Three Day Road


“And then something amazing happened. The big grouse stopped beating his wings, called out, and the other grouse immediately stopped, ruffled their feathers so that they appeared to grow twice their size, then started dancing again, but in the other direction. You’d never seen anything like it in your life. Nobody would believe such a thing, a bird dance in the forest!

As you watched, their pattern reminded you of something you’d seen before, out of the eyesight of the watchful nuns. Your own people gathering in summer to celebrate an easy season, a tradition they carried on despite the stern words of the wemistikoshiw church. You stared at these tiny birds dancing in the snow, the sunlight reflecting it in thousands of tiny ice crystals. You saw in their movement the movement of your own people as they travelled from winter to summer to winter again, dancing through the years.

You saw for the first time the circle. Even though you could not yet express it in words, you understood the seasons, the teepee, the shaking tent, the wigwam, the fire circle, the matatosowin. You saw all of life is in the circle, and realized that you always come back, in one way or another, to where you have been before.”


(Niska, p. 360, from Joseph Boyden’s Three Day Road)

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