Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's a Wide, Wide World


"The Woman Under the Ground", a 115 yr. old Sheepeater interviewed by W. A. Allen. 

(Allen: 1913)
In W. A. Allen's The Sheep Eaters (published in 1913), Allen relates this story told him by a 115 year old Sheep Eater named "The Woman Under the Ground." According to Allen, she spoke in sign language:

"My people lived among the clouds. We were the Sheep Eaters who have passed away, but on those walls are the paint rocks, where our traditions are written on their face, chiseled with obsidian arrow heads. Our people were not warriors. We worshipped the sun, and the sun is bright and so were our people. Our men were good and our women were like the sun. The Great Spirit has stamped our impressions on the rocks by His lightenings; there are many of our people who were outlined on those smooth walls years ago; then our people painted their figures, or traded them with beautiful colored stones, and the paleface calls them "painted rocks."

"Our people never came down into the valleys, but always lived among the clouds, eating the mountain sheep and the goats, and sometimes the elk when they came high on the mountains. Our tepees were made of the cedar, thatched with grey moss and cemented with the gum from the pines, carpeted with the mountain sheep-skins, soft as down. Our garments were made from the skins of the gazelle, and ornamented with eagle feathers and ermine and otter skins.

"We chanted our songs to the sun, and the Great Spirit was pleased. He gave us much sheep and meat and berries and pure water, and snow to keep the flies away. The water was never muddy. We had no dogs nor horses. We did not go far from our homes, but were happy in our mountain adobe." (Allen: 1913).The W"The Woman Under the Ground", a 115 yr. old Sheepeater interviewed by W. A. Allen. 

Thoughts of Easter and a question posed in The Lake, my third novel, have inspired me to explore another story.  What makes a place, a specific location, special... what makes it home?  To you? Why are we drawn to or from spots on this earth, and, setting aside the obvious need for employment options, what do you look for?  Desert?  Mountain?  Forest?  Ocean?  And how does it feel to leave the places we love?

I've always wondered, been fascinated about the people of ancient America, and living in Cody, we are surrounded by history and stories, artifacts and legends.  
As members of the LDS church, we believe a portion of Christian history took place on this continent.  
I'm exploring that correlation.  My B is helping.
Gotta love stories.

2 comments:

Gramma Spice said...

I've always loved your creative, curious mind. As I have told you many times, you can be and do anything you want to...go for it, girl!

Cassi said...

So, I love the excerpts from your book are great . . .when are they coming out? I love that you are so creative, always looking inward - you were always a good balance for my business/black/white mind. Thanks for inspiring me to write and blog.