The moment the visiting Elder arrives:
It won’t be on that mountaintop. He will arrive at your home because you gave him your address. He lives in the city now. He is left behind his mossy homeland not because he wanted to but because he knew it was what he needed to do. He will share stories about hunting. You will look together out at the parking lot in the front. You will know that your dreams of different places. Of swirly water. Of rock beds and volcanic deep black colours and veins in granite. Of turquoise. The sound of waving winds reckon that fall seasons is upon us and deep within you both know, there is grief. But reconciling the grief comes with a new form of sharing knowledge of the past.
What you were doing before
You had a moment to your self. You felt, it was time, to look at yourself in the mirror. You hadn’t done it for a long time. You’ve found a long white hair and pulled it out. Then the Elder arrives. You are shocked to see the visitor and you are happy as well. Your kitchen bares a truth too. A story about hard work, of busy mornings. The flowers on your table show that you love your family. Your little altar of plants will listen too. On the table, your books don’t matter anymore. Its time to leave it all the way it is, and to listen.
He will tell you stories. He will share the sad ones another day. You will listen. You have offered one cup of tea in your huge Starbucks cup. Remember to listen. The answers and stories he will give will offer clues, to your feelings, your queries. To your knowledge. Don’t worry too much about your truths at the time. There are bigger messages here. It is time to listen. We all know about how reconciling looks like, or do we? Is our generation prepared to hear the stories. How will we facilitate that knowledge sharing? Will we leave it up to those of the families who may have had a role in those who took our children barehanded. The RCMP. The Priests. Our grandparents crying. Generations of tears.
The children being taken by boat as there were no roads. Imagining that removal. How the removal of children is related to the Land Connection piece. How the removal of children from the Land meant a removal of the spirit of the people. Yet we are still here. We may not always ask the questions the way we think we should. But the story is continuing to reveal itself.
Language of sharing
And his sharing becomes that definition of the story that hugely shapes and gives a place to your understanding of feelings.
When we talk with our Elders, we know that they hold the stories that make up why we feel the way we do, what we value.
The reason for being, questioning, knowing. The reason for being there. The reason to always keep going.
You are building community. You are learning more about the shift.
What will he look like
He will be there, wearing a black cap. A matching black coat. He may have a cane, or two black dogs balancing him on either side. You know its Mishomis time. There are stories to tell. There are reasons for being. There are truths and fires that will need to rebuild new knowledges.