It’s the end of The Moon of the Popping Tree.
There’s a Lakota legend of the winter being so frigid a person can hear the branches of the trees popping.
Last month, I became a believer in that legend.
But that is over now, and there is a new phase coming with our sacred Mother Earth.
In Cree, spring is called miyoskamin. Basically, it can be translated as a period of time when the Earth comes alive.
Aside from those caught in a flood zone, most people are doing a happy dance.
I live in a northern First Nations community, and many of the elders I have spoken with can’t remember a winter being so cold.
My place sits beside a huge lake. During summer evenings I enjoy sitting by the lake and watching the sunset. Sometimes I can feel the power of the lake. If the breeze is just right and it picks up a bit of moisture from the lake, it envelops me.
I can see why the plants come alive. This power is coming straight from the elements. Sometimes all it takes is closing your eyes to see it.
In Cree, a sunset is epahseckmut. It can be translated as the sunset being so beautiful you can hear it.
Cree is a living language. I am often reminded of this with my visits to the lake.
I thought about why my ancestors would take this part of the world to camp hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago. Sure there was the fishing and hunting. I concluded it was the gathering of the berries and edible plants, and the medicine they provide. The power of the lake comes from the medicine that surrounds it.
The elders have taught me about the medicine most people simply walk on. Now, it’s spring and this medicine is coming alive.
During winter, a tree may be just wood, but spring will make that tree come alive and provide medicine.
That medicine is most powerful at this time of the year. With the national and world-wide epidemic of overdose deaths, I believe there is medicine a person can turn to in Mother Earth. And this is coming from a recovering hard drug addict.
It was returning to my culture that started my recovery. It is understanding that where I walk and where I stand, there is medicine. It is appreciating the world around me, and that I am still standing and walking. Just as with the Earth, my culture is alive.
The Moon of the Popping Tree is over. Now Miyoskamin will take over.