April 21st, 2021


Good News

Good news includes all the things which make us happy or otherwise feel good. It can be personal or public. We never know when something wonderful will happen, and when it does, most people want to share it with someone. It's disappointing when nobody is there to appreciate it. Happily, blogging allows us to share our joys and pat each other on the back.

What good news have you had recently? Are you anticipating any more? Have you found a cute picture or a video that makes you smile? Is there anything your online friends could do to make your life a little happier?

Poem: "The Trail of Hope"

This poem came out of the April 20, 2021 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from Dreamwidth users Erulisse, Fuzzyred, Hangingbyastitch, Ng_moonmoth, Freshbakedlady, kestrels_nest, and Anonymous. It also fills the Sense of Belonging square in my 4-4-21 "Aspects" card for the Genderplay Bingo fest. This poem belongs to the Daughters of the Apocalypse series.

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them.  The rate is $1/line, so $5 will reveal 5 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.
So far sponsors include: Dreamwidth user Freshbakedlady, ng_moonmoth, Anthony & Shirley Barrette

428 lines, Buy It Now = $428
Amount donated = $100
Verses posted = 23 of 126

Amount remaining to fund fully = $328
Amount needed to fund next verse = $2
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $5

"The Trail of Hope"

[0 A.E.]

When the bombs and the Grunge
obliterated Tulsa and Oklahoma City,
news spread through the Cherokee Nation.

Ghigau picked up her blanket and
walked into the overgrown field
that stretched behind her house.

She sat there for four days
and slept there for four nights.

The next morning, she returned
to her tribe and told them how she
had dreamed of a broken arrow
that picked itself off the ground
and became whole again,
then flew away to the east.

There was no need to stay
in the land of their exile now that
the white nation had fallen apart.
They could return to their true home,
turning the Trail of Tears into
a Trail of Hope instead.

Sue Broken Arrow, who
was on her own at 17 because
her parents were abusive drunks,
got up and sat beside her, silently
showing that she would follow
wherever Ghigau's vision led.

Degataga Wood, who had
once lived as a woman and
now lived as a man, mentioned
that he too had been dreaming
of the land of his ancestors.

His daughters Tayanita and
Salali and his son Atohi, along
with Tayanita's daughter Ayita,
all intended to stick by him.

Julia Starr, formerly a nurse
and now a hobby astronomer
who liked wilderness navigation,
believed that she could find the way.

Her daughter Leotie, a weaver and
sewer, wanted to come with her.

That gave them a good core
of people to build around.

Ghigau sent them out
to begin gathering supplies
and other people they needed.

Nanyehi Shambaugh joined
as a scout with her motorcycle.

Mary Yellow Dog offered
not only herself but also
her pack of Cherokee Curs,
most of them trained to carry
a pack or pull a travois.

She explained about
her dreams of traveling
overland away from roads
and cities that had turned
dangerous in the End.

Ghigau listened to both,
then decided that Mary
was right about traveling
off-road, but Nanyehi would
still be useful for keeping
their rapidly growing group
connected during travel.

Polly Buzzard showed up
with her toddler Elsie,
volunteering to teach
the tribe's children as
she had done at school.

Daryl and Kinnona Byrd
came next, bringing
their young son Gawonii.
Daryl was an ecologist
and Kinnona a paramedic,
both useful to have along.

The search for cooks turned up
Hanna and Ida Paden, who loved
both cooking and foraging, with
Ida's daughter Lena as well.

Janees Elochee was only 14
but not closely attached to anyone,
having been passed around from
one relative to another for years.

When she wanted to come,
Ghigau put her foot down and
declared that there would be
no loose teens wandering around
to find trouble -- everyone would
need a job or at least a teacher.

There were too many who had
no parents, at least none that
were functional enough to count.

Janees, who loved backpacking,
promptly asked Daryl to take her
as an apprentice, and he agreed.

Sue clung to Ghigau, and while a teen
could not do a grandmother's work,
she could certainly learn the history
and language of the tribe to help
pass them on while Ghigau was
busy with what only she could do.

Shawna Legg, who was 16,
apprenticed herself to Nanyehi
as a scout, because her ancestors
had been runners who carried
messages between villages.

Next came Lee Samochee,
a bisexual boy who identified as
two-spirit. He had been learning
shamanism from his grandfather
before the old man passed away.

Shyly approaching Degataga,
Lee asked to become his apprentice,
so they could put the two-spirits back
in their proper role as tribal guides.

Ghigau, who had her hands full
trying to reassemble a matriarchy
from the ruins of the mainstream,
heartily approved of this arrangement.

Three children arrived from farms
in the area. Their parents had gone
into town for supplies and either
never returned or soon died.

Adsila Steppe was 10, interested
in plants, so she went to the Padens.
Rosanna Vazquez was 9 and loved
animals, which made her a good match
for Mary and the Cherokee Curs.
Rex Deere, also 9, was already
a crack shot with a rifle, so
he joined the Wood family.

Two brothers hiked in
from the ruins of Tulsa.
Kanuna Nofire was 15
and Dustu was 11.

They had picked up
their baby cousin
Salinda Cloud while
checking on their aunt,
who had died of the Grunge
just like the older Nofires.

The brothers had hoped
to become firefighters like
their parents, but the tribe
didn't have any left here.

Ghigau just put all three
of them with Polly for
more general education.

So many people had died that
everyone was afraid to risk
venturing into the ruined towns.

Mary's overland proposal
made so much sense now.

They would have to choose
their tools and supplies with
great care, because they couldn't
take nearly as much as people
traveling by car, but the roads
were choked and dangerous.

At least they knew how
to travel in the old ways.

It helped that they had
experienced hikers and
wilderneers to guide them.

By the time they were ready
to begin their journey, they had
just over a thousand people.

Ghigau sorted them into
ten smaller bands, starting
with the Seven Clans, then
using unaffiliated people
to make three more and
flesh out the original seven.

Then she shocked everyone
by declaring that since the world
had changed so much, it was
time to let the spirits establish
new clans if they wished to do so.

Each band should watch for helpers
or other signs along the way, which might
be the same or might be something new.

It didn't take long; they only walked
for a few days before the first sign.

They were trudging through dense woods
when Daryl heard an owl calling and
shifted the band in that direction.

They came out into an open field,
and Daryl announced that his
was still the Bird Clan, but
now with an Owl Family in it.

Not long after that, they ran low
on fresh food, because nobody
was willing to risk hitting a town.

Rex killed a deer with a neat shot
through the head, and the Deer Clan
decided to keep its name too.

It was hard going; few of them
were really in good shape, so
they couldn't make the kind of
travel speed the books claimed.

They'd seen the clogged roads
from a distance, though, and
that was plenty motivation.

The bands spread out and
came back together, never
straying too far, but trying
not to create too big a target
or eat everything in one place.

Nanyehi rode her motorcycle
along back roads to help keep
all of the bands in touch.

Shawna ran messages
between them as needed.

The Blue Clan came toward
a big hill, and an argument began
over which way they should go.

Then Julia ran into the lioness.

Everyone froze in place,
including the lioness.

Softly Julia asked her
where she was going.

The lioness yawned,
showing them her teeth,
then ambled off to the left.

Julia went to the right,
and thus the Blue Clan
became the Big Cat Clan.

They walked for weeks,
encountering other people
only on rare occasion, because
nobody else really wanted to go
bushwhacking through the woods.

Most of the people were peaceful,
and sometimes they had things
to trade, especially for fresh meat.

Once, the travelers encountered
a small group of marauders
who made threatening noises.

Ghigau stepped forward
and stamped her feet,
refusing to give way.

The rest of the band
gathered behind her.

Grumbling, the marauders
backed away and left.

Ghigau explained how
she had remembered
a skunk stamping its feet
to warn away predators.

So the Long Hair Clan
became known as
the Skunk Clan, after
the most peaceful creature
that lived in the forest.

Then disaster struck.

Their scouts had lost track
of a bands, one of the three
made of unaffiliated people.

Nanyehi reported that someone
had left trail signs for Going this way,
Wrong way, and Danger together.

She took that to mean something
had gone horribly wrong and
all the band could do was warn
the others not to follow them.

Sadly, they continued traveling.

They snuck through what had
been Tennessee, avoiding
the perilous ruined cities.

Creeping through the woods,
they came across a strange tree
bent into a high, tight arch.

They had been hoping to find
the Trail of Tears, and this
was part of that path,
marked by a trail tree.

They passed through from
west to east, fulfilling a wish
their ancestors had made.

It was Degataga who thought
to poke around under the point
of the arch and there unearthed
the remains of a medicine bundle.

Under a layer of rust that had
once been a can, they found
beads of blue glass, a gold coin,
an arrowhead, and other bits
that they could not identify.

Carefully Degataga wrapped
everything in a cloth so they
could carry it all home.

As a replacement for it,
a heavily pregnant Tayanita
left her gold Oklahoma necklace.

Everyone felt more hopeful that
they were going the right way.

Already most of the fields
were overgrown with weeds
and thickets of brambles.

At the edge of forest and
field they stumbled across
a black bear hunting for food.

It stood up and looked at them.

The pack of barking dogs
convinced the bear to look
elsewhere for his supper.

Mary praised them all,
and the Wolf Clan came
to be known as the Dog Clan.

Everyone was taking a rest day
when Rosanna noticed that
some of the rabbits had spots.

There was a mostly white one
with black spots, another with
brown spots, and several
that looked like calicos.

Stranger still, they seemed
quite tame, and Rosanna
thought they might be
someone's escaped pets.

She discouraged the hunters
from killing them, and instead
asked the Padens to make
basket cages for them so
she could take them along.

Raised in cages, the rabbits
would provide ready food.

That's how her band became
the Spotted Rabbit Clan.

They traveled onward
through weeds and thickets,
avoiding anywhere that
still seemed inhabited.

Sometimes it rained,
and they all got soaked,
surrounded by the reek
of the wet pack dogs.

That was still better
than trying to carry
everything themselves.

It was Lee who spotted
the hazy drift of smoke ahead.

They followed it to the husk
of a farmhouse, probably
set on fire by lightning in
one of the recent storms.

It had mostly burned down
before dwindling to smoke
and a few feeble flames.

With some helpful advice
from the Nofire brothers,
they put out the rest of it
so that it wouldn't spread
and threaten the landscape.

At that point, the Paint Clan
turned into the Smoke Clan.

Then they looked around.

They stood on the edge of
a gorgeous rolling green where
fields wrapped around forest,
down to a distant gleam of water.

The place seemed to consist of
several abandoned farmsteads.

Curious, they began to explore
the fields and a few buildings.

Adsila found a herd of goats
devouring a dense thicket.

Most of them were brown
or white or spotted, but
a few were other colors.

Goats would provide
both milk and meat,
and Tayanita had
a baby on the way.

So the last band
became the Goat Clan.

A couple of the houses
were still more or less intact,
and people discussed whether
or not to move into them.

They decided that they
were tired of living in
white people houses.

Hanna found a root cellar,
though, which was full of
seed packets and rootstock.

Ida had brought seeds for
corn, squash, and beans
plus ceremonial tobacco.

The two sisters had been
carefully gathering seeds
along the way, but they could
only carry small amounts.

This find greatly increased
what the tribe could plant --
tomatoes, onions, carrots,
turnips, and various greens.

Happily, the Padens went from
Wild Potato Clan to Seed Clan.

Then Broken Arrow found
a flint point in the garden
that she was exploring.

That was the fourth sign,
after the smoke, the goats,
and the root cellar of seeds.

So Ghigau declared this
to be Ninovan, Our Home.

The nine remaining bands
converged on the place,
glad for the journey's end.

Carefully Degataga buried
the ancient medicine bundle
under what would become
the tribe's new council tree.

Next he began working on
a set of trail trees to mark
the tribe's new territory,
bending oak saplings
to look like goalposts.

Then Tayanita went
into labor and delivered
a girl, whom she named Hope.

It was the only thing that
she could have chosen.

They were the Hope Tribe
of the Cherokee People, and
they had finally come home.

* * *


This poem is long, so its character, location, and content notes appear elsewhere.  See also the previous notes for the setting at large: maps, vehicles, glossary, the Grunge, animals.