A wise Elder

He sat silently, patiently  now, intently watching her string each bead. He’d expected the process of weaving the beads would have been much more rapid. Still, watching her fingers deftly catching up each small bead made the wait worthwhile. He knew his own clumsiness would have caused him to drop many of the beads were he to try his hand at this art.

She was skilled, and it was obvious she had spent many hours creating each of the beaded bags portraying different animals on her shelves. She had smiled when he told her his animal was, not just any eagle but the bald eagle. He’d exclaimed to her, “My animal is majestic!”

She had said then, drawing each word out slowly as though singing a song to him, “My animal is the field mouse. Your animal depends on mine to have life.” He’d allowed her words to soak in and he was surprised as the wisdom of her words had filled his heart.

He looked at her with a newfound respect. She wasn’t just the Beading-Woman-Who-Makes-The-Medicine-Bags, she was a wise elder. As he’d taken his finished eagle medicine bag into his hand she’d told him to wait.

Rising slowly from her beading stool he was certain he’d heard her bones creaking. She shuffled across the floor to a small cabinet and from it she withdrew several items. Returning to her table, she picked up his hand and placed in his palm the three medicines, sweetgrass, sage and cedar.

She said then in a somber tone, “Place these in you medicine bag and do not ever allow others to look inside. Even the cops know better than to touch it. These medicines are sacred and you must learn to use them every time you pray to the Creator. Respect earns you respect.” He looked into her eyes and knew she spoke words of truth and wisdom. He’d come to her shop with intention to claim a souvenir but left with a treasure he had not expected.

© Zora Zebic 2016

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