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Saturday, May 8, 2010


It's Mother's Day. My own mother's spirit has long since traveled to that Land which knows no shadow. I know she waits for me there with Sooner, the wolf-dog that once roamed the hills with Mother when she was a young girl.

When Mother visited the harsh home from which she had been taken to spend years in an orphanage, she was surprised her beloved Sooner was still alive. No other human could approach her.

But when Mother kneeled in front of her, Sooner laid her big head in Mother's lap. The wolf-dog finally felt the soft fingers stroke her that she had waited years to feel again. Sooner let out a long, slow sigh. And then, she died.

In my worldview, Sooner went to where she sat in that Land Of No Shadows with wagging tail until Mother walked up to her to kneel once again and hug that big head.

Yes, it is Mother's Day. What do I give? And to whom? I am a story teller. And so I give to all of you a story Mother told me as my double pneumonia grew worse, and the winter shadows deepened in our basement apartment without power. It comes from my Native American/Celtic fantasy THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS. But the teaching tale is my mother's.

The adult Hibbs looked at the pond beside which Estanatlehi, the Turquoise Woman stood. She looked at him expectantly. What was she waiting for?

And then, Hibbs smiled. He knew that look. She expected him to remember. And with that very thought, he did. Time once again reached out from his mind and drew the bear back into his wondrous, seemingly endless, days as an innocent, ever curious, cub.

In the crisp memory, whose embrace swallowed him whole, he was kneeling on the sandy bank of the Snaking River, deep within the deadly wilderness of the Valley of the Shadow. And once again he was staring into the reflection of his river face and wondering if it lived its own life deep underneath the silver glass of the still waters.

Suddenly, a rock was tossed into the middle of the river-face, blurring it in spreading ripples which pushed out one after another, and Hibbs heard the soft voice of GrandMother.

“Always in circles. Never in squares.”

The startled cub bounded to his furry feet and turned around, happiness quickly replaced by nose-wrinkling puzzlement. “What?”

Tall, regal, Estanatlehi walked with the grace of the wind itself given form right up to Hibbs. “The ripples, Little One. You have never seen a square one, nor will you ever. Why do you think that is?”

Hibbs’ nose wiggled in hard thought until, right shoulder hunched up a bit, just in case he was guessing wrong, said, “B-Because that is the nature of ripples?”

Estanatlehi sighed, “The story of your life, O Slow of Thought.”


She laughed soft. “You are both right and wrong. The nature of Life itself is a circle, Little One.”

Hibbs’ mouth dropped. “Truly?”

Long, icy fingers ruffled the fur atop his small head as whisper-soft laughter swept along above him by the breath of the winds themselves. “Truly.”

“Look up to Giizi, the sun. And remember my moon? See younder the rainbow, half hid by the tree-filled horizon. And think back on our trip to the StarMountain Olympus, where you saw my world in all its beauty and majesty. All are round, like the great hurricane you rode over in my arms last moon.”

Hibbs shivered at the memory. “S-So the circle is the way of Life?”

Slender fingers tweaked his nose gently. “Wiser than you know. From childhood to childhood are the days of all Two-Leggeds. The winter flows from spring to summer to autumn back to winter once more. As my world is a circle, so is all Life.”

Cold lips kissed the top of his little head. “Mystery explained.”

Once more back in the present, Hibbs sighed deep, his muzzle wrinkled in a smile of happy remembrance. "Mystery explained."

Estanatlehi stiffened, her own eyes going back into the mists of the past, finding both solace and loss in the journey.


May all of you find solace in your memories today and in the days to come.

Roland, a grateful son.


  1. Nice post Roland - I enjoyed the story. Your mother sounds like a special lady.

  2. I like this post. An incredible tale your mother told.

  3. Roland, I am saddened to hear your mother now walks in a land which knows no shadows.

    May you both meet again, someday. Many many many years from now.

  4. It seems you have inherited your love and respect for animals from your mother. Your mother was a very honorable person just like you seem to be. I am sorry you have to miss her so soon in this life.

  5. What a great tribute to your mother. I hope you have lots of good memories.

  6. Hi

    thank you for this wonderful gift. It's a beautiful evocative story and made me smile - particularly as I am "slow-of-thought" at the best of times!


    Happy Mother's Day

    Take care

  7. Roland, I'm sorry your mother is no longer with you. Their stories and the lessons they taught us (sometimes on in the same) are what make us who we are.

  8. thank you, bro roland, and may blessings to you and yours

    may memories of your mom bring you peace this day...

    i lost mine to alzheimer's years ago, then my sis to cancer, followed by my dad to congestive heart disease... leaving me as sole survivor of that immediate family, though her children and mine are well

  9. argh! i typed 'many' and it came out 'may'... sorry :(

  10. Your mother taught you well to appreciate life and all creatures. This was an enjoyable story. She would be pleased with you Roland. You do her spirit justice.

    I really liked the video. The soothing music, the slides - I've got to get that on my MP3 so I can listen to it at work; when I'm the most stressed.

    Thanks for sharing both the story, and the memory of your mother.


  11. Well, I hope all my friends had lovely Mother's Day. It is the witching hour now, and the shadows draw close as if seeking the warmth of my thoughts.

    Jemi : My mother was indeed special. And thanks for liking my story.

    Michelle : Thanks, too, for liking my story. And my mother could spin a tale in the shadows like few I know.

    Wendy : Thanks for caring. And yes, Mother and I will meet again in that Land that knows no shadows. I look forward to you re-entering fully the world of blogs. Thanks for sticking your head in and saying HI.

    S.M. : Thanks for being so compassionate. It's one of your best traits. Gyspy is having doubts about my respect for her : I'm not giving her bits of her chicken finger fast enough. I get three. Gypsy gets one. Hey, I'm bigger than she is. And I drove to Raising Cain's.

    Kazzy : Thanks for your comments here and on my other posts. They mean so much to me. And yes, I have many happy memories.

    Old Kitty : You are not slow of thought nor am I. We both are just steady and measured. My surpervisor says if I was any more steady, I'd be a still photograph. Freddie's a good friend.

    Anne : Your praise is deeply appreciated as always. Don't be a stranger.

    Theresa : As Mother once told me long ago, tapping my chest and my heart : "As long as I live here and there, I will never be far from you, little one." May your Mother's Day have been a wondrous thing.

    Mary : That you think my stories wonderful means a lot to me.

    Laughing Wolf : The cancer that attacked Mother's brain robbed me of her slowly as your mother was taken slowly from you. And I, too, alone remain of my entire family -- no extended family. I am the last Yeomans of this branch. But Sandra, my best friend, says God saved the best for last. And that goes for you as well, good friend.

    Donna : Your kind and wise comments here and on my other posts are beacons in the dark night for me. Thanks for saying I did her spirit justice. My eyes got wet.

    Isn't that tune by Vangelis beautiful? When Hurricane Lilly was rattling the blood center as Freddie and I stood lone duty guarding the place, I played that tune in a loop while reading Psalm 91. And The Father's Hand nudged the hurricane from its prior direct path to Lake Charles. With Hurricane Rita, He just cranked down the volume to something that didn't wipe us out completely. So we'd not take Him for granted, don't you know.

    I was happy that you didn't mind me sharing my story or my memory of my mother. Have a good night's sleep.

    Gypsy just laid her paw on my left leg with a sigh. She wants the rest of her chicken finger. May this week hold only happy surprises for us, Roland

  12. Roland:

    Mesmerizing! Your talent pours from the screen.


  13. Hi Roland .. I loved this story of mothers and our circles of life .. great story telling - thank you .. Hilary