Friday, January 31, 2014

Year of the Horse

Ice thinks it's the year of the horse, too.

Of course, I thought that was last year, considering that that was when Miskwaki just showed up and made himself at home.

What do I know?  It's their world.  They just let me live in it.  Well, as long as I bring them hay and grain and water.

The steel-toed boots are on their way.

Copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

In Memory of Paddy: Her Family Needs Our Help

Image copyright The Political Carnival, 2014; all rights reserved.

In my last post, a couple of days ago, I included a link to a story about Paddy Kraska of The Political Carnival, who walked on in such an untimely way on January 16th.  Her family desperately needs help paying for her funeral expenses.

I have a diary up at the Great Orange Satan with details, including links to how to give. Please go and take a look, share it with your networks, and if you possibly can, kick in a few bucks.


Monday, January 20, 2014

I don't have the ability to do this man justice today.

Tired of the dominant culture appropriating and misrepresenting who he was what he stood for, what his legacy is.

If I never see another piece presuming to tell us that he was first and foremost about class, not race, it'll still be too soon.  If I have to see another one of those yet today, I'm likely to lose it on that person's blighted and benighted head.

And I don't want to see any more "white sales" held in this man's name.  "White sale."  Could the irony burn any more if it tried?

So I'm going to post three requests, one for each aspect of my own ancestry (that is to say, red, white, black).  If you can do something for any or all them, I think it would be in the spirit of supporting the principles for which Dr. King gave his life.

Red:  Okiciyap ("We Help").  Feeding the body while feeding the spirit.  Keeping Native children, families, and elders from going hungry this winter.  Keeping our youth, most at-risk of any demographic, from suicide. 

White:  Paddy Kraska.  A blogger gone far too young, thanks to this country's worthless sense of priority and perspective.  Her family needs help with funeral expenses.  She was not quite 53.

Black:  The Tenor From Abidjan: A Documentary.  A spirit sister's daughter with a project to feed others' spirits, while telling a story from the Ivory Coast that needs to be told.  She's under the 4-figure mark now, but there are only 19 days left, and she needs to raise the full amount in that time or she gets none of it, including our own small pledge.

If you can help with any of them, please do.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Horses and Hawks FTW

Miracle 1:  Cree, down for a month, upright and in her clogs and out grazing.

Miracle 2:  Cree, herd alpha and dominant bully when she wants to be, grazing companionably with new herd omega Ice.  They've become friends.

Look, if we can have two miracles in one photo, we can get two wins today.

And since last year's red-tail pair have returned this year and are camping out with us, I'm taking that as a good omen for their sea-based cousins in my sister's part of the country today.

Photos copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


It's hard to come by.

It's especially hard to come by when you're a half-wild horse:  abused, abandoned, neglected, starved.  Even when you've found your way to someplace seemingly safe, they always want to do things to you.

Like that ugly green thing they want to tie around your head.

I'm not sure Ice had ever been haltered before he came to us.  He clearly isn't very familiar with such contraptions, at best.  Putting anything anywhere near his muzzle — nose or mouth, both of which had injuries when he arrived on Christmas Eve — spooks him badly. And as you can see from the way this one fits . . . well, it doesn't. Fit, that is.  He's still so painfully thin that the strap that goes under the back of his jaw falls forward.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


It's the first second marker of the new year.  The first second "anniversary" of something I'd rather not remember.  [Second, not first.  I forgot about the 6th, although I remembered it at the time, ten days ago - the 8th anniversary of Wings's younger brother's death.  The fact that I could forget that in the space of ten days says something about my mindset today, none of it good.]

There are plenty more on the way, and their numbers increase every year.  Another hazard of age.

Dad would've been 90 today.  And, predictably, he's still manage to plant himself firmly in my head, like it or not.  Worse, he brought an earworm with him, so I'll spend the entire day being reminded of things I'd rather not remember, all to their own special soundtrack.

This was the last "pop" album I can remember him truly liking, or maybe even buying.  He always had a thing for the Patsy Cline school of country music - damsels in distress.  Of course, he also always had a thing for weepy old country songs about dead dogs and dead people, and he sang them off-key until I cried.  For someone as depressive as he was, I never understood the sick fascination with tragedy.  In retrospect, I don't know that it was the tragedy so much as an affinity with bathos and pathos.

Anyway, Wilma Burgess.  I think it must have been '67.  He'd come home every single night from work and put this on my sister's record player, and sit in the white rocking chair and sing along in a "melody" as flat as his Michigan accent.  

Track 5.  I had to go look it up.  "Touch My Heart."  Over and over and over.  How I hated that song.  

It's going to follow me around all day, so I might as well get used to it.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Image copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.

Not formal ones; they always get broken.

Commitments, maybe.

Since Ice showed up here on Christmas Eve, starving and abused, we've taken care of him.  He can stay as long as he can stay.

After all, Miskwaki is still with us.  He was in worse shape when he showed up on April 18, 2013.  Below, what he looks like as of half an hour ago.

Image copyright Aji, 2014; all rights reserved.

I can't commit to much anymore.  But these boys get my commitment to the extent humanly possible.

In Memory of a Warrior

A warrior, a leader, a hero in every sense of the word, a man we were privileged to call "Brother," Carter Camp, has walked on.

His spirit left us last Friday, December 27, 2013, at about 3PM CST; we got the word a few hours later.  Services were held yesterday in White Eagle.  We've known it was coming for close on a year now, but that doesn't lessen the loss.  As the new year begins, the world is a much colder place.

As I've said elsewhere, Carter was one of the original founders of the American Indian Movement.  Warrior - for his own Ponca nation, and for all of us.  Hero.  Leader.  Teacher. Elder.  Friend.  Brother.  

The image above [uncredited in the accompanying article] is from the honor dance held for him last April.  We couldn't go, so we sent gifts with a dear friend and who was attending, a warrior woman in her own right.  In the photo, which was apparently chosen among thousands of other options to accompany one of his obituaries, he's holding the cuff bracelet Wings made especially for him last year, in his honor:  a sterling silver band hand-cut in the shape of a dual eagle feather, as befits a man of his stature, set with garnets and opals.  That this image was chosen, from all of those available . . . it's a gift to us that we'll hold in our hearts forever.

But the greatest gift of all was his friendship and his presence, even from a distance, in our lives.  

Carter, we love you.  Our prayers are with you on your journey. 

And as I said elsewhere:  About Shongeh-Ska - even as we mourn, we understand.