The Sky Inside Nina’s Heart

One of the men thanked the crowd for attending the performance and then announced that “We will leave now.” Of Native heritage, the three men beautifully portrayed the Nations through moving, haunting, and memorable melodies. The harmonics delicately although deeply touched the heart, mind and soul. Musically, the histories were spoken through various instruments such as, the whistle, shakers, flutes, and mouth harps accompanied by incredible background music; and then, from time to time, smoky words realized illusions.

With exception to the whistle, which was tin, every instrument consisted of a wooden, or, bone construction. Including one mouth harp, extending the entire body of its performer. Obviously, everyone enjoyed the performances. Powerful.

On that day and in addition to the pleasantry, the wonder, the kinship that I experienced, for, I, in part, am of Native heritage, always, something has lived with me.

A child of about three years old walked over to the group; the men busied by breaking down the equipment. Standing near the performer who thanked the crowd, the girl’s face glowed. “Hello,” she said, looking up at the big man. Turning to see her, “Hello, ‘Little One,’” the big man returning a smile. “I love you,” she said, beaming with a light that almost dulled the sunny day. Greatly pleased and surprised, he said, “You do?” Shaking her head “Yes” the girl walked closer to the man, while reaching out her tiny hand. Accepting the child’s soft, gentle hand, he searched the crowd, asking, “Where are your parents, Little One?”

Slightly turning and pointing, “My Mommy is right there,” she said. Meeting her mother’s glance, the man smiled, rocking his head hello. Mommy returns the gesture. Bending toward the child, the man asked, “And what is your name?” “Nina.”  “Tell me, Nina, what is your favorite thing about outside?” Looking upward, she points, saying, “The sky.” The glow inside Nina’s eyes and the smile on her pretty face increase, and the performer, says, “I am going to write a song that has your name in it, and it will be about all things living inside the sky, OK?” “OK,” she grins.

Mommy at Nina’s side: The man asks, “Mommy, may I contact you whenever the song is ready?” the man asks. Welcoming the consideration, and then smiling while extending her hand, “Thank you; and I am Laura.” Hello, Laura, I am Little Bear.”

Weeks later, as he sits thinking, Nina’s sweet face touches Bear. The grassy hillside feels soft and the man sometimes retires here, overnight. The river rushes with clean, clear water, and from time to time a big one leaps from the water and into the air. The trees seem to whisper old secrets; about lovers, tragedy and dreamers of long ago. Above him: The Sky Mother; watching, protecting and securing all things. Little Bear loves this spot, this place and this town; and he has lived here for his entire life. Both the his promise to and the child stay with Bear and this moment his face fills with light.

Slowly, a melody stirs him and he feels it. All in nature speak to the big man, and of course, inside his heart lives the sky. The melody for this theme is one of great joy; although embraced by a pleasant sadness. A melancholy blend but Bear knows this concoction well, too well. This type of melody mothers him, holds him, closely, and to its breasts.

After three days the lyrics are ready, but for the music Bear seeks the help of his fellow group members. The men produce a work that surprises even him, and then staring deeply into the pages, he utters, “This one is special.” Recalling that Nina had said that the sky lives inside her heart; this, Bear thinks, has a good feel to it. “The Sky Inside Nina’s Heart.” The men agree on the song title and then begin studio productions of the work.

One day, Nina’s Mommy receives a telephone call from Little Bear; and he invites her and Nina to the performance. “Nina and you will be up front, close to us and me, Ok?” “Great!” says Laura. “I’ll tell her, she’ll be sooo happy!” Oh, thank you, so much,  Bear!” “We’ll be there, can’t wait!”

Nina and her Mommy attend, and as promised are close to the performers, except and even to Mommy’s surprise, Little Bear introduces Nina to the crowd; telling it that she inspired the song. “The Sky Inside Nina’s Heart,” he says, “is forever dedicated to this special child.” Holding Nina in his arms, Bear says, “I love you, ‘Little One.’”  With a big hug, “I love you too.”

An old man wakes to find a strange woman seated near his bedside. His liver and he are dying. Something about the woman feels familiar, but Little Bear says nothing. Touching his hands, she says, “Hello, it has been a long time, Bear, do you remember me?” Nina was a teenager the last time they spoke, however, her eyes and voice, now, brighten his face. In a weakened voice, “‘Little One?’”

Leaning in and wrapping her arms around the dying man, “Yes.” “I am sorry…” Tears wetting her face. Bear feels her sadness and then, momentarily, joy energizes him. “You are a strange one, my child, for I have known no other sharing sadness and joy as I do but you.”

Something inside Nina’s eyes speaks to him; and the old man has known these feelings since she was a child, since they first met. As she aged: Bear began to see him in the child; however, and although he wanted to know, could never intrude in such a way. Inside him, believably, Nina is his daughter. His love for her could never exceed the love he knew from the fist day, none is greater. “My final moments smile because you are with me, “My” Daughter.” (Nina tears.)

Embracing tightly, closely, they share the song and as the melody warms them, Bear becomes cold. Singing, Nina buries her face inside his chest and then cries in a way only he could share.

Four years after Little Bear’s death, Nina’s Mom dies; and as a sorrowful daughter attends the hurtful tasks of inspecting and cleaning, she finds a document. Reading it, the startled woman learns that her Mom used an agency to assist with pregnancy; this is puzzling and the gasping woman sits, to catch her breath.

“Why?” she thinks, “would Mom do something like this, why?” The street address is local and the agency continues to operate. A few short rings and a woman answers the telephone. After a series of questions, finally, and although unusual, the person agrees to help with identification of the sperm donor. Within the week Nina receives a Certified Letter.

The sperm donor is a Mr. Nigel Clayton Leaks. Naturally, the name means nothing to Nina, after all, and all her life, she has known nothing of her true father. The document includes miscellaneous information, such as Race, Tribe, and Tribal Name. With big eyes and racing heart: Nina is incredulous of what she reads. The man is identified as Blackfeet and his tribal name is “Little Bear.”

“What?” “Little Bear?” Mom never told me…(Laura never knew the donor, the law restricted this information.) Of course, it could be any Little Bear but something inside her assures Nina of her thinking. She has things that Bear gave her and his DNA has to be on them. She would have the test done. Within the month proof arrives and (in fact) Little Bear was her biological father. Nina, although sad, feels elated because she loved Bear and who else would better be her Daddy. “Joy, sometimes, arrives in bundles of sadness.” Anxiously: She would change her surname.

Six months later: Nina drives to a town about ten miles south of her residence and then finds a quiet spot to relax, think. The news about Bear significantly changed her life; knowing the truth of whom she is and the totality of her ancestry, pleases her; her Mom always told Nina of their Seminole heritage and now she has more, much more. Spotting a good place to relax Nina safely parks the car, inside an elbow, and off the road. As the weary woman strolls across the highway, something about this place feels familiar.

Here: The rushing river, with clear and clean water, the whispering trees and above her, the Sky Mother; oh, and look, from time to time, a big one leaps out the water and into the air. Reclining, right there, on the soft grassy hillside, Nina thinks of Little Bear-“Daddy.” Sadly smiling, she hums “The Sky Inside Nina’s Heart.” Tired, worn and missing Mom and now, too, her Dad, she feels everything surrounding her. The affects of inspiration swelling her chest: briefly, the old woman energizes; and as the trees tickle her with tales of long ago, happily, and for the last time, Nina closes her eyes…incoherently, “My final moments smile… because… you are with me, my Father…”

Epilogue

The powers in Nature, truly, mystify: Without knowing: A father and daughter are united although for the while, truth remained hidden from them; yet, and before her death, a newly found truth connects a woman to her entire heritage.

This joy delivered by sadness is genetically and eternally shared with a Mom who the woman has ever known and a Dad found and then lost before she could know him; although, and for most of her life, she (has known and) loved him.

This tale forever lives as told to me by my mother; the melodies Nina heard that day and the song written for her wake, walk with and then lull me, to sleep. Nina died more than ten years ago; and proudly, I say, she was my grandmother.

(c) 2017 Delbert H. Rhodes

WithoutaName

The struggle swallows me. Still, I endeavor the grips of trying. The lost solitudes of denying; it saddens me, depresses me, wears me down, tears me apart. I am denied the things provided others whom create; the resources, the connections, the pathways to recognition-the success.

Without such elements from where comes acknowledgement. I love my craft, the things that I do; true, it pays me nothing. The joy of creation embraces me, fills me, feeds the hunger inside my penniless pockets. Perhaps, joy is not enough. In the world of a name, I have none; I am poor, an unknown, a nobody. Still, I try. (I try.) But without a moniker, a beacon to cast an alluring light upon my skills who am I, and what would I be? What could I become?

Without acknowledgement creativity is difficult. Could the diamond exist without coal and years of extreme pressure; the winds without angelic inspiration; the world without a place to put it?

At times and no matter my love of writing, expressing, thinking, even the love is lost. The breath that I breathe suffers to live inside me. How lives the craft inside such emptiness? Without, (without) someone to tell me, to feel me, to hold me inside his, or, her thinking, how then does my thinking, my feelings inspire me?

I linger: the teetering rock pressing the void; a void of endless waiting, wondering, never knowing the time of its end. I am the dangling participle, incompleted in thought and deed; the feather aimlessly floating without a place to settle. I drift upon wistful winds, the flight is endlessly wasteful.

I love writing: it provides me a vehicle of expression, happiness; offers me a voice within a maze of tunnels and labyrinths, skyrocketing downward (“downward”) into a world of words; mysteries that could never surface without identities.

Without a name and regardless of my love of the craft, how then do I identify it; and what (“what?”) do I call it?

Copyright (c) 2015 Delbert H. Rhodes

Surrender to Light

Dyson Sphere

By Delbert H. Rhodes

I wake each morning staring into darkness, and a looming brilliance that at times is harsh and hurtful. How am I to understand that after almost sixty-two years, still, I have learned little, so little?

In my youth, there was laughter; but below the surface of imposing joy, sadness held me. Yes, even in childhood gloom walked with me. “Be positive, believe in you, tomorrow will be better than today.”-Perhaps.

Sometimes, I wonder why sadness finds me. Where are the answers to my many questions? Surely, all of you have better lives than I do. How am I ever to make sense of seemingly nothing? “Oh, come on, man, stop bellyaching; you have more than many.” Okay, still, the questions are worthy of asking and answering.

My life, my world spins on an axis of lulling sorrows, pains, insecurities and borrowed smiles. Sometimes laughter feels strange. Most times, and especially when I am alone, I realize that I may be smiling.

Forgive me, darkness was never my intention; I apologize for sullying your thinking. Still, I know no other way.

The day rushes in upon me, a wealth of sounds fills my ears. Sometimes the filtering light captivates me; the thin sprays of sheeted curtains wavering about the ceiling, walls and floor; the vivid streams become rivers of illumination.

Lying in bed I become breathless of the silhouetting spectra, and I wish that I were light. The quivering forms without human mass; the untouchable tangible spheres floating in thin rays, or, thicker sheets of mystical mesh cause me feelings of incredulity and envy.

These unstained entities, this purity existing without the dread of conception or the fury of pain fear and sadness. Oh, wonderful it must be!

Curiosities are many in my world; I consider things that even to me are strange.

Do you?

Sometimes I look at my hands. They are my Mother’s hands. My eyes, teeth, hair, all of me are mostly my Mother. Knowing this joyfully elevates me.

Often I wonder: If a photo, television or other displayed my faceless body parts could I identify them. Staring into a mirror, I sometimes desire that someone else stares back. Is this self-hate or a strange type of love; the need to be different, to purge and redistribute my DNA-Is this negative, imaginative or dread.

Of the many things that I can do, there are many more that I cannot. Of the many things that I understand, more things confuse me. Of the many things that I value, others are of little worth.

Strange: Mathematically, I am learning and demonstrate  basic calculations of Scientific Notation, Probability and Complex Fractions, while mingling with Monomials, Polynomials, Algebraic Fractions, Inequalities and Absolute Value; and energetically, learning continues without falter; yet psycho-emotionally the mind wearies of worry.

Query: What are the actual derivatives of the tangible and intangible regarding human tears versus human feelings? Truly, could we ever know? Skeptically, does it matter?

In morning’s wake, my thoughts and fears embrace me. Throughout the room and before me bright shadows dance to inaudible music, and it is as though the bedroom has morphed becoming sinister a dark carousel. Shortly, I spirit to the places of Witches while whirling to the whimsies of Court Jesters.

Soon I am home: and wittingly surrender to light: its reflective ribbons higher towers of consciousness.

Copyright © 2013 Delbert H. Rhodes

He is Hurting My Mother!

English: Suzanne Perry, Author. Blogger, photo...

By Delbert H. Rhodes 

Brute!

Of my childhood memories: the saddest is seeing my mother harmed.

While attending laundry in our backyard, suddenly my mother begins to yell. Though busy in my bedroom at play, I stop to listen. Initially, her words are difficult to understand, I feel tense. Somehow, I realize that she is angry, scared.

Suddenly the furor rushes indoors, and then into the living room. Running to my bedroom door, I see my mother and stepfather fighting. I have never seen this before, but afraid for my mother, I place my tiny body between him and her. A small piano sits to the rear and against the wall. Angered by my interference, my stepfather forces me back and against the piano’s keyboard.

My little back hurt and my anger increases. I want to hurt ‘him.’ I fight him; but am too small, and unable to wrench free of his grasp. Looking straight at him and without fear, I scream, “When I grow-up I’m going to ‘kill’ you, for hurting my mother!” “I’m going to ‘kill’ you!” I repeat this, blood rushes to my little muscles and I remove his hands.

The fight continues and then soon stops. Frightened for my mother I stay by her side. I would not permit this horrible man to touch her again. Soon he leaves the house and my mother telephones the police. The officer arrives and meets us in the front yard. My mother does not press charges against my stepfather. Now, I am angry with her.

Even unhappiness takes a break, but quickly returns. Once more the snake strikes.

My mother wakes the three of us, telling us to go home with our neighbor. While leaving the bedroom, I could hear noise, loud banging on the kitchen door. My stepfather loudly yells to my mother to open the door. He is angry, and I refuse to leave my mother alone. “Go.” My mother insists. “Go.”

The neighbor leads me out by the hand, as I look over my shoulder. I am afraid for my mother. Before I leave, another loud bang on the kitchen door, it swings open and my stepfather rushes inside. My mother runs to stop him; in his hand, he carries a short plank. The brute swings the board, hitting my mother across one of her calves. I try to wrestle free from the neighbor, but she holds me tightly. My mother is hurt, but keeps fighting. I am hurt and keep trying to get free. I want desperately to help her; I ache desperately to hurt ‘him.’

Copyright © 2011 Delbert H. Rhodes