My grandbabies talk about water. They live by the ocean, along the river. Their Quinault ancestors on their grandma’s side travel by canoe along the river highways and along the currents of the Pacific Ocean, so they speak of water as though speaking of their own bodies.
4 year old Ke’Olani, touching me above my heart with her hand: “What is this, Grandpa?”
Me: “It’s my collarbone.”
“It holds your body up and the muscles pull on the bones to make your body move. It’s covered by skin.”
“Like the wall? Where are the bones in the wall?”
I found a place where 2×4 were exposed on the rails of the porch. I showed her. “These are in the wall.” “And water too?”
“Like the bathroom?”
“Yes. And the kitchen.” Looking under the sink. “Yes, like the pipes that bring water from one part of the house to another.”
Soon after my participation in protecting the clean water of the Missouri River on which their Dakota ancestors, my people, live and travel, Quoia and Kianna brought me to where their father brings them to get fresh, clean spring water, which runs through a pipe. It becomes a stream flowing into the Quinault River, flowing into the ocean. “You can take as much as you want, Grandpa. It just goes to the ocean.”
All from a 6 and 5 year old, showing me this place where water is life. I am blessed to have grandchildren who speak as elders. In their innocence, they share from their DNA, from their genetic memory.
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