This is a random memory from a number of years ago, the year my sister Freedom Heart visited. We went to pow-wow at Sequoyah Caverns (yes, the good old days). My son Robert was with us, so I had brought two tents. We got the little dome tent up quickly enough, then I realized I had not packed the bag of poles for the cabin tent. So, I told the two of them to take the dome tent and I would sleep outside.
I fell asleep gazing into a starry sky. I recommend this practice highly: the sensation of falling into the stars is most salutory. So, for that matter, is sleeping directly upon the Earth. So I woke up a bit after first light, when people around me were already stirring. I sat up, still embraced by Sky and Earth, and sang the Cherokee Morning Song.
My sister later told me that kids in the next campsite over, who were not with the pow-wow, asked their Mom, “What kind of people wake up singing ‘Hey-ya-ho,’1 anyway?”
- The words of the Morning Song, like a lot of Cherokee Stomp Dance songs, are in archaic Tsalagi that no one rightly understands any more. There is usually a general sense of the song remembered; this one is “I am of the Great Spirit,” permuted and affirmed. Reminding yourself that you are part of the All first thing in the morning is another recommended practice.