Manataka American Indian Council
Strange as how we need to identify things by naming them. I never could understand the need to name Hurricanes with human names when they are far from human.
Along the coast of Maine we at times got the aftermath or ends of some tropical storms. They would be described as touching down or coming inland. We seldom actually got a full blown hurricane so we did not pay much attention to the weather man. The fishermen on the other hand heeded the warnings for high seas that would be in effect during such storms.
On this particular morning I woke up and felt the heaviness in the air that had not been there last night. All morning as I went about getting morning chores done I felt this sense of expectation. My husband use to think me quite out of my mind when I would batten down the hatches after a storm warning; I felt it better to be prepared then not.
We would draw water into big pots for cooking drinking and washing. We usually filled the bathtub with water and made sure we were supplied with plenty of lamps and candles also the cooking stove or wood supplies put inside. We always made sure we had packed a back pack in case of an emergency evacuation. Also food for such a move was loaded into the old truck.
I mostly lived in wilderness places where you never left home without a good warm blanket, extra clothes, food and supplies for break down in your truck. You dressed for the weather and covered all emergency needs. The elements are powerful and most people who live close to the earth respect them.
After we had secured the emergency supplies, we would go out in the yard and see that all lose items were latched down or put away so that they would not fly up and hit a window or cause other damage. My kids helped me with this work and it was no time before we were zipped up and ready.
Bikes went into sheds and lawn mowers put away all flying objects were under wraps so to speak. My husband would only shake his head and go off to work or ignore me and my efforts at storm preparation. This particular storm was called Bob, such an every day name for what turned out to be a terrible storm.
That morning as I said we made preparations for this storm to touch inland. Needless to say my husband did not share my Native ways and thought that they were a bit much. In later years he came to open his eyes to some things, but still held out his own private thoughts.
The air was heavy and still that morning, as I went out and made my tobacco tie offerings to the land and the storm. I offered tobacco to the four directions of my land and tied prayer ties in the old maple trees that lined the property. As I was making the prayers the sky got all yellow and gray. The birds were suddenly silent and nothing moved, not even the leaves on the trees.
Later that day the storm made land fall and the winds swept the coastal area. From my living room window I watched as the trees across the street were bent nearly double and snapped like match sticks. Many things were destroyed that night from the powerful wind and rain that hit our area. The electricity went out and it grew dark, still the wind howled for hours more. I lay down fully clothed on my bed and tried to get some sleep. I must have finally fallen asleep because I did not hear a sound.
I got up at 5am and went out into the yard to see what damage had been done to the land. I saw no trees down on my land but many bent and broken smaller ones across the street. Mostly the pines were uprooted and tipped over leaving their roots pointed to the sky.
When I looked across the street from my front yard was when I saw the clear cut pass to the River Road. It was about 100 feet wide and reached down the hill a quarter of a mile, all the way to the River road the ran from Westbrook to Windham. At first I had to look twice to understand the amount of damage and the distance between me and the clearing.
The storm had crossed the river behind the house and taken out some others trees and damaged property. Then it jumped over my house and land and took cut this pass that was directly opposite my house only 20 yards from my front door. The huge old maple , oak and pines were twisted and splintered, it was as if some huge hand had ripped them up carelessly and tossed them to the side. The power of such a wind must have been at least 100 miles an hour to have caused such damage. I had no knowledge of this as my family slept safely only a few yards from the devastation.
Our land was the only land in the neighbor hood that had no damaged trees or buildings. We were spared this and were certainly grateful for the Creators hand that protected us all.
We made breakfast and prayed for others who were less fortunate then we went door to door and offered to help anyone who needed it. We made pots of food and fed the ones who were not able to cook or did not prepare for such a emergency. We helped cut trees and tarp roofs that were damaged.
We powered up the generator and finally saw on TV what this mildly named storm had done to the East coast line. It was devastating and was considered a disaster area for a while.
As for us we thanked Creator for protecting the land and saving the trees around us. To this day it is a mystery how the storm jumped that area and landed across the road. I question nothing that Creator does in this life only give thanks and offer prayers.
After that some of my family who had thought me a bit daft in my ways found more understanding. Perhaps we want to believe in the power of prayer or ritual but we fear the reprisals from others. Never let judgment from others stops you from believing in the way you pray or offer prayers. Look around you and see that we are so connected to this earth and all that lives or grows here. This knowing or feeling of the land will help you to survive if you only listen. Yes you will be shaken, but you will survive all things if you focus and keep your connection with the Earth.
The ability to see and understand is between you and your Creator, the thread or reed must always be connected to the sacred Tree of Life. We must have an open hollow reed in order to live a good and full life.
Love and blessings. Waynonaha
Waynonaha Two Worlds. Copyright (c) 2006 by Waynonaha Two Worlds. All publication rights reserved.
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