After learning that they stand on an old Aboriginal settlement called Turtle Island, 4 young people begin to experience strange and unusual situations. Are they real? Does Alex know? Did curiosity kill the cat? Hummmm?
|Product dimensions:||8.50(w) x 11.02(h) x 0.14(d)|
About the Author
After moving to Texas, I began teaching two-dimensional art and discovering that all children need to express themselves in any and all forms. I therefore, furthered my studies and received a Masters degree in Educational Counseling. Once again the classroom stimulated my need to gain more knowledge. It was back to the books. I independently studied Art Therapy for a number of years. Through my years of teaching and being involved with a diverse 145,000 children (plus two of my own) I discovered the joy in creative writing...and so I write, draw, paint, and at time go outside in that wondrous world and like Chibiabos, sing to the trees.
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Spirit at Turtle Island
By D.N. Bishop
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 D. N. Bishop
All rights reserved.
The first day of a new school year, and here goes the same old assignment: "Please write a paper on what you did during your summer vacation." Oh brother!
I know she is never going to believe this one! Like a swift arrow, the thought Hold on to your chair, teacher; here it comes runs into my head as I pick up my pencil and start to write.
Good night! I thought we would never get there! We had been in that Jeep bumping our way down an old gravel road for hours. If we hit one pothole, we hit a zillion. Wham! Yeow! One of the bumps was so big I thought my teeth were going to bite my eyeballs.
The road was boring. You know-gravel, gravel, gravel after miles of more ... yep! Gray gravel. Once we were driving through the forest, the view was a bit more interesting than gravel. At least I could search for critters at the edge of the woods. I noticed both sides of the road were lined with so many trees that I could only see four feet into the forest. I was surprised to see how dark it was. It looked like the sun was trying to break through, but it was having a lot of trouble. I watched sunlight bounce its way down from leaf to leaf yet never quite make it to the ground.
Sitting directly behind my dad, I looked up and thought, Oh no! Not the hat! Please, not the hat! Dad was putting on his tour guide cap. The minute that hat sat on his head, all kinds of made-up stories about people who lived in the area flew out of his mouth. Like a big river, you never knew exactly where or when the tales would ever end.
"If you will look to your left, you will see we are now approaching Lickem Face, Canada. Local folks tell that Big Sam Smashem was hiking through the woods when he suddenly heard a sound behind him. Turning, he found an enormous grizzly bear standing on his hind legs. The bear's front paws began reaching for Sam's backpack. Sam suddenly remembered that he had packed an apple pie in his sack. He screamed at the bear; then he quickly pulled the pie from his sack and smacked the old bear right in the face. The bear licked the pie from his face, turned, and then grunted his way back into the woods. Sam Smashem was saved! To this day, the town is called Lickem Face, and when anyone takes a hike, they always carry an apple pie. Why? you ask. Because bears like to lick 'em their face!"
Laughter filled the car until Sarah began to scream. "Sarah, stop screaming; the story wasn't that bad!" everyone shouted.
Still shrieking, Sarah banged on the back of the front seat, yelling, "A bear! Watch out for that bear!"
In a state of shock, Avery shouted, "Dad, don't hit it!"
In a cool, calm, yet firm manner, Dad replied, "I see it!" The car was now filled with screaming people. Panic was everywhere.
"I can't look," Charlie stated as he covered his eyes and hit the floor.
Like a gigantic black freight train, the bear streaked in front of the car and then bolted across the road. Dad hit the brakes so hard that a duffel bag behind the passengers catapulted through the car, hit Charlie, and then wrapped its straps around his waist. As if he were drowning, Charlie began jumping up and down, waving his arms, and yelling. "It's attacking me! The bear is on my back! Help! Help!"
We quickly turned toward Charlie and began to laugh. Grabbing his collar and pulling him up in the seat, I reassured him that he had just been attacked by a duffel bag. By the time I glanced back out of the window, the bear had bolted into the woods.
"Can anyone see it?" asked Sarah.
"No!" everyone replied.
"Phew! That's a relief! We could have been smashed to smithereens," Avery added.
Charlie, still gasping for air, spoke up. "And we don't even have any apple pie!"
Once again, the car was filled with an atmosphere of relief. Taking a deep breath, I could feel my heart start to beat again. Charlie's heart was still beating so fast that I could hear it thump. Every time we vacationed in the mountains, something weird happened. I could now add the bear to my "You've Got to Be Kidding Me" list. I couldn't help but wonder what else would happen before we returned home.
It was great being together again. I felt like we could conquer anything, even an occasional bear.
Down the road we went. This time, there was no chatter. Everyone was busy looking from side to side while hoping not to encounter another bear.
Dad, feeling the tension in the car, broke the silence when he removed his hat from the dashboard and then placed it on his head. Uh-oh! I knew what was coming next.
Dad started up again. "Turning to the left, you will see the town of Big Bear Watchame Run, Canada."
"Pull over!" I shouted.
"What is wrong?" Dad quickly asked with concern.
"Just pull over." While Charlie, Avery, Sarah, and I yelled, we looked at one another and grabbed hats, blankets, and scarves. Dad pulled off to the side of the road.
"Now, what is so important?" he asked.
I replied, "Dad, have you ever heard of Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump?"
"Oh, yes, I have!" he answered with pride.
"Well, Dad, look to your right. Can you see Cap Smackem Canada?"
"No," he replied.
"Well, we can!" With that, we let him have it. We smacked him with everything we could get our hands on and began yelling, "Now look to your right, everybody!"
We jumped out of the car and began chasing one another. It was war. We ran and laughed so hard that all that tension disappeared. Climbing back into the car, I felt the dull remainder of the trip was okay.
Finally! We had arrived! I leaped out of the car and decided to scout around. Maybe I could find our campsite. My eyes shifted back and forth as I thought about that bear. "Come on, guys!" I shouted.
Behind me, I could hear Charlie scream, "Come on, nothing! I don't have any apple pie!"
"There's a path over here," I yelled back. "I think it might lead to our tepee." That's right, I said tepee. My family wanted to enter the Canadian Junior Golf Tournament. Dad said that he wanted to make the trip special. Instead of the local lodge, he made arrangements for us to stay at a campground located on an old Aboriginal settlement. Although the tournament was going to be great,
I felt a little leery about the campground. My eyes shot down the path so fast that my feet could not keep up. I could hear everyone behind me yelling, "Wait up, Alex!"
Even though I heard my family calling, my feet just wouldn't slow down. Thoughts seemed to hop in and out of my brain as fast as stones skipping across a river. It is hard to describe the feeling of being in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The air is always cool and crisp. The smell of pine trees is exciting. It feels like Christmas even in the summer. In this place, a snowfall or hailstorm can pop up when you least expect it. It doesn't make any difference if it is summer, fall, winter, or spring.
There it was! I could see the top of our tepee towering high over the trees. My feet began to fly, and then I screeched to a stop. It was as though someone had just poured cold water over my head. I felt excitement rushing all the way down to my toes. There it stood. What a fine tepee! It was pure white, like winter snow. Sides of the tepee were marked with symbols. It not only had dignity but was as majestic as the mountains that surrounded it. This was not a usual campsite.
What was that? Suddenly, I felt a cold chill on the back of my neck. Before I could even blink, a very tall man dressed in full Aboriginal ceremonial clothing came from behind the tent.
His pants and shirt were made of white deerskin. Long fringes hung down to his waist and lined the edges of his sleeves and leggings. White moccasins with yellow beads covered his feet. His hair was long and pure white. Tumbling over his shoulders, his hair reminded me of whitewater rapids cascading over a towering waterfall. Pure white eagle feathers surrounded his head. Everyone stood there, just staring. He looked so splendid and regal that no one could speak. With a warm smile, the man welcomed us to camp.
"I am White Eagle. I will be your guide while you are here. Let's get you settled into camp. We will gather around the fire later tonight and have our dinner. I will tell you about some of the history and traditions of the area. Unpack your gear; make yourself comfortable, and I will see you this evening." As he walked around to the back of the tepee, like the bear, he was gone.CHAPTER 2
That evening, White Eagle taught us Aboriginal dances. We danced until we were silly, exhausted, and so hungry that we could have eaten tree bark. Our entire dinner consisted of corn and dried buffalo meat. I've heard that some people called it jerky. I don't know where they came up with that name; but yep, they were right. It was kind of jerky. You had to grab the end of the strip of meat with your teeth and jerk very hard to tear off a bite. I looked over toward Dad. There was a big, sappy smile on his face. I knew his brain was grinding out another silly story about Jerkytown. As tough as it was, when you're hungry, it fills you up and keeps you going. Corn on the cob was cooked over a large bonfire. Now that was tasty. After we ate, my cousins and I decided it was time for dessert. Everyone's favorite was s'mores. It wasn't Aboriginal food, but the taste was superb.
With our tummies full of good, warm food, White Eagle began telling stories. "It is here that my people began. They were the first to hunt, fish, sit by their tepees, and warm fires. They watched their young braves become strong men and their daughters give wisdom and song to the Great Spirits. These people were the Aboriginal people. Elders have told stories of the beginning to young people for hundreds of years. The stories of the Great Manitou are believed by tribes over the entire continent."
I thought to myself, School? More school? Ugh! This is my vacation! Yet I soon discovered that the more I heard, the closer I listened.
Pointing up toward the stars, White Eagle continued, "Long before the earth was formed, Great Spirits lived high in the sky. There was no arguing or fighting. They lived in peace without crime or death. Manitou created everything that you see, from a little drop of water, to a flower, a bug, the mountains that surround us." Quickly, White Eagle turned and pointed directly at me. Then he quietly said, "Even you."
While White Eagle spoke, I saw the sun quickly set behind the mountains and then flood the sky with darkness. With outstretched arms, White Eagle looked up into the black sky. Pleading softly, he cried, "Manitou!" Behind his head streaked a shooting star.
Wow! How did he manage that? I wondered.
Again, White Eagle turned and pointed at me. I felt uneasy. If a star could shoot from behind his head, then what did he have in store for me? Like arrows embedding thoughts into my brain, his eyes pierced mine. I began to worry. Things were now getting a bit spooky.
White Eagle leaned down and picked up a bow and broken arrow lying next to me. As he raised them high into the air, my entire body began to tremble. Was he going to hit me? I felt terror creep its way from my head all the way down to my toes. As I reached toward Charlie for protection,
I noticed that one end of the bow's string was untied. At the base of the sting was a cluster of feathers.
White Eagle slowly turned. We heard the soft beating of drums from the foothills snaking into camp. White Eagle started shaking the broken arrow and weaving the bow over my family. Feathers attached to the string seemed to dance in the air to the rhythm of the drums. I glanced at the girls. Now sitting close together, they had pulled a blanket over their heads.
All I could see were two noses and four eyes the size of ping-pong balls peering out from underneath. The drums stopped. There was a quiet sigh of relief.
For a brief moment, White Eagle stood in front of us with his head bowed. Then he continued with his story. "Everything Manitou created was given a particular place in which to live and a reason to exist. To ensure survival and maintain order, guide laws or paths needed to be set down. Through this power, they would be able to nurture life, allow it to flourish, and at the same time end it."
Astonished, Charlie abruptly asked, "What? You mean it could kill everything ... even me?"
"Charlie, the movement of everything in nature had to be controlled. The sun, moon, and stars now would have direction."
Everyone in camp glanced up toward the sky as a gentle breeze stoked our bonfire. "Now the wind, fire, water, and earth would have the power to control."
As if thinking, White Eagle lowered his head. Looking again at Charlie, he continued, "Manitou gave man a special gift. Man was unique. He had the power to imagine, to think ahead and also think differently from one another. Man then began to abuse the power that Manitou had given to him. He now developed the power for greed. He argued and showed disrespect for other people and for nature. To stop the fighting, a great flood occurred."
I looked toward the girls when I heard them quietly giggle. They pointed to Charlie. I glanced down and saw Charlie's feet begin to rise off the ground.
"Charlie," I whispered, "what are you doing?"
"It seems to me that people are still disrespectful. If Manitou finds out ... well, I don't want to get my feet wet. These are my favorite running shoes," replied Charlie.
White Eagle then spoke about Nanabozho, who was able to change into different forms and animals. During the flood, he was sent to the earth by Manitou. While floating in the water, Nanabozho crawled up on a large piece of wood. He and only a few fish and birds survived.
"Many elders tell that the Great Spirit pulled up a huge tree. The hole that was created was so big that if you peered through it, you could see the earth below. Manitou asked Sky Woman to lean over and look through the hole. Sky Woman saw that the earth was without stars, a moon, or even the sun. She saw only darkness. Manitou asked her to drop down into the darkness. As Sky Woman leaned forward to get another look, she slipped and fell through the hole."
I could hear Charlie mutter under his breath, "You wouldn't catch me going into any dark hole filled with all that water." He then leaned back, folded his arms, and listened closely as White Eagle continued.
"The beaver, otter, muskrat, and turtle, who had survived the flood, saw Sky Woman fall. Worried that she would drown, they sent a flock of loons to swim underneath her. Sky Woman landed gently on their soft, feathery backs. The loons then carefully placed her on the shell of a large turtle to rest."
I looked toward Charlie again. He was sitting on the edge of his bench, completely involved in what White Eagle was saying. Quietly, he let out a "Phew!" and then relaxed.
White Eagle went on to say, "When Sky Woman awoke, she told the animals that in order to survive, the earth needed to be covered with soil. The animals understood. Sky Women then warned them of a great danger. The soil could only be found at the bottom of the sea. Without hesitating, both the beaver and the otter plunged deep into the water. Everyone waited. After a very long time had passed, drowned bodies floated to the surface of the water. Every animal that attempted to dive as far down as it could eventfully surfaced, barely breathing or dead.
"With great courage, the muskrat agreed to dive for soil. Even though there was very little hope for success, the muskrat plunged deep into the water. Hope for his survival seemed to dwindle the longer he was down. He was gone longer than any other animal.
"Suddenly, the water began to churn as the muskrat struggled to the top. When Sky Woman picked up the poor muskrat, she found he was barely breathing. While stroking his fur, she discovered a tiny piece of soil in his paw.
"That night, Sky Woman sprinkled the dirt from muskrat's paw on the back of the turtle. When she awoke, the dirt had spread until the earth was covered in trees and plants." White Eagle looked directly at us and said, "You are now standing on Turtle Island."
When we heard this, we automatically looked at the ground and lifted up our feet. Realizing how silly we must have looked, we laughed.
White Eagle continued, "It is believed that after she died, Sky Woman returned to the sky and became the moon and stars. Look up, and you will see her. She is now our Grandmother Moon and gives us light when the world is in darkness. Every night, she reminds us that she is watching over us and keeping us safe."
Everyone in camp looked up toward the sky. Three shooting stars swiftly past over the moon. A soft "Whoa!" could be heard. Charlie slid off on his bench.
Excerpted from Spirit at Turtle Island by D.N. Bishop. Copyright © 2016 D. N. Bishop. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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