Friday, February 6, 2009

Crying Wind by Crying Wind

No Cover Available

Crying Wind
by Crying Wind

Hardback: 188 pages
Publisher: Moody Press
First Released: 1977

Buy from Amazon

Source: Library

Back Cover Blurb:
"I'm the accidental offspring of two people who hated each other. I never saw my father's face because he abandoned my mother before I was born, and she hated him for it. My mother was young and didn't want to be tied down with a baby she hadn't wanted in the first place, so she left me with my grandmother on the reservation. I'm a worthless halfbreed; two people trying to live in one body. That's who Crying Wind is--nobody."

At fifteen, Crying Wind is forced to move into a large city after her grandmother died as the result of a household accident and her favorite horse cut himself during a storm and died. Living alone and feeling confused and unloved, Crying Wind loses her desire to live. Friendless, jobless, and penniless, she tries to commit suicide. Paging through the yellow pages, she recognizes a church's address. Hesitantly she approaches the pastor, and the encouragement and love of the pastor and his wife help Crying Wind to accept herself and appreciate her own worth. For months she remains torn between her new friends and their faith and loyalty to the old Indian ways; but the acceptance, affection, and freedom she experiences with her Christian friends gradually win out.

Simply and sensitively written, Crying Wind's story gives insights into American Indian culture and the cultural barriers an Indian must hurdle when he becomes a Christian.

This memoir details how the Kickapoo Indians lived at the time (about the 1950's, I think) and describes their religion. It also describes the difficulties they face, both on their reservations and in the cities.

The book only skims the surface of the topic (Native American culture and religion), but it's a good place to start. The story is interesting, fast-paced, and easy-to-read. I'd recommend this book to those interested in the topic.

Excerpt: Chapter One
Moccasined feet moved quietly down the dry arroyo. The only sound was that of leather fringe flapping against bronze skin.

Thunder growled in the distance, and few flashes of lightening outlined the ragged, purple clouds as I began slowly to work my way up the sharp rocks of the cliff. My hands were already scratched and skinned from clutching at rocks in the darkness. I tried not to think about what would happen if I grabbed a loose rock or lost my balance. I knew only too well it would be a long and painful slide down the steep, granite hill with yucca spikes slashing at my legs.

Straining my eyes, I tried to see the narrow, almost invisible path that led to the secret circle on top of this sacred hill. I wondered if there had ever been such a dark night. A flash of lightning lit the hillside long enough for me to see the large rocks ahead. I was nearly at the top.

I felt dizzy, and my hands began to shake from hunger. I hadn't had anything to eat or drink all day. I had fasted to prove myself worthy to speak to my god.

In a few more minutes I would be talking to my god, Niyol, the great and mighty wind god of the Indians.

At last I reached the crest of the hill,and I hurried over to a flat stone buried in the earth. I knew that hundreds of other Indians had stood on this same stone in the distant past to call to their gods for help.

I carefully removed the feathers and stick from my leather pouch and tied them together with strips of rawhide. Then I drew our clan sign in the dust and stood to face the wind.

"Oh, strong and fearful wind, most powerful of all the gods, hear my words--"

I finished my prayer and threw my prayer stick into the wind and quickly turned my back, because to see your prayer stick fall to earth meant your prayer would not be answered. I hoped the wind would catch my prayer stick and blow it up into the sky.

The thunder warned me one last time to come down off the mountain before he let loose his storm horses. I quickly ran my hands through the dust to wipe out all traces of the drawing. Even as I did so the sky began to cry, and large, heavy drops of rain hit the tops of my hands and turned the dust on my fingers to mud.

I hurried across the open space to the large boulders that marked the path leading back down the hill. The drops of rain were bigger, and they stung when they hit my face. A loud clap of thunder crashed all around me and made me jump with fright. My buckskin dress was already becoming wet and heavy, and it clung to me, making it even harder to inch my way down the narrow path. I wondered if lightning would strike me as I hung on the side of the cliff and if I would be found dead tomorrow.

My heart raced faster. I couldn't tell if I shivered from the cold rain or from fear or if I just trembled from hunger. I was nearly at the bottom when the gravel, loosened by the downpour, gave way under my feet. I slid the rest of the way down the hill. When I was sure I hadn't been hurt, I picked myself up and brushed off the mud and thanked Niyol for sparing my life. After all, he could have told the lightning to strike me, or he could have killed me from the fall. Wasn't the fact he spared me a good sign? Didn't it prove I was in his favor? Perhaps it even meant he had heard my prayer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this is one story I'l never forget. read it at age 11years, I am 37 now.