Wednesday, May 6, 2009

pussywillows in spring

Every spring, my father used to bring home a bunch of pussywillows when he came back from an early season fishing trip with the men. My sisters and I always looked forward to this simple gift. So, I thought I should continue this tradition of bringing home a bunch of pussywillows. I used to bring some home regularly when my kids were little, but now that they're adults, I got out of the habit. But I think I'll start this spring ritual again.

I put the pussywillows in the blue vase my mother bought me a few years back on my birthday. The nice thing about pussywillows is that they don't need any water to stay fresh. Just put them in a vase. My sister, Katja, said, "you should hang colourful thread on them." Was she thinking of virvon varvon? When George, an elderly Anishnabe fellow who I see down by the creek sometimes, saw me carrying my bunch of pussywillows home, he said, "When I was little, we used to paint the pussywillows all kinds of colours." I wondered if this is what they taught him at residential school, when the nuns, priests and teachers inculcated the students with Easter. He told me his father is dead now, too. In the happy hunting grounds, he laughed. Maybe they're both up there, he laughed. Maybe they are, I said.

I picked the pussywillows from the small bush beside the pond that is beside the lake, while I was out walking Musti and Tassu the other day. In the field on the other side of the pond, we saw the entrance to a critter's home. You won't be able to walk through this field in the summer, only in the spring when the grass, wildflowers, weeds, and burrs have not yet taken over. Musti's tail is already full of old burrs.

Musti also found another critter's entrance, but this one was much bigger. She and Tassu were sniffing and snorting around that hole, trying to get their snouts inside. Perhaps it's the home of a groundhog, with tunnels under the earth under those old boards left abandoned many years ago. There's all kinds of industrial junk in that field.

[click to enlarge]

Lakeside of the pond, in the shallows of the bay, the blue heron was out fishing.

No comments: