Fire-Keeper

The dancers had long gone to sleep after a day of dancing under the hot Sun. It was the time of ceremony and they had given much of themselves that day.

He sat there looking into the fire that had been burning continuously for the last 2 days. His eyes watched the sparks fly up into the night to become one of the stars, and he drifted away.

They were standing at the edges of the light. dressed in the old ways. their bodies were small in size but they held themselves in a very quiet dignity and motioned for him to come over. He was the fire-keeper and he hesitated because he did not want the fire to go out.

The other fire-keepers were catching some rest in the nearby tent and it was his turn to watch the fire.
Still,… they called him. He looked around once more and walked over to them, careful to not offend anything because he knew something holy had come to visit him. Two of them reached out and he grabbed their hands. They walked away from the fire into the darkness.

The sun was rising and the animals were getting ready to go to the Sundance as well. The deer were excited and the elk were primping themselves. It was their love medicine that made people find the love they were missing.

The bears yawned at the early mist and stretched out only to lay down again. They will be ready when the time comes.

No words came out of their mouths but he understood everything they were saying to him.
“These dancers are nervous about today,” the otter chief said.
The other animals all nodded in agreement.

The frogs said: “I am glad they are trying hard to honour us. the world is changing – and it is making our skin become tender. One day they will need our help to make the water sacred again.”
Some animals disagreed.

The Buffalo Nation spoke the loudest.
We should be kind to them still. They don’t know much of the way it use to be. We were coming and the sound of our pounding hooves will make the earth shake. It will wake them up. We are getting closer to them. They have almost forgot about us – but these ones are trying to remember.”
This man is looking after them. We know who he is. He was one of us at one time.
The eagles cried out.
All the animals looked at him and smiled.

The Horse Nation jumped up and said: “We will carry him on our backs. We are proud of him. He treated us well when he was growing up.”
The Otter was watching all of this and stood up and said: “Yes, we remember him. He was one of us before.”
“We should open his heart once more so he can live a full life before he comes back to us. He has been missing love his whole life. He has been patient and good.”
Again they nodded.
“Send him back to his life. It is not time for him to join us.”
“These tobacco offerings that the people made will be the gift we will use.”
“Tell them to dance without fear today. We will be there watching them sacrifice and we will give them love.”
They started to paint their bodies and he turned around to go back to the fire.

The fire was smaller than it was before but it was was burning as gently as his grandmother used to stoke his hair when he was little boy while singing songs to him.
He wished he could see her again.
“No, not yet,” a voice said to him.
“She is not ready.”
It was time to load up the rocks for the morning sweat.
The stars were singing songs to him and he got ready.

(Dec 6, 2013)

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