Indian Summer

Indian Summer

{PHOTO} Photo/Special to The Source Newspaper
“Injun Summer” by John McCutcheon, Chicago Tribune, September 30, 1907

In the Autumn
when the leaves fell
my grandfather and I
raked them into a large circle.
As the day drifted into evening,
he placed a blanket in the middle
of the circle and we sat very tall.
As darkness came toward us,
grandfather talked in quiet voice.
While he spoke, the smoke from
the autumn fire swirled
and curled and created dream pictures.
He told of Indians who had
the land.  Like a mist
against the trees I could see
the wigwam and teepee.
With strong faces and flashing eyes
stood great chiefs.  The feathered
headdress and painted face reflected
the pride of their nation.
For food, clothes and shelter
they hunted deer, elk and bear;
There was clean water and clean air
and breathing room.
In the plains were herds of
bison and buffalo that sent
thunder to the skies as they
ran before the wind.
Wild horses  …
black and brown and shiny,
pinto and spotted and free
ran together … and alone.
Beside stony walls
eagles glide,
and the mountains change color
with the shadows.
Indian dancers loved these autumn nights
when they would tell stories,
and dance the legends
of their grandfathers.
As the fire faded into the night,
I said,
“Grandfather, the fire is dying.”
And he pulled the blanket
around my shoulders
and held me
very tight.

“Indian Summer” is an excerpt from the book, Children’s Stories for Almost Everyone, by Robert L. Crowe, available at Our Town Books in Jacksonville.

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