Monday, August 19, 2019

Personal Ecology :: Creative Writing Essays

Personal Ecology A deep desire to cry. The hanging, haunting chant of Gordon Comes at Night, waves of sweat crystallizing on the skin, loosened joints, unfolded from the lodge into the cold night air. Wiped clean, nothing to say. Reach inside for a voice, a meaning, the distance between the earth and the moon in its fullness. Which orbits which? For a year I sat in the only seat that was not part of the circle. "Me" is still a long way off. Each stanza seems a step in a different direction. For predictive value I wear my lapis necklace, just now Blackfeet-blessed. Gil will become a soulmate but for the time being he is just there. The one I adore I can barely speak to, can barely reach, although he is the nexus of my system. Letting go is a skill. But for all the growth, movement, experience—for all that, I learn, there is loss. Dances and costumes and heart-pounding drumbeats of the powwow hold the mind in temporary suspense. Men of the tribal council give away blankets, toys, dollar bills, scarcely affordable tokens of an amicable nature. I am at peace, but I feel raw, the agony of a first love and an ideal whose flaws I can never know. There is garbage everywhere on the reservation, but people leave an offering of tobacco when they pick sage or sweetgrass—a love and a hate of the land where I expected only love. I gather refuse wherever I go because work is the only sure way to avoid long awkward pauses. This fear—perhaps it is inherited, perhaps it just rubbed off on me, but it is a legacy of my mother. Pause is earned, the awe of an eagle feather pressed into the hands, the return for the playground we build. Gil works just as hard and so we work side by side, joined in this practice of leaving a record behind. Community has many meanings. Even now I know that the real beauty, the real friendship, will come later, when words can supplant presence. But I am still here, you know, extracting something and leaving something behind. If I rub my necklace I can sense the continuity with no center. Practice of leaving a record behind The possibility of a recipe. Our Ahtna friends cook a feast of fresh salmon and banok, fry bread.

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