Grandfather began keeping a winter count a few years ago on a nicely tanned deerskin, and will use only natural pigments he makes – says it so his grandchildren will always know their personal history and that of their family, very humbling to watch him unroll and read it to them.
I’ve seen children point to a character in a story book and excitedly comment, or “read” along, it is the same with grandfather’s wintercount, his grandchildren know the characters, the symbols, and read along.
When something new is to be added he calls them to gather round and explains the addition, tells them it is part of an ongoing story and will ask if they agree with the narrative as it is being set down.
Photos and videos are priceless, but this to me is something special, it is the old speaking to the new, the continuity of a time honored tradition, something very personal and a labor of love.
I’ve said in the past that grandfather is a giant in my eyes…he seems to grow in stature with each winter that comes and goes.