Column: Sometimes, connecting happens at unexpected timesWORTHINGTON — As I record these thoughts, “the snow has gone, yet the memory lingers on.” It was early morning as I drew the drapes facing our backyard. The newfallen snow lay smooth, white and clean, unmarked except for some new tracks.
By: Nancy Kaercher Zuehlkle, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — As I record these thoughts, “the snow has gone, yet the memory lingers on.”
It was early morning as I drew the drapes facing our backyard. The newfallen snow lay smooth, white and clean, unmarked except for some new tracks.
Something had created perfectly straight lines and geometric triangles. There were no circles to suggest children playing “Fox and Goose.” No, and certainly not the rabbits that hop all over everywhere, everywhere.
No, only the squirrels know how to find the most direct route between the backyard’s six maple trees. The squirrels are not playing Fox and Goose. Quite simply, they find the shortest distance and repeat those trails every day.
Enough of this simple analyzing. “So long, squirrels, and happy trails to you.”
As I turn to leave, a distant memory comes flashing forward. A long ago, newfallen snow memory. My thoughts travel to 30 years ago to Hill City, S.D. Cal and I were with our longtime native friend, Pahaska, and his wife, Suzie. While we were dining at the Hill City Steak House, our “kolas” (friends) asked what we would like to do the next day.
Having visited the Black Hills several times and enjoying the usual sites, I thought it was time to meet some of their friends. My dream would be going to a remote camp or someplace high in the mountains.
The next day, we went to a beautiful new apartment building in Keystone to visit Jack and Shirley Little. At that time, Jack was head gatekeeper at the Crazy Horse Monument. Jack was a self-made man and somewhat skeptical of strangers. His life had been hard with many pitfalls due to being abused as a native child in a white school.
Pleasantries were exchanged and for the most part our conversations were conventional and politic. Jack appeared dormant as we spoke of unrelated topics.
Suddenly, in one of those I-don’t-know-why-moments, I began to speak of newfallen snow and how beautiful the earth looks. “Mother Earth at peace under Father Sky’s blanket of white. The absence of color in the white snow symbolizes purity. I love to look out the front window, cherish the moments before the snowplow finds the road. I secretly pray wish for the plows to be delayed and for no one to uncover the sidewalks or make any tracks for a little while.”
Immediately Jack rose to his feet, caught my gaze with his piercing dark eyes, commanding my complete attention. He announced, “This is exactly the way we [natives] felt when the settlers arrived and dug into Mother Earth, digging roads and tracks railroads. They were attacking our mother, our beliefs.”
Silence. Our eyes continued to speak. No more words were needed.
To think, that something as simple as snow was magnified to the highest point of connecting.
Today, we are all accustomed to the busy world as the progress of man is inevitable. More and more tracks are on Mother Earth. What would the native people of early America think of all the wind generators? They are striking giants against the sky in the great prairie of the Midwest.
Not only Mother Earth has more tracks, but also Father Sky is filled with trails of jet streams and outer space debris.
And so on and on my thoughts wander. Oh, shucks — happy trails to you, my kolas.