Winter's Blessing, Spring Dawning

Category: Native

I am Anishnabek. I live my life by the seasons, by Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon. The winters pass by, and still I endure. Even as the sun sets in the west, my fire still burns brightly. We live our lives by the seasons, as all life does here on Anishnabe Aki, on mother Earth. The winter times are the times of trial, of endings, a time to prepare for the new journeys ahead. Those who Gidje'manido calls back to the great dance, to the spirit realms, they go to their resting. Mother Earth covers them with her winter's blanket, and grants the weary to rest. The elderly, the infirm, and even the young sometimes leave us — but those who are left behind must be strong, are strong, and we endure the winter.

Those of us who wake, find ourselves bathed in the light of our Grandfather. A beautiful morning it is! New life abounds, this is the springtime. Wild flowers and wild hearts dance in the sunlight. This is a time for renewal, for the beasts of the land to create new life in their bellies. The birds sing their songs of happy return, back from the southern lands, the lands of Shabanuk'daci. The people visit life upon the land as well, planting the new crops in the fields, young men and women finding love in their hearts.

The rains fall, and the thunder beings return. Mother Earth cleanses the land, prepares it for the new life ahead. Grandmother Moon shines brightly in the sky, and the people dance. The day dawns, and Grandfather shines brightly, spreading his arms across the land to warm his children. The three sisters, the corn, the bean, and the squash grow from their seedlings. The fawn grows within her mother's belly, and the people work and celebrate the new life. There is joy upon the land, and all of the small things take on new life and grow.

The young men learn the ways of the hunt, and the young women learn the ways of the home. The elders teach them their skills, as their elders taught them. The crops grow tall, as they are tended by the people.

Soon the moon rises in the sky yet again, and the leaves change. The harvest time has come, time for Gamwing. The life that has grown all summer comes to know the world, as the fawn takes her first steps upon the land. The sun rises in the east, and the people bring in the crops that will sustain them through the winter time.

Fires burn brightly in the village, and the people begin to warm themselves. Winter fast approaches, and there is much to do. The homes are prepared for the winter time, and festivals are prepared to honor the bounty that Gidje'manido has granted all of us.

Finally, the winters come again. As Grandmother Moon must rest in her moon-house every month, so must our manido at the end of our jouney, before we begin anew. In the winter we shall rest, and our souls shall heal — ready for the spring.