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Unpublished sample

 

Cal Thunder Hawk

 

Butterfly's Gift

The world is a beautiful, vast wilderness of many trails leading to places far from oneís home. Sometimes the peaceful, quiet comfort and joy that only a home provides is truly all that one needs from this life. But the trail that passes outside your door comes from somewhere and it leads elsewhere. Sometimes a personís life may become an adventure upon such trails: Trails that lead one to distant and strange places beyond such familiar ones. Those who know what they are searching for are the fortunate ones because, even if they may not know where the thing that they are seeking can be found -- that is, even if they may lack a clear direction to it -- they have a goal. A goal may provide a special meaning that makes oneís search worthwhile: It makes it possible to understand why it is so important for someone to seek something. There are others who may wander far and long, seeking something somewhere that only they understand. Some say it is the destination that one seeks which makes all the difference between such journeys. Others insist that it is how, and why, a journey is taken that makes a destination possible.

However, because there are many reasons that one may have to go through such places and, maybe, wander far beyond them, it is a wise thing to prepare carefully for oneís travels. Sometimes unexpected things may occur and one must quickly abandon oneís trail. Danger may lie in wait when one loses sight of where one has come from and where one needs to go. It could be like a person who must quickly flee through a dark forest in a night of clear skies; for, then, one can always look up to the seven brothers in the sky -- seven bright stars: All night long, through the thirteen moons of one year, they slowly dance in a circle around their sister. Of all the stars in this ever-changing universe, she is the only star that remains still in the sky. So, if oneís life suddenly becomes like a bewildering journey through a forest in the night, one can always look to some things like the northern star and understand that although we may know that a path to the stars is impossible, we can look up to them to help us find our way upon this earth.

There are some things as eternal as the stars that can help to guide us through those times when we may feel that we are lost: When it may seem that even the daylight that certainly follows the darkness of night cannot provide us with the direction we seek. Sometimes the guidance we need is not as far away as the stars in the night or the sun in the day, but resides and grows within our hearts and in the hearts of others. Thus, in similar ways, we can manage to find our way through this life, too. However, of all the possible journeys that we may take the most difficult one takes place within the human heart; for it is through the contents of two human hearts that the door to this world is opened to each of us. We arrive on earth through that door and we have to rely on the love of others in order to grow and survive. Although our lives are brief compared to other beings on this earth, our hearts give us the power to appreciate those precious things that endure and survive many generations. Our hearts also provide us with ways of understanding our needs so that we can create things that improve our existence here. To help us with this, there are basic things -- like our instincts and our senses -- over which we gradually gain control; and there are other things that lie outside of our control and make our lives possible, too: Like our breathing and our heartbeat. Our hearts also prepare us for things beyond this life; for our eventual return back through that door into the eternal world from which we came.

On this side of that door our hearts are sustained by a powerful rhythm that unites us with the motion of all living things. Even the stones are alive with a mysterious force that holds them together and makes them strong and moves them through this universe. It is this force that also makes such things as air, fire and water -- necessary things for our survival, like our instincts and our senses, too -- both useful and dangerous at the same time so one must always be careful of these things and respect them. However, of all the wonderful mysteries on this earth, love is the most powerful because it dwells and flourishes within the human heart; the enormous dimensions within our heart can be discovered only through the capacity for the love that resides within it. The love that makes all good things possible is a priceless treasure that is ours to discover and is ours to share with others in much the same way that the White Buffalo Calf Woman, arrayed in her beautiful innocence brought the sacred pipe to our Lakhota people; for the pipe places sage upon the trails within the hearts of Lakhota children so that they may safely arrive at adulthood.

Long ago, a young Sichangu Lakhota girl named ďKimimila WinĒ learned about the power of the human heart.

It was early one summer morning -- after a thunder storm the night before -- in a large camp along the Little White river where it is joined by the Omaha creek, a spring in a valley called Grass Mountain. Kimimila Win had awakened before sunrise and she had gone to the river with other women and girls from camp to fill two large water bags that she had brought with her from her camp. She filled them with fresh, cold spring water from the creek. She carried one in each hand as she returned to her camp. She carefully walked upon a path along the river for she was still barefooted. She had left her moccasins and leggings back in her thipi because she loved to feel the cool soft sand upon the soles of her bare feet. The tiny trail wound through the high grasses and berry bushes. The sky glowed an early morning clear deep blue color through the dark green shadow of leaves and branches of the towering oak and cottonwood trees. The heavy, water-filled bladders -- one in each hand -- swung awkwardly back and forth as she carried them to the thipi that she and her grandmother shared while Kimimila Winís parents were gone. Her parents had been invited to participate in a ceremony at a camp several days away to the west. It was Kimimila Winís duty to gather fresh water every morning whether she was at her parentís or her grandmotherís thipi. When she arrived there she hung them from a tripod made of slender, strong cherry poles just outside the door.

An Oglala scout had arrived at their camp several days before and he had informed her parents that they had been invited to participate in a ceremony and feast at a distant camp among their Oglala relatives. Her parents had made arrangements to have Kimimila Win stay with her grandmother until they returned. Her father and mother had left early the previous morning and they were expected to return the next day. Kimimila Win had been staying with her grandmother since then.


© 2004 Cal Thunder Hawk