By Maka Nupa L. Cota
morning came full of warmth and sun. The trees recently so filled
with the burden of snow, dance in the wind free again. Birds come to
share the food that is hung out for them to enjoy. The day fills
with sound as the many animals and birds lift their voices
to welcome the sun.
When we have grown weary of life and all that it brings Creator will
always give us a space to rest and grow strong again.
Today I must make my self do some thing creative. For months my life
has been one of transition and change.
Today I will make the first square of my memory quilt. Opening my
trunk of fabric I look at the array of colors to choose from. The
green shines out from the corner of the heap of cloth. It brings me
thoughts of summer and flowers growing, warm sun and things full
The blues in many shades know that they are my favorite, and beg to
be seen. I recall ocean and sky that all reflects freedom and cool
places to sit and rest.
Reds, yellows, and orange, fill my mind with summer days, and warm
fires burning to hold off the cold fingers of winter.
Too soon I know the weather will change and once again the cold will
drive us all inside.
Like an old bear in winter, I desire only to be quiet and sleep.
Today I will make my choice of these fabrics and create my small
token to the quilt of tears. It is long past due and needs to be
honored so this day is my beginning. This will be my robe that will
be wrapped around me as I make my spirit walk. I do not
need to hurry as there is much time before it will be finished.
All the memories of my family and loved ones will be here in this
quilt, for me to hold close on the long sleep of the cold silent
all these colors to choose from, I see a small square of pure white
sticking out from under hundreds of fabric scraps. For some reason
my hand reaches out and pulls it free of the pile.
The piece of fabric so pure, white and innocent rests in my hands. I
feel the softness of the fibers and let it slip through my fingers.
My mind races in the confines of this world seeking insight and
Pulling out my sewing basket and finding a quiet sunny place to work
I sit with the square and let my mind wonder. Within a heart beat my
mind has flown off into another land and time.
Lately nothing seems real, I seem to be floating above this Earth,
my life not touching or feeling. Days come and go and all that once
seemed important fades into yet another day with nothing
accomplished. Perhaps it is limbo or just the need to rest and
regain my strength and purpose.
I look at the white and think of my little brother and of Lynn and
thousands of others who suffer and died from the wars. I think of
all those young men and women who will suffer from the war still
How do I put all that I want to be remembered on one small square of
It seems over whelming for such a small project.
instead of thinking of the reason for the square I think of the
people who I love and want to remember. I think of all my friends
who were taken off to war. They deserve to be remembered in this
I think of my little brother, and what he must have suffered in
silence. What was locked in his mind when he made his spirit walk
two years ago from cancer and Agent Orange. It seems like yesterday
we rode our horses and I can still see his smile and hear his laugh.
His soul was gentle and kin, not full of the anger and rage that
later closed him into the silent tomb of despair.
Names faces and memories full my mind and Lynn sits in the shadows
nodding his head and saying, "don't stop, go on, go on." I see his
gentle loving smile and hear his laugh floating out of the silence.
How my heart misses him, more now than ever.
Threading my needle with black to represent the POW's.
All those men who were forgotten by this Government and never
I start my stitching slow and small the needle goes in and out of
the white like writing on the snow.
I do not think of what I am making but just let it find its own
I see an outline of an arrow head forming on the once clear white
square. Changing my thread to brown the shaft starts to form. In the
middle of stitching the shaft my thread breaks and I must re-thread
The reconnection creates a small break in the shaft making it appear
as if it were broken on purpose. I do not try to repair this but let
it stay as a broken arrow shaft.
Behind the arrow I start to shape an eagle feather for all of the
warriors who gave their lives in the war. I feel that the feather
must be hanging down to represent a fallen warrior. As I was
finishing the last of the feather my needle slipped and pierced my
finger. Before I knew it my blood soaked into the piece of fabric.
It created a large spot just on the end of the eagle feather. The
tip feather appeared to be dripping blood.
I watched as the blood soaked into the cloth and did not try to stop
it. For some reason it felt right and finished the message that
needed to be sent.
The broken arrow represents an end to fighting and war. The eagle
feather honored the men and women who died from the war and war
The spot of blood is in honor of all that is sacred on this Earth.
It represents the blood of all women who gave life, and who also
suffer from the loss of their sons, fathers, brothers, husbands,
sisters, daughters, mothers, relation and loved ones.
I sit for a while and made my prayer of gratitude to Creator for
The words come now more often from the spirits. The shield fades
between this world and the spirit world. Today as I pray I hear loud
and strong these words.
All that touches one on this Earth and in the hoop of life, touches
us all. For you cannot remove a grain of sand without disturbing
Mother Earth and all that holds her in peace.
If one living thing dies we will all feel the effects of the loss.
As keepers of this Earth we all are responsible for the well being
and healing of all things. Hold them sacred and hold them in honor
do not forget you are a Human Being.
Love, Maka Nupa L. Cota