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  • "In life you walk a wire like barb wire. As you walk, your feet are bleeding and cut. As in life, when you go through trials and tribulations. Your first instinct is to run or quit. Sway to one side on this barb wire, you hear laughter and feel warm, swerve back the other way, and you are cold and freezing as you hear crying and despair. You will always be surprised, who deserts you when you need them most, and also, who stands by your side through it all. Life is like this, look to the alter within." (Pete SB Sr)

    I never knew my grandfather. He died when I was four years old. All my years, I've heard echoes of his character, reverberating words that people kept, remembered, lived their lives by. But I have few memories of the man myself. I enjoy when those older than me speak of him. He is my blood, and I welcome knowing the story of my own blood.

    The picture is all that remains of his sweat lodge, merely a shell of stones now. It was a place of healing and insight to many. I sit on a tree stump before the old grounds sometimes. The nectarine sunset is curtained by the most majestic purple clouds. I imagine the eras before my birth.

    I could think of no greater honor as a philosopher, no greater accomplishment as a thinker, than to be remembered as my grandfather is remembered. He was no saint, no sage of lofty perfection. He was a common man. Everyone remembers the times he was ridiculous, the times he was mean, the times he faltered, as well as his times of wisdom.

    Yet whatever his faults, he left an a mark on many lives.

    If twenty years after I'm gone, someone remembers anything I said, if any of my words searched deep enough to guide a life, if anyone wished I was still on the earth to speak with, I would consider mine a life well led.

    We remember my grandfather this time of year. His birthday was two days after mine in February. He died in May.

    The green grass is just beginning to overtake the brittle husks of dead prairie. He would have been preparing for the wopila ceremony to give thanks for our feet touching green grass another year. Lightning darts the sky again. Wakenyan Oyate, the clan of thunder beings returns in native mythology, the beings after which our family takes their name.

    Tonight, perhaps I’ll walk the hill above the creek on our families land. Step away from the busy, overcrowded nature of life and take a moment to remember.
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