The River & I: We Are Hard Stories 2 Tell But We Tell Them Anyway

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She is a hard story to tell. Her & I have that in common. We both have stories that have to wrestle themselves off tongue. Stories that wrench themselves from bone. Stories that are summoned from deep places that do not have names.
*
I wept by her side today. Body bent over like a young tree under the winters weight of snow. Ready to snap. My weight invisible. I wept into her waters. I was crying for her. I was crying for me. The tears combined into a rolling growing snowball until the tears were for both of us.
We have survived so much my girl.
Men have continually tried to break us.
Our bodies exploited & reshaped by greed and violence.
We are still here.
I wept. The snowball grew larger. I wept for my mama. Mama. Body invaded by cancer. Hair loss. Body betrayal. Mouth sores. Blood. Chemotherapy. I wept.
I am terrified of losing both the river and my mama.
I weep for them both.
They are what keep me whole.
I cannot lose them both.
Lifegivers.
The snowball grows larger. Women. I weep for our women. The violence and loss. The loss and the violence. The women plucked from family trees to soon. My tears are an avalanche. The grief all comes together at once.
The women. The land. The water. Mama. Me.
We are all alike.
I let her take my tears away from me. I am bent but not broken. I give everything I am carrying to her waters. I give everything until I am empty again.
My eye catches the eagle that was watching over me flying away across the river. My grief work here is done. I have no choice but to trust. No choice but to give my grief to the river and give the eagle my prayers to carry up for me.
I let go.
*
I sit and listen to her water tickle the ice. The sweet songs she makes. I reach down and touch the rocks that lay just beneath her cold trickling lip. I tell them hello. They will be under a reservoir. I know they are old and have long memories. I tell them hello. I tell them I will remember them. I am trying to commit her and them all to memory. I am a living record of things living and lost.
A couple of hundred yards away the machines are going. The places I have made memories in with my family are gone. The trails we navigated and some of the spaces we gathered medicine for protection in are no more. The machines across the road are piling the bodies of trees.
My brother brought me here to see. I feared it. I wrestled with coming. We are both hard stories. Someone has to witness our stories. I tell her I will be there with her through this. I will see her and love her through this. My brother is there to hold me up when my body threatens to collapse.
I feel crazy. I am the black bear in the Calgary zoo that lost its mind. Pacing. Incoherent. Of no mind or too much mind. Grandma watched the bear for some time. Talked out loud to it. Grandma was so sad for the bear. She did not want to leave the bear behind. I am a crazy bear living from a sense of loss of place. I am a sad Grandma watching the aftermath.
Yetchay kay nusgee. I remember things from long ago.
I am responsible for memory. Even when it is hard. Even when it hurts.
*
The river and I are alike.
We will go on no matter man attempt is to tame us.
We are wild and unruly and full of memory.
The river and I are hard stories to tell.
The river and I tell them anyways.
The river and I are full of unconditional love.
This is our greatest downfall and our largest strength.

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