In an earlier blog, I talked about storytellers, and the significance that they hold in the Native American culture. Oral traditions, memories, and culture are all passed from one generation to the next in this way. I hope that in some small way, my blogs honor all the storytellers who have woven this wonderful tapestry of Native American life. Sometimes my blogs are about people, events, and adventures, and sometimes about precious memories from my past. This blog is one of the latter.
The coming of winter is a time for reflection and sharing. The sun peeks above the eastern horizon, casting a bright gaze upon the earth for a while, but then quickly retreating to the west. The animals prepare for their winter slumbers by storing foods, and the trees and plants await the cold and snow. We humans also prepare, setting a brisk fire in the fireplace, drinking warm beverages, and bundling in warm blankets. This is when many of the family stories and traditions are shared from the elders to the young ones.
Christmas stories are particularly poignant in my life, as many of my most precious childhood memories revolve around this holiday season. My father always used to gather his children next to the Christmas tree each Christmas eve, and read the Christmas story to us from the Bible. Mom would tell us stories of Native American holiday traditions, and we absorbed these traditions as part of our culture. At this time of year, I particularly miss my parents, but I am comforted by knowing that their memories stay alive within me, and are passed along in the stories that Michael and I tell to our children and grandchildren. This is the way of the world.
So each Christmas, I try to share with you a story or two about the holidays. So far, I have shared stories about our Southwestern Christmas tree, tasty biscochitos, glimmering farolitos, treasured nacimientos, and more. Some are on The Dancing Rabbit Gallery website, and some are on the Dancing Rabbit Facebook page. Please feel free to browse and share the stories, and add your own special memories if you wish. Yes, we still have the storytelling contest running through the end of the year, and your stories and special memories are very welcome as entries.
Through sharing stories, we preserve the traditions of the past. But we also get to know each other better, gaining an appreciation and respect for the commonalities and differences of each other’s lives. The more we understand of others, the less we fear the differences, and that opens the door to peace and harmony. In all of our travels throughout the American Southwest, and throughout the world, that is one constant we have seen among all peoples – the desire to raise their families in peace. So in this holiday season, smile at a stranger, say hello to a neighbor, give a friend a big hug, or share a story with someone. This will bring warmth to your life and to theirs – what a wonderful gift during the cold winter!