It ain’t easy being Indian (Feb. 2014)

By Ricey Wild
News From Indian Country

The easy thing to do is gripe about the horrific Polar Vortex II and how I’ve been huddled in front of my little space heater at home with the temp set at 58 degrees because I dare not put it any higher. Propane is used to heat my house and prices just skyrocketed to almost 5 bucks a gallon! Oops! I see that I have indeed just complained about the frigidly cold weather up here but I see on national news I’m certainly not alone. A facebook friend posted a picture of severely frostbitten feet which is hard to look at but it must be harder to feel. But of course all this extreme weather we are experiencing has nothing to do with climate change. So I suppose we can all just diddley-bop along or stick our heads in the sand or snow banks.
WARNING: If anyone complains about the heat in my hearing this coming summer you best run away as fast as you can. No jury in the world would convict me, Denise F. just saying! ;D Heck I will beat my own self about the head if even a tiny wisp of a thought comes through of how it’s ‘too hot’. I see myself buying bright, floaty summer dresses and wearing sandals, I’m going to picnic in my own backyard watching the glorious sun set and giving over to warm pleasure. Let me know when you’re in the area and come sit with me.
Since I’m on the topic of weather I will offer a few tips on what I do to stay warm and comfortable. Ahem!

1) Get a couple cats, preferably from the local animal shelter but do it responsibly; they have feelings too and are very loving and grateful companions as are dogs. I have one rescue cat that lies on my feet, another likes my lap and five of the six usually sleep with me, even following me when it’s time to sleep. My belly is prime retail for them and after that my legs and shoulders. My beloved Mitzi my dog also has to cuddle up and is right there if any monsters dare show up from under our bed.
2) Lose any sense of fashion inside or out of the house. No one will think you look cute with frostbite; it’s a seriously life-threatening condition. I remember my younger self wearing high heels traipsing to the club in sub-zero temps; I can say this because I was lucky enough not to be frozen to the sidewalk. Very lucky. Bundle up people you can be cute when it gets warm out again.
3) I made chicken soup for my friend that is ailing from flu/cold and ended up eating it because I don’t have a way to get it to her. Simmering water infused with yummy chicken-y aroma warmed up the house and my belly so I felt good inside and out.
4) Older people have stories about how they had to go out to collect wood for the fire and chop it up every day! I include this because I know I’m very fortunate (and lazy) to not have to do that so quit your whimpering ways. My theory is that the physical exercise, only they didn’t call it exercise, is why some of our Elders have had longevity in their lives in addition to their natural diet, only they didn’t call it ‘diet’, they called it eating. There were no fast-food joints back in their youth and they are better for it.

5) Stay inside if you can or at least the most you are able. The world is not going to shut down if you take a break to be safe so…for lack of a better metaphor, chill out. Ay! There you have it, I’m sure I’ll think of more wise words of wisdom after this goes to print but I trust yooz understand the gist.
I am compelled to bring up Valentine’s Day for one reason only: I’m gonna buy me some candy and flowers, write a poem or two and be super appreciative of myself because hey, gotta start somewhere! I wish all you single or coupled up snags and snaglette’s have a lovely day and night, I will have my furry loved ones around me; they display the kind of affection that transcends and transforms into unconditional love. We still have a lot to learn from them.
We Indians are descended from very healthy, hardy people, I think we owe it to them to get back to that place so we don’t merely survive, we will thrive. It won’t be easy in this instant cup o’ soup world we live in but I have family and friends who have proved it. I tease them for their granola-kelp-organic ways but I really admire them…Keri D. Nevarez, Cheri Martin, Melissa Zimmerle…! Mmmmmwah! ;D