Manataka American Indian Council

 

 

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GRANDMOTHER MAKA NUPA L. COTA SPEAKS

March 2011

 

 

 

 

Moon Song

By Maka Nupa L Cota

 

 

 

The night was fast slipping away and my mind still filled with the days activities would not sleep.


I lay there in my bed watching the sky through the high windows. I can just see the tops of the tree lines across the hill clearly.


Soon I see what appears to be many lights flashing through the still bare tree branches. I pull back the curtain to watch the rising of the moon. My smallest grand daughter Kelsey loves to watch the moon. She is not yet three but definitely  a young person to be reckoned with.


When the moon is full she often stands on those strong little chubby legs and stares out the window into the night sky and watches the moon slip across the horizon.


She sings the moon song I have shared with her. I hold her and tell her of long ago times in her small ear.  She is quiet and watchful as the moon hides its face in clouds always appearing again.


For three years of age, her use of words in full sentences is amazing.

 

She said one night,  "Grammy, if we sing to the moon will she stay for a long time with us?" 

 

I answer her,  "yes as long as you love and respect her as she loves us, she will stay." 

 

In her soft baby whisper she said, "Grammy where does the moon go when the sun is here?"

 

Again as in our ways we answer the questions of our children fully. I told her that the moon only appears to fall into the land but really just slips into the arms of  the Mother Earth to rest for the day. She sits quiet for a while and thinks about this. I know some day she will do some good and helpful things for the people.  For now she must learn many wonderful things to help her in life. 

 

I will be there I know in spirit when she grows up,  but would love to be there in person to see this happen. For now all I can do is teach her and help her understand the ways of the Great Mystery. The serious look in her eyes that speaks well beyond her years. The strong little body that will take her to many wonderful places in her life time, are now in my arms to hold. I am filled with the wonder of Creator and all the blessings that we humans have been given. I hear the words Moon Song in my mind and know that soon I will gift her this name.

 

Many thoughts fill my head of times before in my own land. I fly back in time, and am sitting on the canyon wall  while we lit the bonding fires to signal yet another winter's passing. We lit the fires along the canyons and valley  to signal our friends and neighbors that we were well and all accounted.


Rolled in our blankets we slept by the fire and waited out the night, In the morning we would have pancakes with hot syrup,  and bacon,  cooked on the still hot coals of the fire. I still can smell the coffee boiling and hear the sizzle of the bacon as my mother sit on her knees cooking by the open fire.


She would scrape the coals under the big iron griddle and make the pancakes while the family went down to the creek to wash up.
 

All that faded into my mind as the wind picks up making a low moaning noise around the corner of the house. Smoke from the wood stove drifts down and about my open bed room window. I love the smell of the smoke and fresh air the enter my room. It make my earlier thoughts of the canyons even more real and close to my heart.
 

I have always slept with the window open all night long no matter what the weather. The call of night birds and insects helps me to stay connected to the Earth Mother.
 

Tonight this same open window gives me a view of the moon rising through the trees.
 

It gathers into one large round gold ball and proceeds to slip through the clouds. The color of the clouds become grays and gold, with hints of pink on the bottoms. In and out of the clouds the moon plays like she was at the ocean running in between the waves.
 

How fast she climbs once free of the clouds and is up above the house away from my view.
 

The clouds keep the light from casting the shadows of the trees on the ground. I love the pattern that they make when this happens. It creates one very well connected spiders web across the Earth.
 

The sharp cry of a night bird or perhaps a frog is heard in the clear cold night air. I have not heard the peepers yet here but in many other places they are out singing and heralding the beginning of spring.
 

We always listened for the little pond frogs to awaken and sing. When this happened we all knew that the smelts were running in the rivers.
 

With long handled nets,  buckets,  and rubber boots we came on the nights in the full moon to net the little fish.
 

We sit in our cars with hot coffee and sandwiches waiting for the right time.  Soon the person who is near the water calls out that the smelt are running.
 

We all scramble from out cars and trucks being careful on the muddy slopes of the river banks.
 

You need no flash lights or lanterns when the moon is full to find the path to the river.
 

From the mouth of the river that meets the ocean the small shinny fish called smelt come running to spawn in the creeks and small water ways. They are shiny in the light of the moon and fill the creeks and river with threads of light. Thousands of them so thick that one scoop of the net usually yields your total limit for the night.
 

There are several kind of smelts the needle smelts the regular smelts and then the ocean smelts that are more like a large sardine.
 

Soon we have our buckets full and pile back into the truck and proceed to warm up with more coffee.

 

Off we go in the light of the moon home to clean and cook the fish. It takes hours of work to clean them but well worth the effort.  This is one of the Maine honored and well kept traditions by the real fisherman and women.
 

These fish are no bigger than a small sardine. When they are rolled in a bit of flour and corn meal seasoned with salt and pepper and fried whole, they are delicious.
 

The traditional way is to be served up with a mess of fiddle head greens and some boiled Maine potatoes.
 

When you sit down to eat this  you have a feast fit for a King and Queen.
 

Now with all the game regulations few people go out to net these little fish. If we allow the rules and laws to take away this we will lose the very essence of Maine living.

I fully intend to brave the changes and keep the tradition for my grand children to enjoy.
 

Soon the land will thaw and the blue berries will appear along with wild and sweet strawberries. I know of sand pits that are still filled with black berries that my babies will enjoy picking.
 

Gleaning from Mother Earth is our heritage and our rights as human beings.
 

This year where ever you are enjoy the abundance that the Earth provides. These are the true treasures and the memories we make to hand down to be kept generations from now.
 

Blessings and love to all who seek

 

 

Maka Nupa L Cota, Copyright (C) 2011 by Maka Nupa  L. Cota  All publication rights reserved.

 

 


 

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