Winter Count

What better day for a Winter Count than a day we are snowed in? All around us snow on snow, snow on snow — and yet another snow cloud moving in across the Sound. 

Winter Count is the Plains Indians practice of recording each year’s memorable events in a spiral of symbols drawn on an animal hide, sometimes on the sides of teepees. These drawings were added to each year at winter camp, commemorating, for instance, the year of the one horned buffalo, the year of the comet, or the year of the flood.

It is something to think about. What significant event would you record for 2008 in your own Winter Count?

For me, it is Mom’s death. February 16, 2008. 

Were I to mark a symbol on the side of the teepee that is this new blog, I would paint my mom with wings — because she spent some of her happiest hours piloting her Piper Commanche. After more or less raising five kids, she turned her considerable intellect to air racing across the United States. In one of her rambly conversations near the end, when her mind was loosely tethered, she told me she and Dad had flown their little plane around the world, though she wasn’t quite sure what route they had taken over the Himalayas to get to China. Even when she could no longer get out, she was still flying. 

Into the void left by Mom’s absence has flooded the love and energy of my sisters Susan, Nancy and Kate, and my brother, Tim. We are closer than ever. I think Mom and Dad must look down on us and be glad for that.

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