Chaordia - A Novel of Transformation Ch. 8

By Sisyphus

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Tags: mysterious, atlantis, climate change, conflict, transformation

Added: 20 Jan 2016 Views: 838 Avg Score: 0

Because of climate change a man wants to transform an old farm into a new colony in Vermont

Sun Dancer led us back to the farm on a narrow, well worn and clearedpath that was much easier than the way we had walked before. "This is the way we go to visit our ancestors who are buried near the river,” he said. “Remember this way when you return tomorrow."

When we reached the bottom of the hill, he took two strips of leather out of a small pouch he carried and tied them to a branch, so we would know where to enter. The sun was just setting over a distant hill, and a few large pink clouds, hovering above the trees, made the farm glow like a wonderland. The loud chirping of birds made Sun Dancer stop and hold up his hand for us to be still. "Listen, the birds are happy tonight."

I wondered what he meant when he said, "tonight." I wanted to ask him, "Aren’t they happy every night," but didn’t. Tammy carried a basket filled with at least ten ears of corn, many long green beans, one large brown squash, and Alice had a basket filled with red apples, small pears and walnuts that would have to be cracked open with a rock or something.

Sun Dancer left us by the stone wall and said he had to get back before it got too dark. Before he left, he turned to Glenn. "Thank you for agreeing to meet with my grandfather again. I know he is upset that you are here, but he is wise and has visions."

"I have visions, too," Glenn said. "And that’s why I am here on my grandparent’s farm."

Sun Dancer nodded as we stood by the stone wall, then started to walk away. After a few steps up the hill, he looked back at Glenn, "Patience, my friend, patience."

We were silent as we watched him walk up the hill and disappear into the woods. We continued through the waist high grass in the pasture, past the barn and stonewall surrounding the barnyard, then to the rocks and smoldering ashes of our fire. Fortunately, there were a few logs and twigs for kindling and Glenn got the fire going, while Alice and I took off to gather more wood. Tammy and my dad were shucking the corn. Once the fire was blazing, Glenn cut open the squash, which I could see wasn’t easy because the shell was so hard. It was getting chilly and difficult to see by the time we got a big fire going.

It took awhile to boil a pot of water on the fire and cook the corn and orange chunks of squash. I was really hungry and ate two apples while I was waiting, and Alice put two pears in her jacket pocket. We both gathered an armload of wood and walked back to the cabin to get a fire started so that it would be warm later.

"So what do you think?" Alice asked.

"I think something weird is going on," I said, loading the wood stove, "I wonder what White Elk meant when he said we must all change."

"I don’t know what he meant, but I have a feeling Grey Fox was bothered by what White Elk said." Alice took a pear out of her pocket, took a bite and juice ran down her chin. "Wow, that’s the best pear I've ever had."

I laughed at Alice’s enthusiasm for the pear, then asked, "What do you think Glenn will do? He has a vision of what he wants his farm to be and White Elk has a vision. I guess we’ll find out more tomorrow."

Alice nodded, sighing, "Sometimes I wish I was more patient," she said. "I can’t wait to find out what he wants to tell us."

Later, when we went back to the fire to eat, both Glenn and my dad were quiet, staring into the fire, and I knew they were thinking about the meeting with White Elk. Tammy said she would love to learn to make jewelry like the necklace Morning Star wore and how she loved the beads on the band around her head and the sleeves of her dress. When Tammy said that, my dad looked up and said something that surprised me. "Morning Star is very beautiful."

I didn’t say anything, but I remembered how they looked at each other a few times. I also remembered noticing how Morning Star looked at Alice, how their eyes met as if they were seeing something in each other, then thought, it’s probably just my imagination.

"I really like her," Alice said. "I hope I have time to talk to her. I know she was in the same orphanage that Sun Dancer was. I wonder what happened to her. That’s terrible what they tried to do to the Indians there with the sterilization."

"Not only there," my dad said. "I’ve read quite a bit about Native American history and can understand why Grey Fox is upset that White Elk wants to meet again. We don’t deserve to be trusted."

"But what I want to do here won’t bother them," Glenn said. "And I think we will be good neighbors. Live and let live."

"They’ve heard that story before," my dad said.

"I hope we can work something out," Glenn said. "I don’t know what White Elk has in mind, what his vision is and I’m willing to listen, but I know I can’t live in a country that thinks it owns the world and is killing innocent people with those drones. I can't live with the insanity that is causing climate change. I want to live on this land and create an independent colony, a new way, crazy as that sounds."

"Listen, Glenn, I understand exactly what you’re feeling," my dad said. "But I don’t think you can just escape and make your own little utopia. It’s not that simple."

"I know it’s not simple," Glenn said, "but I'm determined to make it happen and I think you can help me, Eric."

My dad took a deep breath and closed his eyes the way he often does when he is disturbed or frustrated. "Listen, Glenn, I like this place and my mind is filled with ideas of how it could be. I’ve made some drawings, but I’m afraid to move ahead. This doesn't feel right." He glanced down at his notebook.

"Eric, I'm willing to listen to White Elk, but I'm determined to make this farm a new colony. What are your ideas? Show me."

I remembered my dad sketching earlier when we came back to tell them we had met White Elk, but he seemed upset and reluctant to move ahead. He took a deep breath, then opened up his sketchbook and turned a few pages and moved the book closer to the fire so we could see one of the drawings. Though it was hard to see, I glimpsed at it and could see a circle and some sketches of little buildings.

"This is very preliminary, but it’s interesting that what I drew is similar to how the wigwams we saw were in a circle. I thought we could have small shelters all facing the South, off the grid in a circle with each one having its own garden, but there was also a larger common garden and an orchard. In the center of the circle is a gathering place where everyone meets in the morning to share thoughts and make plans for the day." He paused, looking down at his drawings. "The shelters would be small, depending on the number of people sharing them, but I believe a shelter should fit like the shell of a turtle."

"Sounds really cool," Glenn said. "I like that."

"One idea I had was that all of the roofs were green with earth on them and plants growing, small bushes and lots of flowers. They would keep the shelters cool when it was really hot and help keep the heat in when it was cold, actually, it would be good if the houses could be almost underground with sunlight coming in, but we may not be able to do that. I have some other ideas about that I'm researching."

"I never heard of anything like that," Tammy said. "I would have liked plants growing on my roof. That would be so cool."

"It would have been," my dad said, "but when I saw the wigwams this afternoon, I liked the shape of them, the roundness and thought the shelters here could be similar but made of a different, stronger material." My dad’s voice was excited, and I could see how much he loved his ideas, but then he stopped speaking and looked at Glenn. "It’s easy to have ideas," he said, "and another thing to make them a reality."

"Why can’t we make your ideas a reality?" Glenn said. "I don’t know what it would cost. We own the land. It would just be the cost of building materials, wouldn’t it? And we could get a lot of what we need from the land here."

"Glenn, I think we have to respect the feelings of the Abeneki people. They believe this is sacred land and their ancestors are buried here. We can’t ignore them.” My father closed his sketch pad. "We can’t build here without offending them."

Glenn sighed and looked at the fire. "I hear what you’re saying," he said. "I don’t want to offend them. I know they believe this is sacred ground, but the fact is, it’s my land. I can't give it away. I don’t know how this is going to get resolved."

"I understand what you’re feeling, but you have to understand what the Abeneki are feeling about this land," my dad said. "They think differently about land than we do. Listen, I’ve been following this movement in Canada and other places because of the Tar Sands pipeline being built on Indian land. They're protesting what is being done to land that is theirs and are angry that another treaty has been broken."

"I know about the pipeline," Glenn said. "When I was with the Occupy Wall Street a few years ago, a lot of people were protesting that, a few even created a barricade but were arrested."

"Well, there’s this Native American movement in Canada called, "Idle No More" which is a perfect name,” my dad said. "They’re recognizing that they have been quiet for too long and now they aren’t going to take it any more and are protesting what the Canadian government is doing and our country is part of it. The pipeline goes from their land in Canada to Texas. It’s disgusting and dangerous and they’re doing it on land that belongs to the Indians."

"I agree it’s disgusting and it’s one of the reasons I don’t want to have any part of what those greedy bastards are doing. That’s why I’m here."

"But don’t you see the similarity. White Elk and Sun Dancer and the others are reclaiming land that was taken from them centuries ago. They’re returning to the land of their ancestors."

"But what I’m doing is different," Glenn said. "I’m not drilling for oil. I’m trying to live a new way, a way that is environmentally sound, where we can grow our own food and hopefully survive climate change. I want to find a way that can be a model for young people like Alice and Alex. It’s not the same as what is happening in Canada. I'm not doing this for money."

"I understand, but you have to understand how the Abeneki people feel about this land. Until yesterday, you didn’t know about them and they didn’t know about you. It’s a different ballgame now."

"What a mess," Glenn said, taking a deep breath, "I love your idea of building shelters in a circle. It does look like the way they have their wigwams, but if we won’t use animal skins or bark like they do, what will we use? "

"I’m researching that and have some ideas which I will tell you later, but the Abeneki people have lived in wigwams like that for many, many years and I noticed the long house they’re building is beautiful and strong. Many people could share that house. There’s a lot we could learn from them and should have three hundred years ago, but didn’t."

"What do you think White Elk wanted to tell us before he got tired," Alice asked. "He said they have to change too. That surprised me."

"Whatever it was, Grey Fox sounded like he wasn’t happy," Tammy said. "I don’t think he likes us being here. That’s the feeling I got and he thinks White Elk is out of it."

"I wonder what Sun Dancer thinks," Alice said, turning to Glenn. "He said to be patient."

"And I wonder what White Elk thinks," I said. "He said he had a vision that came to him from his ancestors. What do you think that’s about?"

"I don’t know," my dad said. "I’m eager to know. All I know is we don’t have a good track record with the Native Americans, and now there’s this uprising in Canada. Again, there’s a collision between people who want what’s on their land. It could be like Wounded Knee all over again."

"What’s Wounded Knee?" I asked. "I heard something about it, but I don’t know anything."

"I saw a documentary about it called The Darkest Hour and then read a great book that was really disturbing," my dad said. "Glenn you should see it, and then you’ll know what I’m feeling about this project."

"I will," he said, then turned to Tammy. "We should see if we can get it on Netflix."

"I’d like to see it. I don’t have a TV, but we can watch it on my laptop when we get back," Tammy said. "We should definitely watch it."

"What’s it about, Dad?" I asked. "What happened at Wounded Knee?"

My dad looked into the fire, "It’s not a pretty picture, but this is what I remember," he said. "This is the short version."

Before he spoke, Glenn got up and threw two logs on the fire. It was chilly and I noticed Alice had her hands in the pockets of her down vest and Tammy stretched out her hands towards the fire to warm them. I noticed how many stars there were even though there was a full moon.

"Well, let’s see. It happened in 1890 in South Dakota. The Sioux had signed a treaty with the government twenty three years earlier which guaranteed them the rights to land around the Black Hills which was sacred land. The treaty said that not only could no one move there, but people weren’t allowed to travel there without the permission of the Indians. Then in 1870, gold was discovered in the Black Hills and the treaty was broken and the people of the Sioux tribe were forced onto a reservation with the promise of food and supplies, which, by the way, never came." My dad stopped and looked at each of us before continuing. "Another treaty and another promise broken."

"What happened?" Alice asked. "That's horrible."

"Something amazing happened in 1889," my dad continued. "A native prophet named Wovoka from the Paiute tribe in Nevada, I think, had a vision of a ceremony called The Ghost Dance that would renew the earth, return the buffalo and cause the white men to leave and return the land that belonged to the Indians. People traveled across the plains to hear Wovoka speak, including people from the Sioux tribe and they brought back his teachings. They performed the Ghost Dance wearing brightly colored shirts and it spread through the villages on the reservation. Unfortunately, it scared the white Indian agents who considered it a battle cry and thought it was dangerous."

"But it wasn’t a battle cry," Alice said. "It was a ceremony."

"Right, but the agents thought it was a protest and antagonistic. One of the agents wired Washington and was given permission to arrest the leaders of the tribe and they came for Chief Sitting Bull, but he was killed in the attempt to arrest him."

"My bus broke down near there," Glenn said. "and I remember getting pushed to a gas station by an Indian."

"Interesting," my dad said. "You were lucky, but let me go on. It gets bad."

"Sorry. Keep going."

"Some members of Sitting Bull’s tribe went to Big Foot, who happened to be Sitting Bull’s half brother to warn him. It was winter and Big Foot was a man of peace and wanted to avoid being arrested and protect his people, so he decided to move his tribe to the Pine Ridge Reservation, but they never made it. It was 40 degrees below zero and Big Foot got pneumonia along the way. They had to stop and Black Foot was flying a white flag. Also, it’s important to know that Black Foot had actually renounced the Ghost Dance. His tribe did not perform it, but the Army didn’t make distinctions and ordered them to the camp on the banks of Wounded Knee Creek. Big Foot went peacefully."

"They must have been frightened," Alice said.

"I would think so," my dad said. "Their white flag was ignored. They obeyed the Army, but the next morning, the federal soldiers began confiscating their weapons and a scuffle broke out between one Indian and a soldier, and suddenly the Army opened fire and killed almost three hundred men, women and children, including Big Foot. It was a horrible massacre."

"The same thing is happening in Gaza by Israel with American weapons," Glenn said.

"That’s true," my dad said. "But it’s a little different. Let me continue and tell you about a book I read several years ago called, Black Elk Speaks. He was a medicine man and survived the massacre but wrote about his memories. One thing he said I can’t forget. 'I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young.'"

"Wow, that’s horrible," Alice said. "It’s amazing you remembered what he said."

"I remember something else from the book," my dad said, closing his eyes. "Black Elk wrote, 'Something else died in the bloody mud and was buried in that blizzard. A people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream.'"

We were all quiet when my dad finished telling the story. Glenn stared into the fire. Tammy looked at my dad, then over at Alice and me.

"Do you think what’s happening in Canada will work? Do you think they will be able to stop the Tar Sands pipeline," I asked.

"I don’t know, but there’s a lot of money at stake and the oil companies are desperate to find more oil. The Tar Sands project is dirty and expensive and will definitely add to the climate change problem. We are on a collision course and greed is in control."

"It’s the Bendula," Alice said.

Everyone looked at her. 

"The Bendula are in charge and the same thing will happen here that happened on Atlantis."

"What are the Bendula?" Tammy asked. "You said that word before. I never heard of the Bendula."

"It’s a long story. I don’t feel like talking about it," Alice said, looking at me, then back at Tammy.

My father leaned towards Alice. "I think you guys might be taking these Atlantis books too far."

"Maybe," I said, "But that old woman, Elizabeth said the word Bendula and she never read the books. She had memories and said she and her friends saw the end of Atlantis. She said the Bendula are still here."

"Strange," my dad said. "That’s very strange. I don’t get it."

We were are all quiet and stared into the fire, trying to absorb all that my dad had said about Wounded Knee and what Alice had said about Atlantis. Then Glenn stood up and stretched his arms out to the side and announced he was going to turn in. It was getting late. "I want to get up early and meet with White Elk and the council and then get on the road."

While Alice and I went back to the cabin, we stopped on the other side of the apple orchard. It was quiet, except for the sound of crickets. We stopped and looked up at the stars. "Wow, there are so many stars and they’re millions of miles away and we can see their light," Alice said. "It’s so beautiful here. I don’t know what’s going to happen with Glenn’s vision, but I could see living here."

"Really," I said. "I thought you wanted to go to college and be a doctor and work with Doctors without Borders."

"I do. I want to do everything," Alice said, "but I’m allowed to change my mind, aren’t I?"

"Yes," I said and continued walking to the cabin. Just as we got there, we heard a loud hooting coming from the woods on the hill. We stopped and listened. "That’s an owl," I said.

"I never heard an owl before." She looked in the direction of the sound.

We stood there for a moment, listening to the hoots coming from the woods on the hill.

"I wonder what Sun Dancer meant earlier when we heard the birds and he said, 'They sound happy tonight.'”

"I don’t know, but I don’t think that owl sounds happy." Alice said, staring into the woods.

I didn’t say anything, but listened to the strange hooting coming from the woods then continued walking towards the cabin.

When I opened the cabin door, it felt so good to feel the warmth and was glad I had gotten a fire going earlier. I added two logs to the fire, while Alice lit the candle with the matches Glenn had given her. It was dark in the cabin, except for the flickering flame but felt cozy.

We both sat on the bottom bunk and looked at the candle glowing in the dark room. We were quiet, thinking, trying to absorb all that was happening. A few times, I noticed Alice looking at me in the dim light and our eyes met, but we didn’t say anything before looking back at the candle. I could tell she wanted to say something but hesitated, then bit her lower lip and looked back at the candle.

"Alex, do you think Tim and Gabe would like it here?"

"Maybe. It would be a big culture shock. They're so used to going to concerts and movies."

"Maybe, but I bet they would like it here," she said. "I know Tim wants to be a musician and he has a band, and Gabe said he wants to travel and study different religions, but you never know. I just have a feeling they would love it here."

"I wonder what they’re thinking about the Atlantis books. I hope they’re reading them," I said. "I can’t wait to find out what they think, and wait until they find out what’s happening here."

"Right, it’s pretty unbelievable, but right now, I can’t wait until we find out what White Elk is thinking."

Just then she reached and unzipped her sleeping bag and asked me to move. "I’m tired," she said. "We climbed that hill twice today and a lot happened, let’s go to sleep."

Rather then crawling in, she opened it wide like a blanket and spread it over the thin mattress, then crawled under it, pulling it up to her shoulders and looked up at me, our eyes meeting. I went over to the stove and threw another log into the fire, blew out the candle and started to climb up to the top bunk when Alice surprised me and said, "Alex, come here."

I couldn’t see her face in the dark, but felt her hand reach and hold mine, then she surprised me when she lifted the sleeping bag, opening it, then pulled me to her and slid to the other side of the small bed. Lying next to her, not sure what to do, Alice put her arm around me, pulling me to her and we kissed. Her lips were soft and I could feel her body pressing into me, holding her lips to mine. It didn’t take long for the surprise to disappear and we were kissing harder and deeper. Her breasts crushed against my chest. I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her closer, our kissing grew more passionate, our breathing heavier. I couldn’t believe this was happening, but we were holding each other, kissing each other, our first real kisses and I felt an erection growing in my jeans. She lay on her side and I was on mine, and we were holding each other, kissing, then we stopped, both gasping for air.

"There," she said. "Do you know how long I’ve wanted to do that?"

"No, you surprised me.”

“Well, you know me. Are you upset?”

"No, I’m not upset, just surprised. Now what?"

"Now, we’re going to go to sleep," she said, hugging and kissing me.

"We are?" I asked, laying next to her, surprised, confused.

"Yes, but I want to feel you next to me. Stay here."

I didn’t say anything, but she kissed me again, then I felt her turn on her side away from me. "Goodnight," she said quietly.

"Goodnight," I said, still bewildered, my heart thumping. "See you in the morning."

We were both quiet, lying in the dark, still wearing our clothes. I couldn’t believe what had just happened but knew our relationship was now different. So much was changing in my life, my mind was swirling. Before I fell asleep, I heard the owl hooting and listened. I knew Alice heard it too, but neither of us said a word.

The next morning, while Glenn was getting the fire going, Morning Star suddenly appeared from the woods, walking through the old pasture, past the stonewall in front of the barn. Tammy had a pot of coffee on the grill, and my dad was holding his hands over the flame, warming them in the chilly morning air, then saw her, and his surprised eyes widened. The sun was just rising above the hill and the birds were chirping like crazy in the woods.

"Oh, Wow!" Tammy said when Morning Star handed her the basket filled with mushrooms, onions and several strips of deer meat. "Thank you. I’ve never had deer meat before."

"You’re bringing us so much food," Alice said, sitting close to me, our arms touching, both of us aware that we had crossed a threshold in our friendship.

"It is our way," Morning Star said.

Glenn came over and looked into the basket, "Did you pick those mushrooms?"

"Yes, they are abundant in our woods, but this is the last of them for the year."

"It’s kind of you to share them if this is all you have," Glenn said.

"We have grown a lot of corn, squash and the men have brought us many deer, rabbit and wild turkey and fishing has been good this year." She pointed to the apple orchard. "We have apples and plenty of cider."

Tammy and Morning Star sliced the mushrooms and onions, then chopped them up along with the strips of deer meat and cooked it all together in the iron skillet. Then just before we started to eat, Morning Star spoke softly. "We thank you, our Creator for this new morning and the food we are sharing. Help us find our way in these difficult times." When she opened her eyes, she smiled, looking at each of us, and nodded.

She sat, eating quietly, but several times glanced at my dad who was leaning forward, staring down at the ground, thinking while he ate. Several times, she looked at Alice and me.

While we were eating, she surprised me by coming over and sat on the log next to Alice. "It was brave of you to come find my brother," she said. "Why did you do that?"

"It’s hard to explain," Alice said, "but he said something about the old ways, and Alex and I just read these books that talked about the old ways and these kids who had dreams about how people used to live on Atlantis before these people called the Bendula took over."

"Yes, the old ways," Morning Star said. "My grandfather told stories about the old ways when I was little and we lived in Canada. Then I was taken away to the orphanage, but I never forgot those stories. He learned the stories from his grandfather when he was a boy and he said the stories come from long ago and have been passed down. "

"It’s the same in the books we read," Alice said. "The memories of Atlantis and the old ways got passed down through dreams and that’s how the memories stay alive."

Morning Star nodded, "Have you had dreams of the old ways?"

"No, but I wish I did," Alice said. "I loved the books and they had a big impact on me and Alex. We’re trying to get our friends to read these books. They’re really amazing."

"Why did they have an impact on you?"

"I don’t know," Alice said. "I felt bad that the Bendula were trying to destroy the old ways on Atlantis, and they were trying to get rid of the Children of the One--they’re the ones who kept the memories alive. I liked the idea of people sharing and not needing money and not being greedy like people today."

"Children of the One," Morning Star repeated, nodding, thinking about the words.

"So, when I asked Sun Dancer if he had ever heard of Atlantis and the old ways, he told us he had never heard of Atlantis, but he remembered stories about the origin of his people and how they brought the old ways from some place in the ocean."

"I always wondered if that was true but don’t know," Morning Star said. "There are many stories passed down. Some are like fairy tales and I didn’t understand them when I was little, but I loved listening to my grandfather tell us stories. My grandmother also told many stories."

"We don’t know if the Atlantis stories are true either, but a strange thing happened to us the other day. A really strange thing," Alice repeated. "We met an old woman named Elizabeth who said she has memories of Atlantis and she knew about the Bendula, but she never read those books."

Morning Star nodded, staring into the fire. Both Alice and I looked at her, wondering what she was thinking. After a minute or so, she looked back at Alice.

"Your story is very mysterious and reminded me of something my grandfather said before we came here from Canada."

"What did he say?" Alice asked.

"I'll tell you my story first. It was about ten years ago and I had been living in Boston working as a waitress in a diner and kind of lost, feeling my life was empty. I was twenty-two and I just broke up with a man and was heartbroken. One day, out of the blue, my brother came to visit me. I hadn’t seen him in a very long time. He ran away from Saint Albans when he was fifteen and I was twelve. I didn’t know what happened to him. I was a mess. I had no parents, no family. I hadn’t seen my grandparents since I was little and then my brother was gone."

"Wow," Alice said. "You were really all alone."

"Yes and like I said, I was a mess, smoking pot, drinking, going to bars, feeling I had no future. I hate to admit this, but I even thought of committing suicide." She looked away from us and at the fire. It surprised me she was telling us this story, then I saw my dad looking at us and knew he was curious but was glad he didn’t come over. I’m not sure why.

"When my brother suddenly walked into the diner that day, I didn’t recognize him at first and thought he looked strange with long hair and a blue band on his forehead, but he sat down and ordered a coffee and said, 'Hello Louise.’ I just looked at him, puzzled, then I suddenly knew who he was and didn’t know what to say. I can’t explain how crazy it was to suddenly see my brother walk into that diner and say hello like that. I found out he had a masters degree in English, and he told me he knew something was missing in his life. He told me he was no longer Charles and had changed his name to Sun Dancer and wanted us to find our grandparents on the reservation in Canada. He hadn’t seen them in a long time either, but he said it was important that I come with him. He said we have to find our roots."

"That’s amazing that he found you," Alice said.

"I had a Facebook account and he wrote in the name Louise with no last name and he saw my picture and found I lived in Boston. I might have mentioned where I was working and that’s how he found me."

"So what happened?" Alice asked. "What did he mean it was important that you find your roots?"

"At the time I didn’t know what he meant, but that’s why what you said about Atlantis and the old ways and the Children of the One surprised me. All of this happened ten years ago. My grandfather was old, but he told us he had a vision to return to the land of our ancestors in Vermont. That’s when he said, "We must remember the old ways,” and that’s why we came here almost eight years ago."

"That took a lot of courage," I said. "Did you ever go back to Boston?"

"No, my brother and I stayed, and my grandmother remembered my name when I was a little girl and then I remembered it. When I started calling myself Morning Star, I knew who I was. I knew I would never be the same. I wanted to learn the old ways. That’s why when you told me your story I had to tell you mine."

"Thank you," Alice said.

Morning Star smiled, nodding. "I don’t know what would have happened to me if my brother hadn’t found me. It saved my life. I'm happy to be living here with my people. We have been trying to live the way of our ancestors, but it is hard and now we are worried about what is happening to the climate. My grandfather has told us our ways are in danger."

Just then Glenn stood up. "We should go and see what White Elk has to say, then get on the road."

Before standing, she looked back at Alice and me. "It’s time to go and learn what my grandfather has seen."