Photo of a Plains Indian in 1876 – the time of my story
“Runnin’ bear loved little white dove with a love big as the sky
Runnin’ bear loved little white dove with a love that couldn’t die”
Saturday morning, present time: In the midst of all the clatter, chatter and noise of the busy cafe, Lucky stares out his rain-struck window, closes his eyes and drifts into a daydream:
Late June, 1876
Grandfather Wolf Eyes adds chaparral, and his best tobacco, to the fire. Sparks and embers rise up like tiny stars in the darkened tipi. Settling on his buffalo blanket, bare-chested on this humid night, he closes his eyes and asks for a vision of his godson Two Crows.
In the open prairie, silhouetted by a full moon, he sees Two Crows hunched over, his stomach on the horse’s bare back. It takes all the warrior’s willpower to not fall off; to keep riding. Grandfather knows, the way a seer knows, that Two Crows will make it here this very night. Seeing the hawk in the sky above, he is reassured.
Wolf Eyes stands up and walks to the neighboring tipi of Sits-in-the-Sun, the woman who feeds him, and asks her to summon White Feather; to be ready to help her husband, who had been shot. Two Crows would be near death, after riding several days from the Crow territory. White Feather cries in fear and in joy, that she will soon be seeing her beloved.
Its past midnight when Two Crows arrives, just as Grandfather foresaw. He was smart enough to wear black moccasins, to be recognized as a Blackfeet. The two night guards carry him to the tipi of a deceased warrior where Sits-in-the-Sun and White Feather are waiting. They gently lie him on soft buffalo skins, give him water, mashed yampa root to swallow and herbs for his fever. They painstakingly remove the bullet and place poultices on the open wound. All the while they cry, chant and pray for his recovery.
White Feather spends the rest of the night lying at his side, her hand on his heart, visualizing him with the great health she has always known.
Grandfather, alone in his tipi, chants until dawn, also sending healing energy to his godson.
Morning arrives and the two women continue nursing the unconscious man. They drape wet cloth over his hot fevered body, smudging him with sage and other herbal smoke, continually lifting his head to make him drink. While he remains unconscious, White Feather wonders how he found the village. In the past five years they have moved many times, far away from anyone, now hidden in the forested curve of a river. She wishes he would wake up. She has many questions to ask her husband, and much love to give.
“You are strong, Two Crows. Today you will wake up so we can embrace. I have waited five long years for you to come home,” she whispers in his ear before she leaves the tipi for her morning meal. “Please wake up.”
Grandfather enters and sits at his godson’s side after she leaves. He fondly remembers when Two Crows and White Feather played together as children. They were best friends, until he was captured by the Crow at seven. He returned as a grown man, they married, and he left again, feeling obligated to his fellow Crows scouts. His returning, nearly dead yet alive, is the answer to not only White Feathers undying prayers, but his. He will finally teach Two Crows the way of the High Pony.