Tony and I were out of bed early this morning. I have been sleeping so well. I think it is the constant fresh air I am being exposed to. Tony was getting ready to go hunting with the men when Palesa stopped him in his tracks and said that she had a different chore for the both of us today. Tony was a little disappointed but he didn’t argue. I think Palesa is trying to match make. She thinks she is being sneaky but she isn’t. Palesa sent Tony and I grocery shopping today to collect berries, mushrooms, wild onions and hickory nuts. It was our chore for the day and I enjoyed it. Palesa drew a couple of nice pictures to show us what we were looking for. It was a fun adventure if you don’t include the invasion of ants that attacked Tony while he was up one of the trees and the large spider that climbed up my arm while I was picking berries.
You should have seen Tony climb the trees. At first I was thinking we were going to return to the village without the nuts but after a few tries Tony actually made it up into the trees. Palesa told us not to collect the nuts off the ground (she made sure we understood this point) because they were usually rotten and often contain more insects than the nuts still on the trees. The berries were pretty simple to collect and Palesa said as long as we picked only the mushroom she had drawn we wouldn’t pick anything deadly. She suggested we didn’t sample any until we returned to the village just to be safe. It has been a very good day.
It has been a fun day. The longer I am here the more I think this is the perfect place to live. I was sitting on a log near the creek thinking about life when Palesa came up behind me and wanted to know if I wanted to see a wedding ceremony. Oh course my answer was “yes”.
The Sequoia tribe has an interesting way of finalizing wedding vows. The ceremony was actually quite beautiful. The bride and the groom were lovely and looked so happy. Like our wedding ceremonies back at Bear Country there were lit candles, a lovely speech, songs about love and blessings. Everyone gave the happy couple a blessing of happiness even the smaller children. At the end of the ceremony the couple stripped naked, jumped into the waterfalls and bathed each other as everyone cheered them on. It was very sweet and a unique experience to watch.
After the ceremony Palesa asked me about the ceremony Tony and I had. She was just curios about how my world handled weddings. I had to tell her that Tony and I aren’t married. He is my friend. A couple of times he has been more than my friend. We have a bond to each other but we aren’t married. Palesa was a little surprised. She said the way we act toward each other she just assumed we had made a life time commitment. Maybe someday Tony and I will make a lifetime commitment to each other but for now I am still hurting over the death of Yates. Tony has made it clear that he loves me but he understands that I need a little time.
I am enjoying my stay. I think I could stay here forever. The Sequoia’s have a simple life but it is a good life. Everyone shares everything. Everyone has chores. No one fights. The small children run around play and act as if they don’t have a care in the world. Palesa is an inspiration. She has so much energy and a good heart. I watched her mend hurt feelings when one of the smaller children couldn’t keep up in a game of keep away. All the children go to school. Palesa said that everyone learns to read. Story time is one of the highlights of the day for the younger children.
Tony is enjoying his hunting trips with the men and has been helping Xu with the mending of shelters. I think he is enjoying his time here also. I love the evenings out here. The stars are so bright. Last night we say a meteor shower that lasted more than an hour. One of the smallest children brought the meteors to our attention. It was so cool. The children all giggled in delight every time they saw a bright light fly across the sky. Tony and I also enjoyed the show. When we were certain the show was over the smaller children were sent to bed. The evening hours are so peaceful.