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By Kent Nerburn
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Additional resources for Neither Wolf nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder
He occupied himself with emptying and disassembling the pipe according to some private rituals. It was as if he no longer talking for the grandfathers 41 knew that I existed. I sat there next to him, half watching, as he wrapped it gently in a pouch of some soft animal hide. When he was finished, he spoke again. His tone was formal. “We have smoked together. It is not a joke. You have made a promise to me not to lie with your words or your silences. It will not be easy for you, because you think you aren’t a liar.
Here. Put some more on. ” Halfheartedly, I dropped more sweetgrass into the diminishing flames. Cheap metaphors of dying embers of hope filled my mind. “You’re thinking, not praying,” he said. He raised his voice in a lyrical, rhythmic chant. I stood silent, watching the crumpled edges of several stubborn pieces of paper as the flames crawled their way up and curled them into ash. I waited what I hoped was an appropriate time before speaking. ” I asked. “Grover was right. It’s all inside of me.
There was another car parked next to the house. I waited by my car until someone came to the door. It was 20 Neither Wolf nor Dog a younger woman — the old man’s granddaughter. She gestured me in. I went up the steps and found the old man sitting at the table. He was eating oatmeal and bacon. I immediately put the tattered pages down beside him. He didn’t look at me. “I tried to make a chapter sound like he might want it to,” I said to the woman. With every fiber of my being I wanted to keep talking — to explain myself and justify myself.
Neither Wolf nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder by Kent Nerburn