I have always had a fascination with the night. When I was a child, I would sit on the porch of my grandparents home. My Grandfather would tell me stories. Grandfather would take days to tell me a story. Each night would end with a long pause as we would gaze into the night sky. He would tap my shoulder, smile and leave me to be lost to my imagination. The story would weave into my dreams for days until I would hear the ending. Their home rested within the grasslands of South Dakota. I can close my eyes and smell the tall grass, feel the whispers of the quiet creatures around me as I looked out onto hills. Most nights, my Grandfather would point out the stars to me. The beauty often leaving me without words as he spoke softly. I would find myself telling him my worries. My curiosities of the world.
When I was older, we moved away from the closeness of their ranch. Our night talks would become more distant in time. Weeks had passed and we came to visit. I found myself outside on their porch. Listening to the sounds of the night world, smelling the grass as the moonlight became a blanket over the land. I remember being very sad. I was struggling with the cruelty of the world, and missed my Grandparents. They were my protectors when life was difficult. My grandfather opened the screen door, and I could hear him as his cowboy boots dragged on the pavement. His silver hair was messy from his cowboy hat, and his grey eyes looked like the stars in the sky. He had two white mugs in his hand. One with tea for me and the other had coffee. He sat next to me and told me to look at the night sky and tell him what I saw. I started to name the things I saw. Stars, moon, horses, the rabbit hopping across the lawn. He pointed to the stars and told me that each star was an ancestor watching over me. “Wakanjeja when you are alone, scared or uncertain, you can look to the night sky and know you are not alone.” Wakanjeja, sacred child. The Hanyewi, moon, was silently rising as a soft lullaby of the night creatures filled the air. These sounds, the lights from the moon and the stars were my ancestors guiding my way. Singing to me, comforting me. Shining their light during my dark moments, so I would know I was never alone.
He spoke to me in Lakota that night. I could remember the words Hanyewi Wakanjeja. MoonChild. Soon my Grandmother was telling us it was time to come in. He tapped me on the shoulder, smiled as his grey eyes twinkled in the night sky and gave me his coffee cup and stood up. I followed. My Grandfather went to his room, and my Grandmother was waiting for me in the kitchen. I watched her wash the cups as I dried them and put them back in the cupboard. She asked what my Grandfather and I were talking about. I told her about the ancestors and she smiled. She told me my Grandfather was correct. When I am having difficult days, I just need to look out into the night sky, to the moon and the stars.
These stories were gifts to me, and now I gift them to you. Each time our stories are told, they become richer, more meaningful. Stories can fill our hearts with love, and help us to forget the sorrows. Our stories are sacred. These stories I recall, help me to find healing. To know that I am not alone. There is healing in Creation around us. We just need to take the time to see the world in a new way. Just as my Grandfather taught me. Through the beauty that we are surrounded by, we can find healing moments. Those moments with my Grandfather will carry healing for me in the times I need them. I am a Hanyewi Wakanjeja, Moonchild. When I am lost, alone, scared, I look to the night sky for comfort. The moonlight is like a blanket that gives me a warm hug, the stars and the night creatures tell me their stories to ease my burdens. Offering me healing. What is your story that brings you healing?
Growing up in Upper Michigan, surrounded by tall pine trees, all you could do was look up at night. The stars were a comfort to me and I miss spending time with them. I knew the constellations and how the stars moved. As a teen, we lived on the prairie in northwest Minnesota. There we lived on the west edge of town and it became the sunsets that both calmed and inspired me. But the stars were there also and continued to be my friends. I could see more of them at one time. Now, I miss both. I cannot see the sunsets from my house and my commute is across the well-lit parking lot, so I don’t see the stars. Thanks for the reminder of these dear friends. Now I need to go out and seek them for they are still there even though I can’t see them.
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