I'm laying in bed and listening to a few N.W.A songs. These things don't have a connection really, just setting up a scene for you. So, I am laying in bed and listening to N.W.A, a part of a song comes on and it takes me to a time I hadn't expected to go to. Latchkey. Jokes and definitions aside, it was a recreational program, for the kids. One of the best part of my childhood. It was just a mesh of kids hanging out in building with adult supervision.
It's summer time in this memory.
I guess our camping trip got canceled or something along those lines. I can remember how we were in the rec building, now the C.A.R.D building. Normally we would go to Algonquin Provincial Park for a trip. It was annual. The saying "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" comes in play a lot in my community. There was another camping trip that we would go on and it is escaping me right now. (It came to me, Niagara Falls.)
That aside, we are staying in the building. We all tell stories, as any group of kids would. Prior to the night, we had probably had teachings. Teachings of our culture. Not all of us come from families that practice the traditional ways. It is something that would come back to us time and time again. Different examples of feeling safe, keeping each other safe.
Around the fire, still during the daytime, I should mention. We notice that there are birds flying above us. Just flying in circles. One was a nice bird, the other not as much. It was like a game of chase. Just the one wasn't in on the game. We go on through the usual ghost stories. Tradition, why break it.
At one point the boys get it in their head that they need to call out this bird. Rightly so, he was clearly picking on the other one. I should note now that these birds are seagulls. Originally we thought that they would be after our hotdogs that we were cooking by the fire. It isn't the case, however. This we all realize after a while.
The names that we had given to them were in relation to what we had learned earlier that week. The mean gull is now peaking and picking at the other one. The guys shout out, "this guy is a dick". "Hey get off of I think, Steve". (I know that it was a name that was very human and not anyone in the group.) Everyone is shouting, a few of us "pray". Not at all in the traditional sense of invocating. From either culture that we might be referencing. There is a church in our community.
A few of the girls would attend. Not I, however.
We weren't praying to God or the Creator in the religious and spiritual sense. Not yet. It was more of a sarcastic manner. "Let this dick seagull leave, Steve alone." For an example. It was something along those lines. When it came to this program we were a little bit mouthy. Depending who the counselor was at the time. There was a handful that none of us took very seriously. I am sure they never thought much of themselves either. I mean in the role.
Getting right to where I meant to get. We laid down some tobacco. The memory is hazed and not as strong as once was. I haven't thought about the bird since it happened. It could have been a dream I had that night in the rec building. It still counts as a memory, doesn't it.
We laid down the tobacco for the seagull that was now hurt. Even tossed him some food, strongly suggested from the older people to not feed them. As they would keep asking for food. Of course, we did anyways. They damn bird was just beaten up by a fellow gull.
Throughout our childhood and a bit in our teens this would happen again. Not the birds but the call back to who we are. What we feel inside of ourselves. I would think that it is a tool that is barely used in our arsenal. It is something that is there. Some of us don't know how to go about it, feel out of place even thinking about our culture. That fear is yet another thing that is inside of us. Tipping the balance inside.
Every so often I am reminded of these events in the past. The past where I can remember having the best times. Laughing and giggling with friends. Most of these people who I am not all that close with nowadays. But still see at times, as these kids; wild, brown and mouthy. Alright, some of us might be a little taller, maybe a little rounder. Still mouthy and toning down on the wild part.