Buffalo Spirit: The Loon Song~Mary Thomas
It will be a prayer to all our Elders to remain strong and not to give up on the young people's future.
Like the loon he still looks after the wilderness. It's a beautiful echo. That's why it belongs up in the mountains; just that beautiful echo brings that peace and calm.
I can remember my grandmother. She used to take us down to the river when we were just little. She had a sweatlodge and we would just go down with her.
You know how it is when you are just small. You don't value things. It's just play, play, play, and she warned us if you see anything happening don't get scared. Leave it alone.
We got in the sweat the first time. It was to pray for ourselves, to clean ourselves. The second time we go in was for our families. Pray for our families to stay strong, united. Third time we pray for all our community, our relatives, our people. The fourth time back in, that it's for Mother Earth. Pray for Mother Earth.
When we got out of there, and every time we came out, we had to in the river that was down in Chase (BC). The fourth time out we got to stay in the water a little longer. And that's when the loon happened to swim up and under to come up just a little ways from us.
Our granny told us “Be quiet. Just be quiet.” And the loon started going around. Pretty soon another come up and we all crowded around our grandmother and hung onto her. And she said, “It won’t hurt you. Just be quiet".
And pretty soon another one showed up. They would splash their wings on top of the water and kinda walk on it. We were getting scared and hung onto our grandma, and she started that song, low-kinda singing.
And they just started circling around us, splashing and she was singing that song. And we got so scared she kept holding us. All of a sudden, it just came too close. We got so scared. We ran out of the water and the loons went up and disappeared.
She came out the water and said, "I told you not to move. It wouldn't hurt you". But no, we were standing there just shaking.
She was talking to the birds and they all just disappeared… And we tried to ask our grandmother, “How come those birds did that to us.” And she tried to explain it to us…
[Her grandmother's explanation:] That was her. Her spirit was with the loon. She was cleansing us. It's supposed to circle around you and take whatever is bothering us. She said we didn't stay long enough.
Long after ,and when she got real old and I became a young woman, I would remind her of it and she would hit me like that and say, "I bet you would never go and swim like that again.”
I said, “No, grandma, loon won't come near me."
"Just give it time. It will come".
I've never had the experience. Hopefully, someday the loon will take pity on me and come to me if I'm good enough.