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Choctaw's Porch

Logo of the Maronite Church

Logo of the Maronite Church

Afummi Himona Na Yukpa!

Halito!  For those of you who speak the beautiful language of our elders, I offer a New Year’s greeting in Choctaw…Afummi Himona Na Yukpa!  Happy New Year.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been very active here on Tumblr for almost a year now.  You may know that I am not well.  Over the past few months, my health has often been dangerously poor.  I am a very sick man, its true.  Still, I believe that I might improve.  With this in mind, I have rededicated myself to the promotion of my political and religious beliefs.  Likewise, I am determined to do the best job that I possibly can to acquaint folks with “Indian Country” and the lives of the people who live here.

Yes, I intend to discuss my political and religious beliefs.  Yes, I do feel a certain compulsion to speak-out about income inequality and the explosion of greed and hate directed at the poor by rich people, protestant churches and organizations, and the imbeciles who are energized by them. Don’t worry, though!  I fully intend to go right on sharing cool photographs and articles about the magnificent plants, animals, insects, fish and - best of all - the lovely mountains and rivers where these find sustenance and shelter.

At an early time, I hope to discuss the lives and works of people like Leon Bloy, Teilhard ‘d Chardin, Jacques and Raissa Maritain, Charles Peguy, Dorothy Day, St. Thomas Aquinas, G.K. Chesterson, Pope Pius XI, Pope John XXIII, Pope Francis, Pope JPII, and many others.  Where my holy reading is concerned, I am returning to works I have not read in at least 10 years.  Here, I am thinking of St. Bonaventure’s Journey of the Mind to God, St. John Chrysostum, and the works of the Church fathers.  My political positions are informed (perhaps more than a little) by my faith as a Catholic.  So, it only makes sense to start with the underpinnings of my personal ethic and my positions where matters of social justice are concerned.

I will leave you today with a word about a terrific band of Christians who are the sons of the Christian community at Antioch.  You will remember them from the Holy Bible.  They are an Eastern Rite Church in communion with the Pope of Rome.  They are the Maronites, or - if you prefer - The Syriac Maronite Catholic Church of Antioch.

I treasure the time I spent with the Maronite community, and I shall always be grateful for the wonderful friendships I formed there - especially with a very holy priest named “Andre”. 

Here’s another link to one of many good sites where one can learn more about this special Catholic community.

 

I blogged around this photo back in the summer. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter here in Indian Country.  This pic makes me think of a nice day I had awhile back.  Its winter here, once again, and I was motivated this afternoon to cast my mind across the many fine, figid days I have enjoyed in this rugged land.  

Here’s a little trivia for ‘ya:  One day in 2011 it was colder in N. Central Oklahoma than at the South Pole.  Yep, you read it right, the frigging SOUTH POLE!  I think it was in the neighborhood of -54F.  That’s pretty brisk, huh?

I remember the day well.  My neighbor Pierce plowed the snow a bit just after dawn.  I was up early as well.  I stoked a great fire of red oak firewood harvested by my buddies Eldon and Joe.  Then, and pulled down my copy of The Last Chevalier by Dumas.  My black tomcat “Fierce Enemy” took up his place at my side on a goose-down sofa in front of the blazing wood-stove, and we re-read the book and consumed hot, blueberry muffins together in total silence.  All the day long.  What a glorious day!

My Friend the “Walking Stick”!  Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma

Were it possible, I would never again hear the utterance of a human tongue, save from those few who are dear to me.

The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft

A Quiet, Still Friend in a World of Noise and Chaos

Pictured above is one of my very best friends—the “walking stick”. These curious fellows reside primarily in S.E. Asia, South America and Australia.  A number of species also call the hardwood forests of the Ozark foothills and mountains of N.E. Oklahoma and Arkansas home.

The proper name for our brothers, the walking sticks, are Phasmatodea or Phasmids.  They very dramatically in size from 1” to over 12”. My friends here in the Cherokee Nation are typically three to five inches in size. In many nations, they are kept as pets!

Phasmids are “camo” experts.  Resultantly, they are pretty good at warding off potential predators. They are very good at blending-in with the bark of red and white oak trees.  They also seem to like the color of our little house, “khaki”.  Lots of them hang out on the siding and take on a khaki color.  Hey, khaki is cool, right?

So…why do I like walking sticks?  Why do I call them my friends?  My reason is the simplest in the world!  They don’t bother anything, nor do they make irritating noises of any kind.  They just don’t. No mind-numbing blather emanates from walking sticks.  They are peaceable creatures. They make me smile. 

The fact of the matter is that I don’t care for human companionship very much. I crave quiet.  Peace. Indeed, the psychiatric community are gravely concerned about my attitudes towards visitors, conversation, noise, loud music or talking, and so on. To them I say, “A pox on thee—away with thy pills, potions and noxious unguents”. Silence, to me, is sacred—some folks understand this, others don’t.

I enjoy the company of my wife—a human being who is literally my refreshment, my joy, my life.  We spend many joyful hours together and never say a word.  We cherish silence, quiet contemplation—she is never loud, boisterous or irritating.  After 30+ years of joyous companionship, our lives are almost one.  Its hard to know where one of us begins and the other stops.

I can spend hours observing the walking stick in complete joy.  Sometimes, I make inquiry of them, but they refuse to engage in direct conversation.  We are well-served by their wisdom. Talk, is terribly overrated.

Our world is outrageously loud and irritating.  I would like to share a few remarks make by other observers on the subject:

Henry Ryecroft is among my favorites:

George Gissing, The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft (Spring, XXIII):

Noises of wood and metal, clattering of wheels, banging of implements, jangling of bells—all such things are bad enough, but worse still is the clamorous human voice. Nothing on earth is more irritating to me than a bellow or scream of idiot mirth, nothing more hateful than a shout or yell of brutal anger. Were it possible, I would never again hear the utterance of a human tongue, save from those few who are dear to me.

Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy (1944; rpt. New York: Perennial, 2004), pp. 218-219:

The twentieth century is, among other things, the Age of Noise. Physical noise, mental noise, and noise of desire—we hold history’s record for all of them. And no wonder, for all the resources of our almost miraculous technology have been thrown into the current assault against silence. The most popular and influential of all recent inventions, the radio, is nothing but a conduit through which pre-fabricated din can flow into our homes. And this din goes far deeper, of course, than the ear-drums. It penetrates the mind, filling it with a babel of distractions—news items, mutually irrelevent bits of information, blasts of corybantic or sentimental music, continually repeated doses of drama that bring no catharsis, but merely create a craving for daily or even hourly emotional enemas. And where, as in most countries, the broadcasting stations support themselves by selling time to advertisers, the noise is carried from the ears, through the realms of phantasy, knowledge and feeling to the ego’s central core of wish and desire. Spoken or printed, broadcast over the ether or on wood-pulp, all advertising copy has but one purpose—to prevent the will from ever achieving silence.
I will have much more to say on this subject in the future.
Womancatcher

This Creature is a Butterfly?

Yes, he is indeed!  This little fellow is a Papilo Machon—a magnificent butterfly shown here in the caterpillar stage of development.

Also known as the Old World Swallowtail they—and their first cousins— are found in almost every corner of the globe.  The caterpillars and butterflies may differ slightly, but they are much more alike than different.

This particular customer was feasting, not in the forest beyond the porch, but on a lovely potted plant thriving on my porch.  Resultantly, he was removed to the friendly thicket of wildflowers plants, bushes and saplings that explode into shades of green, yellow, purple and pink in the meadow at the rear of my house. 

Be sure to click on the image to be removed to Wiki’s nice article on the Old Swallowtail.

Womancatcher

Summer is now in full swing. In sunny areas of the forest, the lovely Passiflora Incarnata vines are in bloom.  Their beauty adds so much to the exquisite silence of my porch during the early and late hours of the warm days of summer.  Days that imperceptibly set aside the cooler days, and crisp nighttime hours of April and May.
There are many, many varieties of the Passionflower.  Native Americans and early settlers of the lower midwestern and southern states used the magnificent—and prolific vines—for a wide range of medical purposes.  The large green balls that eventually form and pop loudly when stepped on—giving rise to its common name, “Maypop”— are also good to eat.  I have never eaten them, though, and I would counsel anyone to seek professional advice before doing so.
Clicl the image to see a Wikipedia link to a world of fascinating information about the Passionflower.
Womancatcher

Summer is now in full swing. In sunny areas of the forest, the lovely Passiflora Incarnata vines are in bloom.  Their beauty adds so much to the exquisite silence of my porch during the early and late hours of the warm days of summer.  Days that imperceptibly set aside the cooler days, and crisp nighttime hours of April and May.

There are many, many varieties of the Passionflower.  Native Americans and early settlers of the lower midwestern and southern states used the magnificent—and prolific vines—for a wide range of medical purposes.  The large green balls that eventually form and pop loudly when stepped on—giving rise to its common name, “Maypop”— are also good to eat.  I have never eaten them, though, and I would counsel anyone to seek professional advice before doing so.

Clicl the image to see a Wikipedia link to a world of fascinating information about the Passionflower.

Womancatcher

Choctaw And Irish - Special Friends

In the late 1840’s, the Irish people experienced a horrifying period of mass starvation called the “Potato Famine”.  Death and despair prevailed throughout the nation.  Assistance from the British government, which consisted largely in persons who owned the land the Irish so diligently worked, was scarce.  Indeed, there was little help from any quarter.

In the early 1830’s, The Choctaw Nation of Indians—along with several other Indian Nations—were forcibly removed from the south and eastern United States by the government to Oklahoma.  These ill-conceived death marches became known as “The Trail of Tears”.  Forced to march through difficult terrain and travel down dangerous waterways in unsatisfactory boats during the coldest winter in recorded history, many Choctaws, Cherokees, and others simply died from exposure, disease and starvation.  Those who lived to see the end of the journey faced obstacles to building a new life that were calculated to result in their death.  But, the survivors were tough, and savvy.  They knew how to scratch out a living from nothing, and they survived.

When news of the plight of the Irish reached the Choctaws they moved to grief by their story. Choctaws hastily collected relief funds for the Irish from their meagre means.  Thus was born a friendship between the two peoples that persists to the present day.

Choctaws are gentle, compassionate, and generous people.  I am proud of my tribe’s record of helping their brothers, no matter who or where they are.  

Wouldn’t it be great if the U.S. government were as generous as the poorest of the poor with their own citizens, let alone those of other nations?

Here’s a fine article on our tribal website that treats this topic in greater detail.  Please explore the entire Choctaw Nation website as well.

Womancatcher

Clematis are coming along beautifully here in the Cherokee Nation.  What a marvel.  What a gift, the magnificent purple of its delicate flowers, the color of nobility and greatness—these may be had for a moment’ s quiet contemplation.  

How jealously I guard my solitude.  How great the rewards of peace and quiet.

Womancatcher

Well, its just like we thought, President Obama has added less to the deficit than any President since 1982.  Yep, he has engaged in less deficit spending than any President in thirty years!  THIRTY YEARS!  In the calculation, they even dumped  significant spending that belonged to that economic savant George Bush on Obama.  So says the Congressional Budget Office, et al.
Womancatcher

Well, its just like we thought, President Obama has added less to the deficit than any President since 1982.  Yep, he has engaged in less deficit spending than any President in thirty years!  THIRTY YEARS!  In the calculation, they even dumped  significant spending that belonged to that economic savant George Bush on Obama.  So says the Congressional Budget Office, et al.

Womancatcher

Pull Up a Chair…

I’m Billie Paul Mills.  My Indian name is “Womancatcher”! Funny sounding name, isn’t it?  Well, its my real matrilineal name. I use my Indian name as my nom ‘d plume.

I am an Native American of mixed blood—Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Choctaw.  For many reasons, I chose tribal membership with the Great Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.  Its situated in the southeast section of the state.  I reside in the NE corner of the state in the magnificent Ozark Mountain foothills.

I am 53 years old, and I am totally disabled by a number of illnesses—SLE, anemia, severe arthritis, diabetes, depression, and even a touch—according to the mental health community— of schizophrenic behavior.

I have lots of time to think.  Think deeply about many things.

 In moderate weather, I cogitate on my porch.  In the snowy and cold months I sit by my woodburning stove and think about physics, cosmology, Indian land tenure matters, medical geography, tribal sovreignty, geometry, social justice, politics, and so forth.

 Above all, I am a naturalist and I explore the many plant and animal species of the area. I’m fond of rocks too. I converse quite often with one very large “table rock”. It doesn’t talk back, but who knows when it might start?  I would sure hate to miss that!  What might it have to say?

One is apt to find most anything discussed here.  I’ll be posting lots of photos too, particularly those associated with the natural world around me.

Drop by, pull up a chair.  Say whatever’s on your mind.  A few rules—no profanity or sexual content.  Mind your manners when speaking of others or I’ll give you the boot.

Thanks,

Womancatcher

Illinois River, Cherokee County, OK