Friday, October 21, 2011

Indian Summer at Edgewood (No. 3): Rose Hips

Indian Summer Rose Hips
Edgewood County Park, San Mateo County, CA

Previous Segments in this Mini Story Series
Indian Summer at Edgewood

After the Ohlone folks had finished their dye-making, fishing, and berry gathering projects we all settled down to a spot of relaxation and recreation in the late afternoon sun. A big-eyed girl I took to be about twelve years old marshaled three younger children into a sort of impromptu performance of different kinds of animals. 

The littlest girl, probably three or four, was adept at bouncing of her haunches and wiggling her nose like a rabbit. Of course she got got the loudest murmurs of appreciation. The two other kids, both boys, switched back and forth between pouncing like a cougar, or maybe a bobcat- onto the rabbit, swiping down fall berries - that was obviously a bear, and yipping and howling like a coyote. The also put on quite a very credible show involving a Western fence lizard (I recognized those push-up motions), and what was obviously a rattlesnake surprised in the act of devouring what I thought might be a gopher. The gopher, in this case, won. It had to win since it was the tiny girl doing her best. Nobody in her clan was going to sit idly by and watch her be turned into rattlesnake fodder. Even the rattlesnake seemed relieved when she got away.

Then the older girl began to emit a kind of buzzing noise and began to flap her arms about a cleared section of the creek. She did a lot of dipping and diving in on the older of the two boys who sat in mock stoic silence, giving every impression of an animal at his wit's end, unwilling to give in to persecution. At this point, I was starting to have a little trouble following the story line, as dictated in a sing-song voice by grandmother. 

I suppose my confusion was obvious because the small band took pity on me and the director stopped her humming to give a direction to the older boy. I'm pretty sure she told him something along the lines of, "Let's move it along, Bud." 

The boy came to life and began to snap, yip and growl at the irritating creature who was clearly making his life a misery. Before she'd had a chance to respond another buzz, pitched much higher than the big-eyed thespian, began to sound just above our heads. 

When the jewel-toned throat of the Anna's hummingbird came into view everybody began laughing, pointing back and forth between the tiny bird and the oldest girl, who had resumed her darting, buzzing dance.

By the time coyote had consumed the pesky hummingbird, who of course didn't let that stop her fun, dusk was beginning to settle creekside.

It was time for me to hop into the closest time portal and head home.

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Here's a link to an English version of some Ohlone stories, like the ones I heard down by the creek. There's one about Coyote and Hummingbird, which might be something similar to the one I heard that day. I still think the Rumsien version, and the acting talent I witnessed in past times Edgewood Park was the best version!

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