Thursday, June 17, 2010

Native American Story

So I was looking through some of my old writing and I found a story I wrote for a college course in Native American Religion. I am posting it today to share with those willing to read it. The story is called Dyami. Enjoy!

In the beginning there was only darkness…

And then a mighty firebird rose from the depths of the Underworld. Its fiery wings sprawled across the blackness and created light. The flames fell down on the Earth, scorching it and creating huge ravines in the landscape. These chasms filled with water and became the rivers and oceans of the world. The smoke from the flames rose and caused enormous thunderclouds to fill the sky. The rain came down, the dry and cracked earth drank it up, singing praises to the Rain Gods above. The phoenix heard the cries and was so overjoyed that it plucked one of its tail feathers out. The feather floated down to the Earth and settled there. From that spot all the grasses, trees, and mountains of the world sprang up and moved with an inner spirit. The Earth raised its voice in joy and sang to honor the great firebird. The phoenix heard the Earth’s song and was so moved that it cried out in delight. When that crystal tear splashed against the Earth’s surface, all the Animal People of the world sprang up and were filled with the breathe of life. The firebird looked down upon the land and saw the wind blowing through the trees and the grasses, it saw the Animal People running, jumping, and swimming, and it saw the wind move through everything, filling every being with the spirit of life. The phoenix saw that the world was complete and soared into the sky, it flew so high that it was frozen in the air and became the sun and the moon, the main source of light in this new world.
There were all sorts of Animal People in this world. The Horse People were swift runners, strong but kind hearted. They were gentle beings would grazed on grasses and drank from the streams. There were Wolf People, fiercely loyal to each other, fast hunters, and silent stalkers. They were predators but they never killed more than they could eat and prowled the forests and tundra’s of the world. There were Insect People, Whale People, and Beaver People. All the animals of the world were also people, they all had their own unique qualities and all roamed a certain part of the land. The Eagle People were the most respected of all the animals. They had the keenest eyes that could see for miles and flew high in the sky, closest to the Sun God and the Great Spirits of the Sky. All of the Eagle People were brave, all except for Dyami.
Dyami was a young Eagle brave who was the son of Tala, the Wolf Eagle, and Len, the Lion-Hearted Eagle. When Dyami was just a baby, there had been a terrible fire in his village. The young eaglet was playing in his hut when the bright ball of fire soared into the air and through the hut’s smoke hole. The flame burnt Dyami’s left wing, scarring him for life and making him afraid of fire. Since his fear was so deep, Dyami refused to fly, for fear of getting too close to the Sun God and being burnt alive. All the other Eagle braves teased and tormented Dyami, making fun of his burnt wing with its ugly, matted together feathers, calling down their taunts as they flew high above his head. Lost his is isolated world, Dyami despaired and grew lonely.
“I will never be able to hunt for myself or find a wife. My fear is too strong and no woman would love a man with such an ugly wing. I must pray to Father Eagle above and see what I must do to overcome this fear.”
So Dyami went out and gathered many cedar branches and stripped them of their needles. Then he gathered branches from the ash tree, the strongest wood known to the People. After his tasks were completed, Dyami sent out one hundred paces to the East, towards the home of the Gods. It was here that he drew a sacred circle in the earth and set his branches and needles down in the centre of the circle. Dyami took out his flint and started a small fire before sitting with his back to the West, facing the East. Softly he began to chant, praying to the Father Eagle above, asking for guidance, and breathing in the sweet, cleansing smell of cedar.
Four days and four nights passed. At the end of each night, Dyami threw dirt on his fire to put it out, lay down from north to south, his eyes staring towards the home of the Gods. Every morning, Dyami rose with the sun, started his fire, and began to chant again. Late evening on the fourth night, a voice spoke to him.
“You must travel east, my child,” said the voice. “First, you must gather plenty of cornmeal and a canteen of water, for your journey will be long and dangerous. Then you must build a medicine lodge and cleanse your body. After you have completed these tasks, you must walk to the home of Chenoa, the White Dove. Once you reach her home, I will appear to you again and help you on your quest.” A loud peel of thunder filled the air, snapping Dyami from his trace. With his instructions floating around his mind, Dyami put out his fire and hurried back to his home. There he found his mother, Tala waiting for him. Dyami told his mother what he heard and she agreed to help him build his medicine lodge.
Four days later, the lodge was complete. Dyami gather a large about of dead brush, twigs, and logs to build a large fire with. He prayed for guidance and sang a sacred song of cleansing as he prepared the lodge. Once his fire was going, Dyami shut the smoke hole of the lodge and sat facing the east wall. Soon acrid smoke filled the hut, stinging Dyami’s eyes and making his nose itch, yet he sat as still as a stone. Sweat began to drip down his face and body, glistening in the firelight. He closed his eyes and began to sing. He sang about clear rivers and the morning sky. Dyami sang about the sun, the moon, and the stars, which were the eyes of the Spirits. He sang and sweated his heart filling with joy. Hours passed quickly and suddenly a warm glow filled Dyami’s whole being, lighting up his spirit and he knew he was cleansed. Quickly he washed away the sweat with cedar water, put out the fire, and sang a prayer of thanks. Dyami exited the medicine lodge and walked to his house. Tala greeted him there and gave him a large pouch full of corn meal. His father, Len, handed Dyami a canteen filled with sweet water from the streams. Since the sun was setting, Dyami decided to stay the night before setting off at sunrise to start his journey. He slept peacefully and for the first time did not dream of the night the fire burned him.
With the sunrise, Dyami stood outside his parent’s hut and hugged them goodbye. They whispered words of love and advice before watching their son set off on his long journey. Dyami walked briskly, his pouch of corn meal around his waist, his canteen slung over one shoulder, and a strong stick of cedar slung across his back. He walked East, under the morning sky, feeling at peace with nature and the world. For many days and nights he walked, each night he tried to find a safe place to sleep under the stars. On the first night Dyami slept under a cedar tree near a brook but after that the landscape grew sparse and he could hear other animals, predators prowling during the night. Dyami was not afraid, he knew that Father Eagle was guiding him and protecting him. Still he traveled weary and running low on food when at last he reached a large white ash tree in the middle of the desert. Dyami knew in his heart that this must be the home of Chenoa, the White Dove. There he sat, sipping his water and waited for Father Eagle to guide him once more.
“Who are you, young one?” called a strange voice. Dyami looked up and saw a small white dove seating on a branch above him.
“My name is Dyami, of the Eagle People. I prayed to Father Eagle to guide me and help me find the courage to fly. He told me to find the home of Chenoa, the white dove, and then he would speak to me again.”
“I am Chenoa…tell me, my child, why are you afraid to fly?” the dove fluttered down and perched on a branch closer to Dyami. She was beautiful with pure white feathers and soft, soulful eyes. Dyami felt his heart lighten just from the sight of this small white dove. He told her the story of the village fire and when she asked, shamefully showed her his burnt wing. Dyami told Chenoa about how the other Eagles teased and tormented him and how he wished for the courage to fly, to be brave and face his deepest fear. After he was finished with his story, Dyami noticed that the sun had set. Chenoa told him to rest, that all would be clear in the morning. Exhausted from his long journey, Dyami fell into a dreamless sleep.
“Awake Dyami, awake and be free,” a soft voice whispered. Startled Dyami opened his eyes to find Chenoa staring at him with her jet black eyes. Dyami stretched and yawned. His eyes drank in the landscape, the bare desert, the white ash tree, the small dove hovering above his head. He gave Chenoa a curious look, she was pointing at his left wing. Slowly Dyami looked at his wing and gasped with surprise. His scar was gone and the feather looked shiny and handsome.
“How did this happen?” Dyami asked.
“Last night while you slept, Father Eagle came and healed your wing. Dyami, you are very brave. You crossed many miles to find my tree and were surrounded often by predators. Yet, you never gave in to your fear because you knew that Father Eagle was protecting you. Dyami, you overcame your fears and because of your courage, Father Eagle healed you. You will be able to fly now and you will be the highest, swiftest Eagle in your tribe. First, I will gather food and water for you, to help you on your return journey.”
Dyami was shocked; he could not believe that he was finally healed or that he could fly. While Chenoa was gathering food and water, Dyami tried to test his wings. At first he was afraid but then he remembered the journey he took and started to flap up and down. After four tries, Dyami finally got off the ground. Within moments he was soaring above the earth, laughing and singing with joy. Chenoa heard his laughter from the river and looked up. When she saw Dyami flying high in the sky, she fell in love with him and knew she would be his wife. After Dyami landed, Chenoa ran to him and embraced him. He knew what she had seen and how she felt, so he sang a song of great joy. Together, they rested beneath the ash tree and with a peal of thunder, the Father Eagle appeared.
“My children, I see the love you have for one another and I bless you as man and wife. You must fly back to the Eagle tribe. There you will live with my blessing and protection for the rest of your days.” Dyami sang a song of praise to Father Eagle and kissed his wife. Together they flew up to the sky and started on the journey back to the Eagle tribe.
Tala was watching the eastern sky when she saw two shadows headed towards the valley of the Eagle tribe. She knew in her heart that it was her son returning from his quest. Tala shouted to her husband, Len and together they flew to greet the exhausted Dyami. The family called to each other, flying in circles around each other, happy to see their son safe. They greeted their daughter-in-law, Chenoa with joy and love. Together the family lived out their days under the loving protection of Father Eagle, until they passed on and joined the ancestors in the sky.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fun with Photo Editing

Recently I discovered a really fun photo editing website: This site allows you to edit, sharpen, and add effects to any of your photos (or the site's sample pictures). The effects include HDR, changing a picture to black & white or sepia, focal black & white, and many more. Do not get me wrong, I like my photo editing software but I am not 100% confident on how to use all the effects and tools of the software. Picnik offers a simple, quick, and easy way to add cool effects to any of your pictures. So far I have only played around with a few of my pictures, I am hoping to get used to the website before I really dive in. Here are a few of my photo edited pictures. Thanks for looking and feel free to tell me what you think.

HDR on some old, classic cars.

And some pictures with focal black and white:

And the last one is for my hubby, who idealizes Captain America:


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Back to Blogging

So I guess I took a blog-cation (vacation from blogging). I never used to have trouble writing in a journal every day or even once a week. But for some reason blogging is harder for me. I always worry no one will find my post interesting or exciting. Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking and want to share my ideas once more. Even if there is no one listening, sometimes it is just nice to vent.

So...this past week was April Vacation for schools and I had time to relax, study, visit some friends, and even went to NYC with my mom. It was a lot of fun seeing her and she took me shopping for spring/summer clothes (which was really nice). The weather was fair mostly, we did have to hike back from shopping in the rain. The second day we went to Central Park and the Fric Museum, which is literally this guy's house full of old art and other elements he had collected during his life time. It was really interesting. When I got back I went down to Connecticut to visit a friend who is having triplets sometime this summer. She looks amazing and it was nice to visit and see her house for the first time.

Now April vacation is winding down and I am actually looking forward to returning to work. With my hubby working his new full time job (woot) we decided that I should leave my retail job and spend more time focusing on obtaining my teacher's license and housework. So now I will have more down time and hopefully post more often. My goal for the spring/summer is to take a water color painting course, I miss painting. I am hoping to learn enough to know how to turn some of my digital pictures into water colors. But for now, house work calls. I will leave you with a picture of some beautiful tulips I saw in Central Park.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Playing Catch-Up

I realize I am severely behind in this whole blogging thing. Life got in the way, as it sometimes does. So I have been at my new job for three weeks, almost a whole month. I really enjoy it! Sometimes I feel like a human pinball but at least I am working. The job started off as a three-times a week gig but they often ask me to come in for the other two days to help out in special education classes or inclusion classes. This creates a good working relationship with the special education teachers and their students. It also helps me get to know the students, learn how to help them and what buttons they like to push (lol). I am enjoying this job and I am much happier to be busy and working. The school offers a summer program as well, which I will be applying for. I am hoping to obtain one the positions because the summer program starts in July, which will give me June to continue working at my retail job part time yet take the weekends to celebrate my wedding anniversary (June 6th), go up to Maine, or just relax.

Life continues to go well. I went out last weekend (for getting a nasty head cold) and took some nice pictures at our local nature reserve. I am hoping to have the chance to post them soon. Hubby and I are also planning a get together for the friends in May. I look forward to spring and summer, hopefully having a little more free time to write, take pictures, and maybe even taking a fun course in water color painting or pottery.

Hope all is well.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Good News!

The following is a true story.
Working retail you met all sorts. Polite customers, funny people, rude folks, people buying all our discount stuff, people who call to complain about the way you looked at them or did not bag their stuff fast enough. The world is full of strange people but last night something amazing happened.

Another associate and myself were standing up front, talking, and attempting to stay sane on a typical slow weeknight. Suddenly an older gentleman approached us, smiling. He handed the other associate a money clip (with several dollars in it) and told us he had found it in the parking lot. He admitted that there was not much money in the clip, but the clip was really nice. He felt bad for whoever had lost it. As he turned to walk away we both thanked him sincerely. It felt really good to know that there are still nice people in the world. It really made my night.

In other news: I got a job! I will be working as a Curriculum/Special Ed sub three or four times a week. Today was my first day and everything went well (despite the fact I was late). The students were mostly well behaved and stayed on task (even for a sub). I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to working in education again. And now it is time for my class.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010


So yesterday due to the snow storm, my evening class was canceled. I decided to be productive, I did housework and studied for my MTEL. When my husband called to say he had to catch a later train, I even broke out my camera. The good people of my town probably thought I was crazy, I got some really neat pictures. I love watching the snow fall and gather on tree branches, so I have an excess of snowy tree pictures, but I also tried to expand my horizons and shoot some creative, new pictures. The pictures follow, I hope people enjoy them.

Okay enough branches, here is some other pictures I took around the town.

As you can see I am trying to learn more about negative space. It is a technique I need to improve on, but I really like how these pictures turned out.

And finally a picture I like to call "Soviet Russia Self-Portrait"

Enjoy! This Friday hubby and I are going to New York to visit with my parents. I am hoping to get some good city photos to share with you all. Have a lovely day!


Friday, February 5, 2010

Photo Friday: Black and White

I love my camera. I just wish I could motivate myself to use it more. This week I took in to my graduate school with me and took some really nice shots before and after class. One of my favorite things about my camera is that I can change the setting and shoot in Black and White or Sepia. These are a few of my favorite black and white shots I took this week. Enjoy!

Good Luck Cat:
This little guy usually sits on my desk, collecting coins. I took this picture to kind of mentally prep myself. I want better luck this month, in everything I do. I had a really good interview and I am keeping my fingers crossed. The next two pictures of some cool looking trees on campus, both taken in black and white

The next shot is of an old house that I pass by on my way to campus. I tried to snap a real quick picture (while stuck in traffic), sadly the light post got in the way but I still like the look of this picture.

The final picture is my attempt at night photography, something I really want to improve on.

Thanks for looking and have a great weekend.