It’s daybreak on my Yakama homeland. Aan (Sun) is preparing for another day of work, perhaps like me drinking a morning cup of coffee. Aan touches the eastern horizon with light and I feel lucky to witness the artistic transformation of the sky–from a cool blue to warm yellow, and now bits of orangish-pink. I see Tamanwi
lá (Creator) has painted a few clouds, perhaps to companion Aan in their early morning work. I hear the hum of humans driving on Highway 97, either south to Toppenish or north to Yakima. I pause to wish everyone a safe and blessed day as they travel and work on our reservation, or beyond.
In this early morning light I see the shapely silhouettes of apple trees’ leaves. This may be their favorite time of year–the comfortably warm days and deliciously cool nights that help them put the finishing touches on fruits they’ve grown all year, developing the sweet taste for which they are prized, and the coloring to delight consumers’ eyes in the marketplace.
Like us, these fruit trees draw strength and nourishment from my blessed Yakama homeland. Like us, they’ve made it through another year of challenges and opportunities. Like us, not everything they produce will be deemed perfect, or even valuable.
But they keep going.
They keep growing.
Aan and Chuush (Water) perhaps urge them on–maybe like the fall time enthusiastic fans at a cross country meet, “Go, go, go!” “You’re doing great!” “You’re almost to the finish line!” This image makes me smile, as I recall my nephew’s recent gritty and stellar performance at a cross country meet just downriver from here.
I pause and look up from my notebook.
I believe apple tree leaves are smiling back at me.
The Auntie Way Writing Retreat Fall 2022 Session begins Friday, September 30. Learn more and register here.