have the choice to ride in a car to travel those distances.  Guess I won't complain about walking to the store.  Now, to find a way to stop the chills when it's dark.

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