winaadjimowin about people

by waaseyaa'sin christine sy

all the time i’ve been here, i’ve been thinking of gathering a little bit of giizhigaatig to tie into a little bundle and hang on my office door as there is a little strip of cork board for hanging notices and the like on it.

i keep thinking of it.

i haven’t found any along the regular paths and trails of my days in this place despite the miskwa giizhigaatig ziibi meandering just alongside the building where i work. admittedly, i’ve not ventured too much into looking for it. the constant expanse of farmland is depressing. i miss the landscape and waters of my gichi gaming home and nogojiwanong home. aki is much more me there. i am not a farm-ikawe.

i keep seeing that little bundle of giizhigaatig on my door, though. a welcome. a medicine. a warm, reverent, woman.  a queer person having all the relationships with giizhigaatig and then some. a man comforted by her, inspired by her, honouring, loving. a child and their pillow, elder and their tea. an intimate poem. a dream, a wish; a want, a desire. a disciplined teaching and learning; a cleansing and preparation. a mourning, heavy heart harvest, a laying down of floor and gentle passing of manidoo to epingishmok. a long hair wash, face refresh, sore muscle rub, a summer burn refresher. a ceremony cooler. a cushion. a heart-break healer, inside and out. a smudge. a deep and deeper inhale of aromatic anishinaabe life filling all the places you didn’t even know were lonely or empty, topping off all the joys. all the things come back to me with this mashkiki. all the things.

what a way to greet people who come visit you at work.

there’s giizhigaatig where i live but it’s used as a hedge to cover one of those electrical things which is massive and silver and emanates a constant hum. in times of crisis or emergency, if there was none to be found elsewhere, i would harvest from there. but definitely not in this case. it’s not that necessary.

anyhow, yesterday, a non-Anishinaabeg woman who heard me talking about giizhigaatig last week, gifted me with two beautifully and carefully harvested and prepared bundles of this mashkiki. they were perfect. like an old, loving anishinaabe ikawe would do it. but here, the work of a thirty or forty some year old loving non-Anishinaabeg woman. i could see the thoughtfulness and time put into the preparation. my heart filled up. these two bundles were placed in a little cloth bag with a draw string. i asked if she made the bag and she said her husband sewed it as he is the sewer in the family. i thought it was perfect and was so grateful. i wanted to talk to her about asemaa but realized that she already has her way. her work clearly showed loved and respect for her relationships with the land and people.

today, the place where i work has been graced.

*zaasaakwe*

winaajimowin = a good story, a good news story

giizhigaatig = cedar

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