May 18

[Moondog]

The season of the divine misfits begins today with the arrival of the clowns and the delectable rouges of Clan Female, the Twilight Women. Their dreamers have come as well and Dancing Grass. Our camp has swelled exponentially. Tomorrow we will throw the bones. No doubt a troupe of elders will show up too to stand with Burnt Knife and Star Stalker to insure that the medicine is good.

Sings-in-Trees and Moon Shadow seem to share a similar devotion of spirit that the Oak contingency of boys has, to see the true substance of ether, although I am not all together sure. I suspect that Sun Dog has other motives as well. The unspoken truth is that we both know we are as close as kin can be. I think he wonders how much of my peculiarity has come to reside in his blood. Sun Dog may well want to get a jump on his path, perhaps already conceding to the containing edge of cosmic inevitability. I feel for him; I wouldn’t wish my life on anyone even though it was one of my own making and I have finally made peace with it.

A talking circle is forming. Teams of young Oak are scurrying about, pulling in more wood for the fire. They know that once lit they will have to take care of it for the next five months. Their commitment pleases me, the manifestation of a long awaited sign that the old ways have new beginnings in their devotion.

I wonder if the three young Greihound will stay the summer with those sent by Clan Oak. It would be a good omen. When I study on them I recognize their skepticism and can’t remember if at the same age I harbored it. I had somewhat sinister motives to be a runner, mainly women, and had no desire to advance beyond that. But it wasn’t skepticism; it was the self-involvement of an over indulged, insolent braggart still strapped to the cradle. None of these boys are like that. But what I fear is the undetectable loss of tradition with every succeeding generation that begins with skepticism. The old ways are tough, strict and strenuous, requiring almost cataclysmic loss of identity. A clan affiliation requires relentless sacrifice to it for our people. One becomes so emptied out by the demand no one is left with enough capability to invest in the cultivation of personal pursuit. After only a few seasons Death Clan initiates succumb to spending their supposedly restful summers doing little else beyond preparing for and anticipating the Winter Wait. After a few more one simply feels cut adrift from the only purpose of his life when summer arrives. The sobering truth is that Death Clans have nothing with which to entice the young to join their ranks beyond isolated lives lived in relative secret enduring bitter cold and near starvation. That will never change. The predilection has to be inborn, and in the end it is never a matter of choice but rather nowhere else to go. I suspect it is the dilution of those inherent traits rather than the chance to make better choices that can be found at the bottom of the problem. One doesn’t have to deliberate long about it before asking, who would ever choose this way of life?

Nevertheless if this pack of potent wild ones stays it is perhaps the quintessential summer of their lives. Aside from the decrepit old ways they will see played out, things only a handful have ever witnessed, they will be forced to become experts at clan finesse. Grasping that personal opinion is often meaningless to tribal well-being they will be tough lessons for the spirit of arrogance so prevalent in virile warrior-hopefuls. Humility often hurts. But their chance is unique, a first hand experience of the inner workings of interconnectedness. They will be nearly twenty years older, more than twice their present ages before the opportunity cycles back around to them. By then the wonder will have been long replaced by the critical knowledge and scrutiny of the wisdom of their practice. More than likely all of us relics will be gone and those left will be conscripted by a power that has a merciless grip on their lives. I hope they stay, but that hope isn’t joyful. It is stone cold sobriety. I can see the three of them over in the trees deliberating.

[Sun Dog]

I want to sit in that circle. I want it badly, but I know I will spend the next few days attending to the needs of elders and emissaries. At best I will catch snatches and rare will the opportunity be to even sit back in the shadows and listen. How are we suppose to learn anything if the Old Ones constantly send us away for wood and who knows what else? But I’ll probably stay anyway.

[Moon Shadow]

I am glad to be here. Chances are I’d be doing the same thing for the Poplar women and taking care of my little brothers. This is amazing by comparison. I mean, look at who is here? Every last one of them is a living legend. And who knows who else will show up? At least I will be able to say that I not only met them but also was a part of this too.

[Sings-in-Trees]

I think I would be spending the summer hauling wood for the Dogwood women and who knows what else. I’d much rather be here putting up with the demands of old men than listening to women who would treat me like a baby. By the end of summer though I might feel differently. Chances are I won’t be doing anymore than hauling wood here either.

[Sun Dog}

So how soon are we going to tell Moondog we want to stay?

[Sings-in-Trees]

Let’s wait a few days in case we change our minds. These old men don’t tolerate indecision. I have heard that they have shunned people for less than that.




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