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© Jane Cassidy

Rain is falling all around us.  You can hear the rhythmic pounding
of the raindrops on the canvas, of the raindrops on the ground,
while we gather in the tipi, warm and dry and safe and sound,
to share the warmth of friendship as we pass the pipe around.

Now the shadowplay of fire weaves a pattern on the bright-
ly painted smokestained canvas cover of the lodge with dancing light.
From outside it seems a shining spirit lantern whose inviting
warmth and inner golden glow add beauty to the night.

Wisps of acrid smoke that linger, for the smokeflaps have been set
not to let the smoke escape so much as to keep out the wet,
mingle with the sage and sweetgrass and the honest smell of sweat
and sacred breath: tobacco from the passing calumet.

In the dark the wind that whistles 'round our canvas cone coccoon
steals away the shroud of clouds that covered our Grandmother Moon.
Now the velvet midnight sky's a robe with shining star-beads strewn.
The storm is done.  The rising sun will dry the mud by noon.

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