The Gates…#187

Re-Blog…Created August 31, 2013

The Gates…

I am death, covered

by the blood of life’s

victims, the peace

loving, the innocent

and the brave silenced;

they lay with me here

in the grave.

The living stands in cold

silence, regret, moans on

every breath, living souls

that cannot keep away

the fear of death.

In the voices of life, there

could be heard prayer,

prejudice and dismay;

whether hate or fate, all is

now with me at “Heaven or

Hells” gate!

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

I heard the Wip-poor-will cry…#183

Image result for storm

Last night I heard the Whippoorwills parting cry, from the wet field, the heavy leafed trees, and the torrent rain and hurling winds.  Here in our homeland, America, we are too quick to despair, emotions break and swell, in these frantic times of turmoil and unrest like the waves beating upon the shore.

The bitter days of spring are gone; it did not take with it the plague and chaos that hangs over America.  It is time to take heed, the evil one is trying to conquer, he is not the shepherd of his flock, and he is a sheep in “Wolfs” clothing.  No, he does not deny his evil ways, he believes to be crowned and he is not, he cannot fall from grace as he is already tumbling into a fiery pit.

He does not speak of the dead, he has no heart, no empathy of the crisis that the people of this proud and stand-alone nation is in, they are dying, they are in a war with each other he does not care about the dying and he condones this war.  Many continue to work with hope in their hearts, is it all in vain?  He continues to quest for power, he lays thorns in the path of those with heart and hope.           

His throngs of followers are like water gnats gathering to show him praise; his ever-nearing circle weaves a wall of protection crushing hope for the future.  They do not understand truth, they too are unreachable his charm grows within their closed minds.  The dark fog of hatred leans over the land hiding the stars of dreams and happiness, hiding the moons glow of hope.

Nonetheless, our wet fields will dry, the trees will stay strong, rains will wash away the hate and anger, and it will propel the dark fog into the past.  Another page for history, there will be happier times, the chants of old will fade from our minds and we will all once again have the blindness removed from our eyes.  Our hearts will sing songs of love, caring and oneness, we will sing the praises of our hero’s, we will bury our dead with honors, and we will survive.

EAJM   

           

Into the Wilderness…#164

italy-2080072_960_720

Into the Wilderness…

 
Standing by the grave where death

has ceased its struggle; voice silenced,

eyes shut. With shivering hearts the

conflict over; pilgrimage done, there

will be no more suffering. In the dying

hour, the life plunged down into

dissension; the moaning, doubts, disputes,

and fears now lay deep within the earth.

 

Healing power surrounded us, while a

warm breeze like waves in the ocean

swept across a sun-lit mound of dirt. The

darkest days will still bring brightness,

strengthen the sage mind, and remove

the fear that lies within the breast. A

cloud of mortal destiny follows;

reminders of what was and what it can be.

 

Wake in a new world, cross a snowy

mountainous pass; hear the echoes

from eagles, and cross a flowing stream.

It leads to the sea, myth or illusion,

eyes open as the mind gathers thoughts.

Remember God can abide man’s soul,

cleans the body to make ready for

tranquility; you will rise and follow.

 

What is before us we do not know,

but the mind goes with solemn peace.

Yet man has no impracticable hours,

no patients, man’s life plunges into

thought often; strife will soon follow,

he smiles and walks into an unknown

wilderness.

 
©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

Author’s books at Amazon.com and Barnes & Nobel.com

 

 

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Rhythm-Rhyme-Thoughts-decade-poetry/dp/1723433055/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&qid=1586473726&sr=8-4

https://www.amazon.com/Rhythm-Rhyme-Thoughts-decade-poetry/dp/1723433055/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&qid=1586473726&sr=8-4

https://www.amazon.com/Rhythm-Rhyme-Thoughts-decade-poetry/dp/1723433055/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&qid=1586473726&sr=8-4

https://www.amazon.com/Rhythm-Rhyme-Thoughts-decade-poetry/dp/1723433055/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&qid=1586473726&sr=8-4

Depressions Dream…#161

 

The grip of depression is at all

times lingering ; it lives in a

high dark corner of the mind;

bundling despair and hopelessness.

Its victims sit and wait, mind

wandering, in this place with no

windows .  Does depression find the

moaning of God’s lost flock real,

their distant cries resonates within

the living lost; do not ask depression

to stay, sit in silence until it decides

to goes away.

 

Depression works hard keeping

madness in control when the sun

goes down, like a shepherd it does

not rest! In the night, the moaning

of Gods flock becomes louder; as

the lost flock feels its limbs take

root in a barren land. It does not

rain on them and they cannot

grow; looking like bent grass where

they lay, Freedom is not theirs.

 

Who, tired of knocking at the

Golden door, they leave friends

and family behind. Most are

doomed; it takes heaven-sent

moments to be pulled from the

murk and mire of hopelessness.

Depression shouts at the lights

of goodness; it is cloaked in grey

and will drown those who listen

in its dark and dingy place. In the

grip of depression, the mind

wanders, sits behind shadowed

glass and refuses to retreat.

 

Depression is like leaning backward

in a meditative dream, it has no

eyes to see the moonlit stream. It

dances in a dark field that yields

no fruit, it is frail-leafed, and it has

not a word of good to speak. While

back in the barren land black-winged

swallows, haunt the mind, scarlet

patches shreds of gray, waiting for

the spark from heaven to fall. Yet,

depression continues in its dream,

while waiting for the marker to be

placed on the unknown grave.

 
©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

Author’s books at Amazon.com and Barnes & Nobel.com

What is it to Grow Old…#160

Watching the body lose its shape, the eyes no

longer sparkle, becoming smaller.  Strength

disappears, limbs grow stiff, and every

function less accurate and every fiber of

one’s being frail and overwrought with life.

 

Life is not what in our youth we dreamed

it would be! The aging was not to be mellow

and soft as the sunsets glow, these golden

days’ decline with a hurried speed.

 

To see the world from a pinnacle with creative

eyes, a heart deeply moved. Yet we mourn to

feel and see the past, the years that are gone

forever.

 

Being old is to spend long days not once

believing that we were ever young. Confined

in the cold prison of living day to day with

weary pain.  It is to suffer, being only half

of what we use to be; feeble are many who

are hidden away. Remembrance gone, no

emotion, no life.

 

This is the last stage of life, frozen within

ourselves, soon to be an empty ghost; whom

do we blame?

 

 

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

Back to Another Time…#159

One of my first “remembrances’” at the age of four is sitting on top of an old yellow dog as he lay in our front yard on bare ground. I can close my eyes and smell the lilac bush at the end of our front porch, at night its fragrance would drift into the open windows. I would play in that red Alabama dirt all day long with a coffee can and a big wooden spoon. The house had two rooms and plank floors; the outside was nothing but plywood painted gray. The windows keep us cool in summer and newspaper glued to the walls kept it warm in winter. My sister and I shared one room with our great-grandmother “Ma”, the “front” room is where mother and daddy slept, it held the table and chairs and a wooden cook stove. A long handmade table was to prepare meals and wood crates nailed to the wall above the table held dishes of every variety; the cast iron skillets and pots sat on the back of the stove. Yes, we were country folk, sharecroppers!

Daddy would pick me up saying, “suppertime”. I love cornbread, Pinto beans and buttermilk to this very day. After supper he or my sister would wash me up and put me to bed, as farmers we went to bed when the night was hanging behind Burleson Mountain; a black curtain backdrop in eastern sky; they would get up before the blazing hot sun of summer rose in the morning, the Mountain kept the house cool until noon.

My mother worked in the Goodyear Mill at night before attending “beauty school” during the day, with no sleep; she wanted to be a beautician. She rode an old bicycle the five miles in the dark to where she would catch a bus to the Mill, she then walked to the Beauty School, took the bus home, it dropped her off after dark and she rode the bicycle five miles home. She slept a few hours then repeated the schedule. I rarely saw my mother, maybe on Sundays, but then she was busy getting ready for the week to come. My mother was an extraordinary individual, she hated being poor, but she loved the young Chickasaw sharecropper she was married too. When my sister got old enough to be, alone she set about planning her future.

 

 

©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree
Author’s books at Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com

To The Beginning Writer…#156

Image result for writing images

I do believe that I may finally be on the “mend”! The second surgery in three weeks was beginning to show progress. Then, they removed the staples and the incision site opened (I know that you did not want to hear that information, but sh*t happens). I now wear a pump vacuum over the site until it heals from the inside out. Uncomfortable, yes, is it working, yes. Although I am not doing anything but sitting most of the time, I am getting in all my back reading and a bit of research.

 
One part of my research took me back to the fundamentals of writing. I believe that being a writer is all about continually evolving and improving. Sometimes it helps to start as if you have not written at all. Read your work, being a writer is about being an editor of your own work. It is essential, after writing something, to read it carefully, editing out typos and punctuation errors (I sometimes make this mistake after years of writing).

 
I personally find reading the words “aloud” as if I were reading the content for the first time helps. Wordy writing is a hallmark of amateur writers, so as a rule you should try to reduce the word count when you proof read. If a word does not need to be there, get rid of it. I have been guilty of this many times; I call it cleaning out the garbage. Use a grammar checker, if you use Microsoft Word as your word processor, there are a host of grammar checking features.

 
Take a course, its well worth investing in your writing skills if you are serious about being a writer. I took a course when I first begin to write at the University of Wisconsin, where the instructor told me that I was a storyteller, but needed to develop my own voice. In addition, I was to edit, edit, edit.

 
A little book called “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott was and still is my writer’s bible, my inspiration. Next, read Shrunk and White’s “Elements of Style”, it is essential to read what will help you avoid commonly made mistakes. Working with the public, I had two individuals that help me through the tough times. The first was my boss who gave me writing projects then covered the paper with “blue ink”, he continued patiently with me until I had the project correct. The second was my last boss before retirement that I worked ten years, he would write his projects and I would correct them and send a fresh copy back to him. He would sign and most times get a nice reward for my work. I never got upset at either; I was learning lessons that would take me down the path to writing. There is a huge amount to learn, I study the craft almost daily, but it is a very enjoyable journey.

 
©elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

Author’s books at Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com

https://www.amazon.com/Flying-Broken-Wings-Charlotte-Murphree/dp/1547051329/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1D1KFNDD17OYB&keywords=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&qid=1583695099&sprefix=elizabeth+ann+Johnson-murphree%2Caps%2C240&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.com/Passage-into-Madness-Frenzied-Activity/dp/1688948996/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1D1KFNDD17OYB&keywords=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&qid=1583696087&sprefix=elizabeth+ann+Johnson-murphree%2Caps%2C240&sr=8-2

https://www.amazon.com/Rhythm-Rhyme-Thoughts-decade-poetry/dp/1723433055/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1D1KFNDD17OYB&keywords=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&qid=1583696120&sprefix=elizabeth+ann+Johnson-murphree%2Caps%2C240&sr=8-4

https://www.amazon.com/Fragments-Time-Bits-Pieces-lived/dp/1981472142/ref=sr_1_5?crid=1D1KFNDD17OYB&keywords=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&qid=1583696152&sprefix=elizabeth+ann+Johnson-murphree%2Caps%2C240&sr=8-5

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Flying-Broken-Wings-Charlotte-Murphree/dp/1547051329/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1D1KFNDD17OYB&keywords=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&qid=1583695099&sprefix=elizabeth+ann+Johnson-murphree%2Caps%2C240&sr=8-1https://www.amazon.com/Passage-into-Madness-Frenzied-Activity/dp/1688948996/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1D1KFNDD17OYB&keywords=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&qid=1583696087&sprefix=elizabeth+ann+Johnson-murphree%2Caps%2C240&sr=8-2https://www.amazon.com/Rhythm-Rhyme-Thoughts-decade-poetry/dp/1723433055/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1D1KFNDD17OYB&keywords=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&qid=1583696120&sprefix=elizabeth+ann+Johnson-murphree%2Caps%2C240&sr=8-4https://www.amazon.com/Fragments-Time-Bits-Pieces-lived/dp/1981472142/ref=sr_1_5?crid=1D1KFNDD17OYB&keywords=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&qid=1583696152&sprefix=elizabeth+ann+Johnson-murphree%2Caps%2C240&sr=8-5

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&crid=1D1KFNDD17OYB&sprefix=elizabeth+ann+Johnson-murphree%2Caps%2C240&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_30

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&crid=1D1KFNDD17OYB&sprefix=elizabeth+ann+Johnson-murphree%2Caps%2C240&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_30

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&crid=1D1KFNDD17OYB&sprefix=elizabeth+ann+Johnson-murphree%2Caps%2C240&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_30

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&crid=1D1KFNDD17OYB&sprefix=elizabeth+ann+Johnson-murphree%2Caps%2C240&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_30

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&crid=1D1KFNDD17OYB&sprefix=elizabeth+ann+Johnson-murphree%2Caps%2C240&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_30

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&crid=1D1KFNDD17OYB&sprefix=elizabeth+ann+Johnson-murphree%2Caps%2C240&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_30

Generations of Secrets and Lies – Part 4 – #151

Generations of Secrets and Lies
by
Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree
Part 4
Story told by Great Grandmother-Mary Jane Overton – “Ma”

 
  “In 1850, my mother Sipsee gave birth to the only child she and Hawk would ever have, she names me Mary Jane. She never gave me an Indian name, or enroll me on the Chickasaw register. She might have been wrong in doing this; her thinking was that her daughter with a white name would have a chance to fit in a white world. This would cause a problem in the future, relatives tracing the heritage of our Native American ancestors would be impossible. The only proof that we existed would be the stories told to those who would listen. It was my mother’s way of trying to change in order to live in her new world. This change did not mean she had forgotten the old ways, she told me many stories of the simple life known by the tribe before the family was forced to go away. She gave me the knowledge of the Indian way and how to survive. She knew that Hawk my father would always possess the heart of a warrior and would never change”. Ma in telling the story remembered both of her parents; her eyes would glaze over with sadness when she talked about them.

 
Both Sipsee and Hawk were survivors in their own way. He in the ways of the land and playing the white man’s game to his own advantage. Yet, Sipsee knew survival meant to learn everything about the white people and their way of living. Sipsee wanted more for her daughter than always being afraid of separation from her family. Once when she ventured into town the general store proprietor asked her name, she told him Sipsee Over-Towne because they only had tribal names. He misunderstood and called it Overton. Sipsee decided when dealing with the white man she would use that name she would be Sipsee Overton. They were all Indian, dark skin, she tried to get Hawk to call himself a white man name, he would just walk away. Sipsee in time would know the word arrogant, in her own mind, this is what she thought of him and she would within time share these thoughts with Jane.

 
After a few years had passed, they had built a cabin, Sipsee worked for a farmwoman living on the edge of the forest. Jane would go with her every day, they would clean the house, cook and work outside when ask, for this she was paid only a few “cents” every day. She was a good woman and taught Sipsee to read and write, in turn she would teach Jane at night. Hawk began logging in the Black Warrior forest for a local lumber company. He worked for loggers that had their own team of horses.

 

OIPQJF8C52V
Soon after he got the new job, he told Sipsee that he was going on a hunting trip. He came home after two weeks; in his possession was a team of beautiful workhorses and he set in building himself a skid to haul logs. He told Sipsee he found them running wild and he had tamed them before coming back. Sipsee suspected some logger in the southern part of the state was missing his fine team of horses, she never question Hawk. She knew that it was wrong to steal, Hawk knew it was wrong to steal; but it would be wrong to go against Hawk.

 
Hawk became one of the best loggers in North Alabama. Another logger waged a bet with Hawk that his team could pull more weight with the loser forfeiting his skids and team to the winner. Hawk told Sipsee that he would soon be the owner of two teams and have someone working with him hauling logs, Sipsee again thought of him being arrogant. She silently did not approve of him taking a chance on losing their only means of making a living.

 
The day of the race many people gathered to see who would win. The skids were loaded the day before the race with an estimated equal amount of weight. Unknown to Hawk the middle of his skid had been added iron bars. Hawk, Sipsee and their young daughter Jane walked into the logging camp and Hawk began to hitch his team to the skid. He stood proudly behind his tame waiting for the shot he knew would soon ring out starting the race. Suddenly he was distracted with a familiar sound above him.

 
It was a large hawk circling above him, spreading his massive wings, his calls seems to be one of frantic warning. Hawk turned and looked at Sipsee; their eyes met and locked in some unknown fear. The shot from the pistol rang through the air, starting the race. Hawk’s command to his team sounded no less than one that would send men into battle. Hawk knew when his team lurched forward that he carried a larger amount of weight than had been agreed. This was no difficulty for Hawks team, within seconds they were side-by-side with the other team. Hawk pulled ahead he could see the bloody cuts on the backs of the other team left by the brutal lashing of a whip. He knew this torture must stop, he urged his team forward crossing the finish line.

 
     “The Injun won.” The first words heard from the crowd.

 

 

Hawk leapt from his skid and jumped onto the other skid throwing the man with the whip to the ground. He jerked the whip from him, beating him until he bore gashes like those on the horses. Hawk did not think of the danger and him doing such a thing, his thoughts were with the horses. Hawk then went to the horse’s one-b-one, speaking to them softly then walked back to his own team. Gasp from spectators feel the air when a pistol was drawn from the man on the ground bloodied by his own whip. Sipsee saw the anger on the man’s face, she focused on Hawk. Getting up from the ground where Hawk had left him the man pulled his pistol out firing it at Hawk until the chamber was empty. With his back covered with blood, Hawk continued to walk towards his team, he spoke gently in his own language to them then fell to the ground. Sipsee ran with Jane by her side, Hawk’s spirit was gone from him, his life had ended. The logger Wes McCartee had shot Hawk in the back.

 
     “Nobody will do anything to me; he is just another dead Injun.” Wes McCartee with a snarling smirk on his face yelled to the crowd.

 
Several of Hawks friends, Indian loggers, unhitched his team and placed his body on one of the horses on another Sipsee put her daughter Jane. Hawks friends held to his other horses, in no way was the white man going to get them. Sipsee could hear the people as she walked from the camp.

 
     “The dirty Injun’s should know better try to beat a white man”. Sipsee turned looking into the eyes of Hawks killer, she then turned to face the crowd saying; “You have not killed just another Indian or just another man. You have witnessed the murder of a proud Chickasaw warrior”.

 
Taking hold of the horse caring Hawks body Sipsee began walking the rutted road back into the forest where they lived. Several Indian families followed singing a song for the dead; it floated on the wind through the deep woods. Sipsee saw the hawk that soared above the team; she now believed it to be a sign. Hawk would be buried with his ancestral ceremony.

 
Sipsee decided to leave the forest. With the help of friends, she loaded the few possessions they had in an old two-wheel cart, hitched with two of Hawks horses. The would leave the world of heartache behind, they would have to live with their lives filled with secrets and lies.

 
She gave the remaining horses to Hawk’s closest friends, placing Jane up on the seat of the cart she pulled away never looking back. She took with her from the white woman who taught her English a letter of endorsement. She had told Sipsee both her and Jane would be allowed to work on the plantation of her sister. With her child the letter and all the courage she had, Sipsee moved further into central Alabama.

 
Author’s Note:
This facts of this story has two aspects, one is the presumed facts written from the annals of history; and second by the verbal history confident from the memory of Mary Jane Overton, proud Chickasaw.

Books by author at Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com…

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&i=stripbooks&crid=2BGV3NKK8VSOQ&sprefix=elizabeht+ann+johnson%2Caps%2C213&ref=nb_sb_ss_sc_1_18

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/elizabeth%20ann%20johnson%20murphree

41+X2DEZIpL._AC_US218_

Generations of Secrets and Lies – Part 3 – #151

Generations of Secrets and Lies
by
Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree
Part 3
Story told by Great Grandmother-Mary Jane Overton – “Ma”
    “My grandparents and those of my mother had been friends since their childhood years; they shared the same nightly fire on the trail that seems to have no end. They spoke often among themselves about what was happening in the strange land they were being taken too”. Ma swore many times that she would never be the captive of any white man.
Around many fires were Indian tribes from all of the Five Civilized Tribes, the greatest numbers being the Cherokee. Proud spirits of once great tribes were now faltering under degrading conditions. Soon, they had arrived in Arkansas; Sipsee would hear her mother speak about what was going to happen to them. Many people were contracting diseases that had no cure and the weather was becoming frigid, clothing worn was inadequate for the time of year and many elders’, young children and babies had already died.
The younger men talked of escaping. It was Hawk’s decision to be among those who would attempt return to their homeland in Alabama. The warriors, the men, their wives and children would escape. Hawk set with his family and the family of Sipsee around the fire on what would be their last night. He revealed to his family that he would leave after everyone had bedded down for the night, his mother feared for his life, yet his father understood of what his young son had to do.
“Being dead had to be better than living like animals herded into circles with soldiers guarding them”. Hawk said leaning close toward the families.

 

Image result for trail of tears images

 

In secret, he had sought out Sipsee and questioned her about her feelings for him. It was too late for courting rituals, or for Sipsee to be prepared by her mother to become a part of Hawks soul. The giving of gifts and of the special blessings of the elders would not take place.
Earlier when Fosee found Sipsee her thoughts was the same as his; he spoke to Sipsee’s father immediately. He wanted Sipsee to return to the homelands with him; both families agreed they should be together. Without ceremony, Sipsee and Hawk’s father blessed the merging of hearts. During the night when the fires were low, when the soldier were sleeping except for a few guards, a small band of men, women and children in the darkness of a moonless sky slipped away. They would never know if their families had paid for their freedom with their own lives.
A few families stayed together, many others ventured off to find their own place, maybe a new land. Hawk and Sipsee were among those going into Alabama. They hid among the tall bushes they passed along their way through the woods, always staying away from the open fields if possible. Finally, they made their home deep within the forest on the eastern edge of Alabama; living among a few Indians who was not forced to leave because of their decisions to live white gave them privilege to stay. Hawk and other warriors decided they must conform to some ways to remain free but in their hearts, the hate for the white people grew stronger.

OIP78V2848O
They built log cabins and were soon moving freely among the white settlers without consequence. Sipsee learn the English language from a nearby settler who hired her to clean and wash their clothes. Hawk learn the language from Sipsee but refused to speak it unless necessary to talk to a white person. Sipsee knew that times were changing and had the foresight to know it would become a white man’s world. Hawk did not approve of many things she would say, he would only look at her and try to keep his own dreams of the future alive within his spirit.

 

 

Author’s Note:
This facts of this story has two aspects, one is the presumed facts written from the annals of history; and second by the verbal history confident from the memory of Mary Jane Overton, proud Chickasaw.

Author’s Note: To be continued in Generations of Secrets and Lies – Part 4

©2020.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree

 

Books by author at Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com…

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=elizabeth+ann+johnson-murphree&i=stripbooks&crid=2BGV3NKK8VSOQ&sprefix=elizabeht+ann+johnson%2Caps%2C213&ref=nb_sb_ss_sc_1_18

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/elizabeth%20ann%20johnson%20murphree

Generations of Secrets and Lies – Part 2 …#150

Generations of Secrets and Lies
By
Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree
Part 2
Story told by Great Grandmother-Mary Jane Overton – “Ma”

 

“My father would tell me of his childhood and becoming a man in the Tribe. He went    on a vision quest as most Indian boys did as a part of their passage from boy to manhood. Early one morning his father took him to the edge of the forest to a familiar path they often walked. The path led toward what was known as the Mississippi River, and it was at the river’s edge he would stay without water or food for several days. A rule of the ritual. On the trail, he would see many signs of small animals; he walked by bushes where his favorite berries hung in abundance. Yet, he pushed his hunger out of his mind quickly moving down the well-worn path toward the river. When the path ended, he walked through the woods west”. Ma as she remembered.

OIPAK8L8WO8
Mississippi River

It was the middle of the day when he came into a clearing filled with tall golden grass. Laying down to rest a few minutes, he stared at the sky and the clouds. He picked out a cloud that the thought looked like his beloved grandfather; he studied it closely absorbed in its shape. The chiseled face with deep furrowed lines and long white hair cascading around strong shoulders, he drifted off to sleep when the sun became warm and welcoming. Waking to what he thought was the sound of his grandfather calling his name he realized that he had fallen asleep. The sun had moved into the western sky, he had to hurry. He walked, and then ran, pacing himself so he would be at the river before dark.

It was time for the sun to set when he stood before the bank of the river, he looked up and down the river, and the massive cliffs embraced the wide river on both sides. He then made several trips climbing to the flat surface of a big rock carrying wood and cedar branches gathered for his stay on the rock. He placed the rocks in a circle for his fire. When the fire was blazing and he had, many cedar branches to lie upon he sat looking into the fire watching the sparks float over the edge of the flat rock down the cliff into the river. He lean over as they drifted to the water then became lost in the darkness. When he was cold and tired, he moved closer to the fire listening to the familiar calls of the night until he fell asleep.

     “ My father loved nature, every morning he would meditate as the sun warmed his face and body; even as an adult continued this ritual letting his mind meld with his Soul’ continued”. Ma continued to gather her thoughts.

One day crept slowly into the next, on the third night the spirit of his grandfather came to him. His thoughts returned to the clouds that looked like the grandfather they now sat across from him. His grandfather silently stared into his eyes, penetrating his mind.

When the fourth day arrived, it would be his last night. He could no longer sleep, he lay on his bed of cedar watching visions float in front of him. Before dawn a magnificent hawk appeared. The hawk took his massive wing gliding it over the fire circle, when Fosee looked at the circle he found a rock missing. Pointing to what appeared to be the first rock of the circle the hawks; mind as one with Fosee’. As the hawk pointed he said, “This was the beginning of your life, you entered the world in peace”, then the hawk pointed to the last rock, “This is the end of your life’s circle, beware of the man who lives among the trees”. Fosee stared at the circle when he looked up the hawk was gone, as was his grandfather. He understood the message his grandfather and the hawk had given him; then he fell back asleep.

Black and White Hawk Drawings

     “My father would tell the story of his quest many times in his life”. Ma would say gently.

Fosee heard the screeching of a hawk then saw it fly directly in front of him as he walked down the path toward home. When he looked, there at the paths edge was his father. He stopped; staring in disbelief as the hawk came to rest on a piece of colored cloth wrapped around his father’s hand, and then flew away. He walked beside his father into the open Chukka yard knowing that his father was proud of him. His mother came out of their roundhouse saying his name softly, he was home, and he was safe. It was then that he told those gathering around him that from that day forward he would be known as Hawk. His father put his arm on his shoulder saying, “So you are no longer a Little Bird”.

His great tracking and hunting skills made even the eldest of the Tribe respected him. He went on Mock raids with his father, not to harm but to put fear into the white man. A source of humor to them, later the Warriors would mimic the terrifying looks of the faces of the white people as they sat around the fires at night reliving the raids.

“He would never change! My grandmother worked the gardens and gathered medicine herbs and roots with the other women; they too would discuss the white people. They were afraid that someday their men or sons would be caught and punished for their amusing antics. The white people coming into the lands were greater in numbers, Hawks mother worried for him and of how the change she knew was coming would affect him”. Ma wished she had known her grandmother, her father talked of her.

Sipsee was the young girl that would someday become Fosee’ wife she was named after the Cotton Wood Tree. No doubt, the beautiful white fine cotton like blooms of this tree that rained like snow inspired Sipsee mother or father in choosing her name. Sipsee had known Hawk since they were children playing in the Chukka yard. Her memories of Hawk went back many years; he would run up and down kicking up the dust playing on his imaginary horse. His long black hair flying in the wind, she remembers when he brought home his first deer and how proud he was of himself when he presented it to his mother. Sipsee would never forget the first time their eyes met across the glowing flames of the gathering fire in the Chukka yard and the lowering of hers in respect of his warrior status.

Sipsee with her dark amber skin, wide doe eyes and long silky black hair had been a source of interest to Fosee for many years. Before his eyes, he said that she had grown from a skinny weed into exquisite flower. She and her family were from a Cherokee Tribe. She in turn could only dream that someday the tall noble warrior would want her to walk with him through life.

“Then came the spring of 1838 and under the brutal forced march perpetrated by the United States government they were removing Hawk, Sipsee and their families from their ancestral lands . Many sold the land they lived on to the white man; others were forced off their land. My mother, father and their parents were among those forced from their land on the western edge of north Alabama”. Ma sat not showing any emotions, but her eyes burned with hate.

 

 

Author’s Note:
This facts of this story has two aspects, one is the presumed facts written from the annals of history; and second by the verbal history confident from the memory of Mary Jane Overton, proud Chickasaw.

 

 

Author’s Note: To be continued in Generations of Secrets and Lies – Part 3
©2020.elizabethannjohnsonmurphree