on this article
by Sharmagne Leland-St.John
November 4, 2000
The wind sang old songs. The leaves and branches of the black walnut
quivered, ever so slightly, as they listened in silence.
"I have been dreaming of the ranch all day," she said, as he
out the window.
He turned to her and said, "Yes, I know now I have no Cherokee
the merest trickle of Tsalagi."
Yet, a trickle of Tsalagi is still Cherokee blood, she thought,
shawl closer around her thin shoulders. But, she said nothing.
"You must be beautiful when you're dreaming," he said, as he
face. "I can easily imagine that.."
She sat quietly in the burgundy, Queen Anne chair, wrapped in her red
blue peyote shawl with her moccasined feet tucked under her.
She closed her eyes for a moment and said, "In my minds eye I'm
easel and my paints into the truck, and I'm driving through Onyx and
Grove. Country Western and Native American music wafts out onto a
breeze through the sun roof." As she said this, the sound of
'Amazing Grace' in Tsalagi, welled up in her ears and in her heart.
"Ummmm, lovely picture," he said, not even imagining where
her thoughts had
"You can almost see the quarter notes and the eighth notes
hanging on the air
and catching in the tangle of cottonwood trees along the roadside
singing river," she continued.
He smiled and asked, "What is the smell?"
Not missing a beat, she answered, "Ceremonial sage,"
thinking he meant the
scent inside the truck. He couldn't have known she always burned sage
abalone shell on the dashboard before starting off on long journeys.
"I thought pine, but then, you mentioned cottonwood. Ohhhh....
he murmured. "And the cemetery?"
"Yes, I would stop to visit the small cemetery at Cottage Grove
as I always
do. I would plant sprigs of rosemary on the tiny graves and try to
there are so many babies named Powers, buried there all in a row, but
adults with that family name...from the turn of the last century...
babies. Babies sleeping side by side. Sisters and brothers sleeping
side. Some died even before their siblings were born. Or cousins
knew each other only in death. Never in life. Yes, I would plant
rosemary for remembrance."
"Strange," he interjected.
"Yes, well, life is strange, and we are all strangers to each
said, rising to go up the 2 flights of stairs to the kitchen to brew a
Cherokee Winter Tea.
The recipe for this flavourful and aromatic tea:
To one gallon of rain water add:
10 whole cardamon seeds
10 whole black pepper corns
10 whole cloves
2 sticks of cinnamon
2 bay laurel leaves
Boil for 20 minutes.
Add a few drops of pure maple syrup to each cup for sweetener.