Cranes Pass Overhead

Cranes pass overhead,
Ocean ice cracks,
West wind blows,
Tundra can be relentless,
Especially for those who try to escape,
By choice or nature,
We find ourselves here,
Nestled on a beach spit,
Of large gravel stones and dry grass patches.

With wounded hearts,
Some rebel,
All are pushed to our limits,
Patience, persistence, and empathy required.
The weather beats upon our skin,
We grow strong,
Learn to gather as our ancestors did before us,
To heal,
To learn,
To survive.

By foot,
We hunt birds,
Caribou on a distant hill,
Wild eggs from nests of angry birds,
No pun intended,
Fresh water from ocean ice,
Drift wood for fire.

In the evenings,
Heroes emerge in old stories,
The pictures in our mind,
Of warriors moving swiftly across the tundra,
Arrows only able to pierce skin deep,
Muscle beneath too tightly woven when flexed,
And enemies falling,
Survivors running in dismay,
And another learning that greed is a trickster,
Can manipulate us to poor choices,
Changing us to something non-human.

We wrestle with ourselves,
Seeking peace,
Trying to understand why we are here,
Making space to rest, reflect, and recover.

We sit on our plywood floor,
In the heat of fire and steam,
When water hits rock,
The hiss notifying us it will meet our skin soon,
And we cleanse our body,
Release our tension,
Pray for good lives to come.

In time,
We become tribe,
We become family,
As it was in the past,
Every person helping,
Every person caring,
Every person having purpose.