and sharing thoughts.
Little Sam is old. He no longer runs to the door to greet visitors, or gets excited when it's time for a walk. When Jack or I sit down, he sees a lap to sit on and comes to be held.
Today, I carried him when I took Buck the Pomeranian for a walk. Little Sam took a few
steps then sat down to rest. He's tired.
I brought him home and gave him a new pillow beside my desk where he promptly went to sleep. That was an hour ago and he's still sleeping. I didn't have to tell him to go away and let me work. He didn't bring the toy bunny he stole from one of the babies in the family and try to make me play with him.
Little Sam likes chicken, so he gets as much as he wants. Last night, he couldn't sleep, so we came down stairs and listened to music while he sat on my lap.We won't be going on trips for awhile because Little Sam isn't up to traveling and we wouldn't dream of leaving him alone at this stage of his life. He's not as cute as he used to be, his hair isn't silky and he's no fun at all since he lost interest in everything.
This old dog is a handful to take care of but we'll do our best to keep him happy and comfortable as long as we can, and miss him like crazy when he crosses the rainbow bridge.
Sometimes, your heart breaks when you love a dog.
We expected to loose Little Sam, but it still came as a shock. He went to sleep in Jack's arms while I was out of town last week. We take comfort in knowing we gave him all the love a dog could handle and all the fun he could stand. He loved going to the beach in the evening when he and Buck could run free without leashes. You would think a prissy little Maltese would be fastidious, but not Sammy. He had a gift for finding the smelliest thing the tide washed up and rolling in it. I think he liked getting showered off outside by the pool.
Later, I'll update my status on this site. Now it's just Jack, Buck, and me, but I don't want to take Little Sam's photo off yet. He's still with us in spirit.
Thanks for spending 13 good years with our family. You were a good dog, Sammy.
11,000 years. The history of a Homeland.
I listened to the elders tell their stories and hung on every word. I believed, because they believed. Animals spoke to people, guardian beings walked among us, the invisible, immortal Nunne’hi lived beside us in lands beyond hidden portals. Everybody knew someone who had seen them, perhaps even entered their world. When storytellers pointed out landmarks where events in the legends occurred, it removed any shred of doubt.
11,000 years of history linked my mother’s people to the mountains and rivers of our homeland. Perhaps it’s that history that draws me home. Long after the grandparents and relatives I used to visit are gone, I return and feel at home.
The longing to stand in the mother town, the first home of the ancestors, where the Kitowah lived and the sacred fire burned, was part of my consciousness from earliest childhood. Thousands of years, it stood in the bend of the river, a place of pilgrimage, where the wisdom keepers preserved the stories, songs, and sacred ways for generations yet to come. Holy people kept the fire of unity and harmony alive. A few embers carried home, took the essence of that sacred place to other towns and united them as one people.
I couldn’t visit the mother town. No one knew where to find it. The homeland of the Cherokee people fell to outsiders who destroyed it and scattered the Kitowah. With the removal and Trail of Tears, the location faded from memory and only the story and the yearning for home remained.
A field beside a much traveled highway, yielded the first clue with the discovery of ancient bones. Evidence of habitation emerged and archaeology proved the legends true. Now, the Eastern Band Cherokee own the site and it is possible to make that pilgrimage and stand on the mound where the sacred fire burned.
I wrote Twisted Hair before I knew the location of the mother town. I had only the memories of stories told at night around the fire, to fuel my imagination, but the town came to life when I wrote about it. Standing on the mound, kindling my own fire on the site of the ancient sacred fire, completed a circle for me.
In a few days, I will return to Sha cona gee, where the mountains are covered with smoke, and begin the first stages of preparation for a documentary about the mother town and the 11,000 years of history and the people who lived it. I’ll keep you posted about how it goes.
Coming next, Of things to come. Prophecies fulfilled, and those we’re waiting for.
With the death of the little children in Connecticut, I considered their surviving friends and siblings and remembered how I felt when I was a small child, and my little brother died.
I've been many things in my life and if I'm lucky I hope to become many more things before I leave the world. Today, I'm a priest, an author, a literary agent, and mentor among other things. This page will contain my thoughts and on any given day, it might reflect any of those identities.