Welcome to all my relations as I call to the Sacred Winds to carry my words, to the Grandmothers and Grandfathers of all Directions. I ask that in this time and space, you allow me to speak with the Wisdom’s and Knowledge of the old ways. Allow your stories and the lessons that they bring to be taught for those who need to hear. I honor you and thank you for answering the call… aho
Good day to you all. I invite you to get comfortable and take a walk with a bear. Today we speak of stories and legends that have been passed down through time.
Legends are stories about people …a place…or sometimes even an animal that is created to explain an event or occurrence so that it may be passed down to other generations as a lesson or record. Most are spun in fiction, not entirely true…however the mere fact that a legend is passed from one generation to the next has a sense of mystery and magic.
So with that in mind, I tell you a story that was passed to me, throughout the generations.
It is the Story of Sleeping Bear Dunes…
Before time was time, before man walked the forests, there was a mighty lake. Its vastness spread across the shores, untouched raw beauty as it’s waves tickled the ever stretching forests. Wildlife was plentiful and the nights stretched as the day was long.
In one such forest close to the edge of the Great Lake, lived a Mother Bear. Her coat was dense and thick …colored blacker than the night. She had large soft eyes that showed pure joy as she watched her two young cubs frolic and play. The little family lived a life among the wildflowers and green pastures and forests, along the shoreline of this Great lake.
Every morning they were awakened by nature’s choir that stirred as Father Sun rose to the sky to greet the day. Their daily travels took them throughout the forests, meadows and the rich streams that flowed over the Great Mother. Stopping only to acknowledge the gentle deer that crossed the path. Mother bear would stop and encourage her young cubs to play in the water, and then to be ever so patient as to reach in and grab a fish as it shimmered in the stream for lunch. Always thanking and honoring the great circle of life, and only taking what was needed for the day. She taught them well. When they would finish it was time to nap in the lazy afternoons, and just enjoy Father Sun’s warmth on their shoulders.
After waking from a long and restful nap they would stroll along the long shoreline of the Great Lake, that had no beginning and had no end…playing in the waves as they cascaded over the sandy beaches. Learning to simply be, and connecting with each other and the very life around them. Then as the long days would draw to a close, the Mother bear would gather the cubs and take them back to the cave for a night of rest. Lying in a nurturing mother’s embrace, they would gently fall asleep.
One afternoon as they were about themselves, a storm rolled in. The thunder was deafening and the lightning was bold. Mother bear stood up looking around her and sniffing at the air. A nervous tension settled in as the silence was broken for the sounds of crackling and the dark sky turned to a fiery glow. Fire!
She felt a surge of panic, grabbing her small cubs and urging them to hurry they headed towards the Great lake. Running alongside them were the wolves, the deer and all the forest dwellers all heading the same way…
Diving to the water she called to the cubs to follow. Urging them deeper, to save them she guided them to the other side. They followed their Mother without question, the waves that washed over them were strong and cold. Looking back she saw she was loosing sight of them, continually calling out to them, so they would follow Her through the wind and waves. All through the night they swam…yet they were falling farther and farther behind. Mother bear was worried.
Night time fell upon them. The sky was dark and glittered with stars and the light from Sister Moon, and still she swam on…listening to the night sounds of howling wolves, the cry of the night owls, all urging her to continue. Mother bear kept looking back, and her eyes grew weary as Father Sun began once again to rise across the sky…
Looking back once more to see her cubs, she realized they were no longer there. She came upon the shore and collapsed into the soft sands. The land seemed strange to her as she placed her weary wet paws into it. There were hills that rolled forever and sand all around. After resting a short while she began to pace along the surf, looking out towards the water for her cubs. Crying out in a roar as her eyes filled with tears.
Calling to the cubs pacing …pacing…she climbed to the top of the highest hill and looked out over the water that was deep and dark, yet there was no sign of her cubs.
She let out a cry again, calling to them …echoing out over the waters dark deep blanket.
Mother bear sat and waited…she watched Father Sun come and go as the seasons passed and the flowers bloomed…she sat and watched, as the swallows nested and then taught their young to fly. She sat and waited as the Sweet Grass grew green and turned to the golden colors of the fall…
She waited and watched while the leaves fell from the trees and the air grew cold bringing with it the white blanket of snow that caused all to rest. She watched and waited, but her cubs never reached the shore. Soon she fell fast asleep in a slumber of sorrow…
Years passed by and the Great lake gently blew over her caressing her and keeping her warm with blankets of sand while she slept in that slumber. And in time the Great Mother felt her sadness as her own. Realizing the Mother bear’s great love for her cubs. In honor of that Love the Great Mother called upon the Sacred Winds to bring the cubs near the shore, raising them from within the depths to create two islands full of beauty and lushness, placing them forever within the watchful eyes of their Mother Bear.
The cubs stand to this day, time where there is no time as the North and South Manitou Islands. Happy to be near their Mother once again, they stand in tribute to their Mother bears love. With the shimmering water shining while Father Sun looks down upon them with pride.
I am Dedicated to Educating and sharing the Native culture with the World. It is not enough merely to teach the ways of our Elders. We must honor those traditions by sharing and educating the World. Inspiring others …Inspiring our Youth.
Through the Music… the Arts…the stories…
One Who Sees performed by Award Winning Pow Wow Group Bear Creek from their XI CD available at http://canyonrecords.com/shop/