Saturday, March 11, 2006

Gentle Winds
by Sharmagne Leland-St.John
November 4, 2000

The wind sang old songs. The leaves and branches
of the black walnut trees quivered, ever so slightly,
as they listened in silence.
"I have been dreaming of the ranch all day," she said,
as he stood, gazing out the window.
He turned to her and said, "Yes, I know now I have
no Cherokee blood, only the merest trickle of Tsalagi."
Yet, a trickle of Tsalagi is still Cherokee blood, she
thought, pulling her shawl closer around her thin
shoulders. But, she said nothing.
"You must be beautiful when you're dreaming,"
he said, as he searched herface. "I can easily
imagine that.."
She sat quietly in the burgundy, Queen Anne chair,
wrapped in her red and blue peyote shawl with her
moccasined feet tucked under her.
She closed her eyes for a moment and said, "In my
minds eye I'm loading my easel and my paints into
the truck, and I'm driving through Onyx and Cottage
Grove. Country Western and Native American music
wafts out onto a gentle breeze through the sun
roof." As she said this, the sound of Walela, singing
'Amazing Grace' in Tsalagi, welled up in her ears and
in her heart.
"Ummmm, lovely picture," he said, not even imagining
where her thoughts had taken her.
"You can almost see the quarter notes and the eighth
notes hanging on the air and catching in the tangle
of cottonwood trees along the roadside above the
singing river," she continued.
He smiled and asked, "What is the smell?"
Not missing a beat, she answered, "Ceremonial sage,"
thinking he meant the scent inside the truck. He
couldn't have known she always burned sage in an
abalone shell on the dashboard before starting off
on long journeys.
"I thought pine, but then, you mentioned cottonwood.
Ohhhh.... Sage... Yes," he murmured. "And the cemetery?"
"Yes, I would stop to visit the small cemetery at Cottage
Grove as I always do. I would plant sprigs of rosemary
on the tiny graves and try to puzzle why there are so
many babies named Powers, buried there all in a row,
but no adults with that family name...from the turn of
the last century... all those babies. Babies sleeping side
by side. Sisters and brothers sleeping side by side.
Some died even before their siblings were born. Or
cousins maybe. Some knew each other only in death.
Never in life. Yes, I would plant sprigs of rosemary
for remembrance."
"Strange," he interjected.
"Yes, well, life is strange, and we are all strangers
to each other," she said, rising to go up the 2 flights
of stairs to the kitchen to brew a cup of
Cherokee Winter Tea.

The recipe for this flavourful and aromatic tea:

To one gallon of rain water add:

10 whole cardamon seeds
10 whole black pepper corns
10 whole cloves
2 sticks of cinnamon
2 bay laurel leaves

Boil for 20 minutes.
Add a few drops of pure maple syrup to each cup for sweetener.


Blogger Pat Paulk said...

Sharmagne, as always a spectacular write!!

4:28 AM  
Blogger its_baxter said...

this was very nice :)

8:09 PM  
Blogger Sharmagne Leland-St. John said...

Hey!! Thanks you two!

9:08 AM  

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