Grandmother was strong, like a distant mesa.
From her sprang many stories of days long ago.
From her gentle manners
Lessons were learned
Not easily forgotten.
She told us time and again
That the earth is our mother,
Our holy mother.
“Always greet the coming day
by greeting your grandparents,
Ya at eeh Shi cheii (Hello, My Grandfather)
To the young juniper tree.
Ya at eeh Shi masani (Hello, My Grandmother)
To the young pinon tree.”
The lines in her face were marks of honor,
Countless winters gazing into the blizzard,
Many summers in the hot cornfield.
Her strong brown hands, once smooth,
Carried many generations,
Gestured many stories,
Wiped away many tears.
The whiteness of her windblown hair,
A halo against the setting sun.
My grandmother was called Asdzan Alts iisi,
Small Woman. Wife of Little Hat,
Mother of generations of Bitter Water Clan,
She lived 113 years.
© Shonto Begay