i listened to Métis storytellers today.
well, technically a Métis storyteller
and a singer.
the singer had black hair, dark eyes
framed by dark eyelashes with eyeliner.
she had a little thing that was like a stick
with a bulb on the end that she shook, and it rattled.
the storyteller was an old man,
with color on his body but a creased face
- wrinkles that told of age and experience.
he had off-white hair, reaching down
to the bottom of his neck.
the singer was amazing.
i listened, enraptured, as she sang,
low sounds and smooth turns,
unlike any other song i've ever heard.
except the ones i remember as a little baby.
my mother had a friend who was a chief -
i can only recall dark hair and a nice smile,
gentle hands and a calm voice.
powwows that were full of color and dance.
and then he died.
but this singer brought back memories
of elders and little Aboriginal children
of smoke and handmade dreamcatchers.
and the storyteller...
well. he was something else entirely.
he was like a book -
but he had kind eyes and a warm voice
and all the human qualities that a book lacks.
his words were soft, unhurried, devoid of urgency.
nowadays, we expect people to be loud.
he told us a long story,
one of a person whose name i can't quite remember,
whose foolishness winds up with his death often,
and how his friend Wolf has to jump over him four times
and he will come back to life, claiming that he was only sleeping..
he also shared one of how the same trickster
annoyed some sea serpents, flooded the world,
and how the earth was placed upon the back of a turtle.
that's the abridged version, by the way.
but he held so much knowledge,
so much culture,
and i can't help but feel
as though this Métis storyteller
beats books by a landslide
(this, coming from a bookworm, is an epiphany.)