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First Snow
First Snow

by Grandmother Waynonaha

Dark heavy gray clouds swirl over head as I walk down the sea grass lined path to the beach.

 The wind billows my coat around my body seeming to reach icy fingers into my sweater beneath. I pull the hood of my jacket closer to my face and try to block out the ever-increasing wind.

Only moments earlier I was sitting beside a good warm fire looking out at this same dark sky and wondering if the snow will come today. It threatens, and the news promises, but still not a sign of the first snow. I seem to feel a need to move and do something; the restless need to explore takes hold of me. I leave all reason behind and, dressing warm, I leave the house. The warmth of that fire seems far now away as I enter the sandy path. I push my cold hands deeper into my pockets to protect them from the now freezing wind.

The beach is quiet and still, no people around to spoil the tranquility of this space. Summer bathers have long been gone and only the occasional beach walker is seen. As I enter the beach, I see the tangles of seaweed, broken bottles and debris piled up on the tide edge. Taking out my trash bag I start to collect those things that are not native to this place. Soon my bag is heavy, and I sit it down and open another one to fill.

Wave after wave slips up and scatters foam on the wet and solid sand. I look for shells and sand dollars in the wake of the waves, finding only a few not broken. These treasures of sea glass and sand dollars I place in my jacket pocket for later use.

Ice crystals are starting to form on the edge of the water as the temperature drops and the wind increases. I look back to where I started; it seems so very far away.

Like life we travel and collect, but do not seem to mind the walk, until we have to return. Somehow the return path home is always longer and harder to manage. The second bag is filling fast, and I will soon have to return and collect the other bags I left waiting on the beach.

Gulls fly over me screaming in the wind. They land and cock their heads looking for hand outs. "Sorry nothing to offer you this time" I say to them.

On the way back I see something shiny in the sand. I am sure that shiny object was not there before, I would have seen it, my footprints show my path was nearby. Retracing my steps, I stop and pick up a perfect crystal, clear as glass as large as an egg. I count eight points of light on the surface and peer into the most clear light imaginable. I hold it not believing what I see, it is truly clear and flawless.

I wonder who or what brought this precious crystal to this place. My mind races at possibilities and reasons in my need to understand.

I place the crystal in my medicine bag and offer in return a gift of tobacco to the Earth Mother. I close my eyes and turn my face to the sky and give thanks to Creator for this gift. As I look into the dark gray clouds the first soft wet snowflakes fall and melt on my face.

Mitakuye Oyasin

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