Sunday, July 14, 2019

A flag of red

What is it about water that calls us to it again and again? Why do the memories swarm around our heads like a whirlwind, waiting to pull us into its eye? I sit here by Flathead Lake in Montana remembering the days on Lake Hamlin in Michigan. Aunt Bessie, my mother's older sister, and Uncle Sam owned the store there. They sold everything from bait to hot dogs. First memories of the resort are of a white house on a hill wearing green shutters. It seemed large when I was a child. Now it is a little house tucked into the trees. We wear memories large in our childhoods. Trips that were long as a child are merely a whisper now. Adults that seemed so old were younger than we are now. Perhaps it is due to the shortness in height that we wore when small.

Boats pull in and out from the dock. Visitors, travelers from all over the world, are waiting to travel across the lake or gamble in the casino. I, for one, have never gambled in a Casino. That is, until today. So I sat in a chair next to some people who seemed determined to lose their cash. I thought to myself, "Looks like a good place to start." Much to my disappointment, there was neither an arm to pull nor a slot for my coins. Seems to me that I should get some exercise while I lose my money. I began with my lone dollar. Hm. Big spender. After that I worked myself up to five dollars. I won ten cents. Hm. Should have quit while I was ahead. Five dollars later I did, after winning an entire eighty cents. My gambling days are over. When I left, the losing couple were maintaining.

But why sit inside when shades of blue and green from lake to shore capture my imagination. The lake is 371 feet deep in the deepest part. I don't intend to wet my feet, so will trust it is so. My niece found fresh bear scat in the yard yesterday. Not sure it it was black or grizzly but not going to search for it. "We were sitting on the bed when a big bear lumbered past our window," my niece informed me. Informed me not long after she told me about her face off with a mountain lion. Seems not many people know that mountain lions and pumas are the same critter. (Just a tiny bit of info). I don't know much but like to share the tidbits that make me feel smart.

A red flag flies over me. It is the flag of an independent nation. A true American flag. In the beginning, no trumpets herald the Indians who lived free on the land here in Montana and across the nation. They needed no flag. This was all their land. They did not know that it would be taken away. The red flag now seems appropriate. A tepee, bow/arrow and symbols for hunting and fishing fly between the words Flathead and Nation. I would like to be part of this nation of beautiful people. I would like to live in this land that still rings of what this earth should be. I am impressed that recycling is a big thing here. We received our groceries in compostable bags. We should all be so advanced. This nation respects this earth that gave them life. They will protect it with their hearts, souls and bodies.

Today I write with the wind in my hair and the sun in my eyes. The blue water is so clear and true to what nature created before the white men came to destroy it. In the ocean, our sea life dies from plastic and hunters. Yes, I would like to be a Flathead. They have struggled. I get it. I wish I had helped them.