Sunday, December 23, 2012


I just read two interesting stories about the end of the world in a book about Native Americans.  I don't have a photo of "Grandfather Beaver" or a buffalo robe, so these images from our visit to Yellowstone National Park in September 2011, will have to do.
According to the Sioux, the future of the world depends on an old black dog.  He lives in a cave where the prairie and the badlands meet on the Great Plains.  There, an old woman (I could post my photo here - haa haa) has been sitting in front of a fire for one thousand years decorating a strip for a buffalo robe.  She is carefully threading it with colored porcupine quills (ouch).  The dog sits beside her.  Behind her is a pot of soup (I don't cook so my photo would not fit the story) that has been boiling for one thousand years.  When the woman finishes decorating the strip the world will end, but every time she turns around to stir her soup, the dog pulls that porcupine quills out .  The old woman never finishes the buffalo robe; thus the world continues on!  Good old dog - if it was Snoopy, he would probably too busy flying around or writing/translating his novel into French.
The Cheyenne tell a different story - the date of the world rests with a great white Grandfather Beaver.  It is gnawing at the pole that holds up the Earth.  When it finally bites through and the pole topples, Earth will end.  Storytellers claim he is already halfway through (by the end of 2000 - remember Y2K?), and he chews faster when he is angry.  That is why the Cheyenne do not eat beaver meat or wear its skins.  They do not want to make Grandfather Beaver angry.  So remember no matter how hungry you are, please do not eat beaver meat.
Every year, someone tries to prove that "seeing is believing" theory while visiting Yellowstone National Park.  Every visitor is handed a little flyer with a drawing of a person being thrown through the air by a bison, aka 2,000 lbs buffalo with a big pointy thing on its head.  That day, I saw three people literally ran after Big B (below) to get a close-up photo - you just can't fix stupid!   
We were on our way out of the park thru the North Entrance, back to the hotel in Gardiner, Montana, when traffic came a complete stop.  We thought it might be a fire or a tree falling over blocking the road.  Whatever it was, we thought we should stay put and wait for directions from the park rangers.  Even though the warning was printed in bold in the visitors' brochure but in a moment of excitement, the people ahead of us got out of their vehicles and started to run up the road ahead.  Then we saw what got everyone excited - the Buffalo King of Wyoming (not the New York Buffalo Bills)! 
For an animal with an average weight at over a thousand pounds, Big B moves gracefully and really taking his sweet time.  We watched as it took a few steps, then stop, strike a pose (we pulled off the road to stay out Big B's way, yet we could hear his breathing and for a second I thought he was going to charge at us.  "Ralphie" probably would not hesitate to use me, his short-chubby-old wife's body, as a sheild to keep Big B from scratching his precious Pony), then galloping down the road, then stop, pose one more time and then it was time to get off the road, back to the grassland - dinner time!!

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