Root River Bdote; Fall Memories in the Soil
We the rooted stand in witness,
Our feet deep in the limestone with our white bone branches reaching high.
We stand with the hills: blood-red in fall, blood-red at sunset.
We salute you, Winter Spirits, now rising !
Together we praise you, most expert of ancient scouts and hunters,
You who risked death to lure elk and buffalo down this ravine,
You who signaled to the hunters below on the river land;
signaled to the women ready to butcher, bleed , and smoke.
You whose bones lie here in eternal watch, thinking this would continue forever.
Now, tractors rumble over your bones and only spirits await below.
Your people still walk the earth, but not on these hills,
not on this river, or the next, or the next.
Still, we continue to stand in witness and wait …
Welcome Eternal Blue above me!
These stark limbs behind me endure months
of longing for you and for their own heart beat,
which slid down into the earth.
Dry oak leaves shush a lullaby to the sleeping sap,
while snow crystals sparkle in a blanket.
Is that where fireflies go?
© Jane Skinner Peck
Jane Skinner Peck is a writer, historian, performer, choreographer, theater and dance educator, and director of History Alive Lanesboro. She has written poetry since her teen years but also writes history plays and history essays. She has toured her shows around the state since 1995; has been a Minnesota State Arts Board resident artist in schools across the state; and is committed to bringing alive the understandings of the past. She and husband Mike Jensen live on Leafy Legacy Herb Farm near Lanesboro.