As I walk down the lane I'm texting my oldest daughter, Victoria, who goes to school in Regina. I put the phone away and look up. The skies are alive today, dark and cloudy. I'm using an umbrella as a walking stick. Thought that if I left it at home, it would for sure rain. Last night our bedroom door slammed shut in the wind. I woke up again later, my youngest daughter laying beside me, and the smell of the dry leaves in the rain was cologne, an invitation from a sweetheart, "Let's go for a walk." Now, the wind, dark sky, moist air walks with me. I see a bird straight above and it seems he just floats in the same spot, wings out, now gliding slightly forward. I think it's an eagle. There is another, even higher. I read the second Treaty Essential Learning last night, and I'm thinking "brother to brother" this morning. The gravel is wet at my feet.
I don't count the teepees this morning; they are now set up on all four sides in preparation for Treaty 4 Celebrations this week. Funny, to think a circle has sides. There are many tents pitched closer to the lake, like a second half-circle. Cars and trucks are parked in the camp sites. I see a few mobile campers. A trunk is open. A few people are walking around. Brother to brother, I think, knowing I don't feel "brother-like" walking along the gravel road, outside the circle. I see a bird floating high above the ski hill. There are two more, even higher. I wish my hunting-fishing-skiing-hiking-dirt-biking brother, Ian, was here. He'd know if they are eagles for sure. I hear the birds call, that piercing whistle sound. Yes, I think they're eagles.
An orange grader clips past the hospital, now past the Governance Centre. The monster machine turns toward me and stops, lowing the blades. I walk forward, camera snapping. The window-door slides open. I click another picture. It's my brother, Ian, who works for the town.
He says, "Listen to what I'm listening to."
I lean in, but I can't really hear.
"CBC," he says and raises his eyebrows.
Ian drives a grader but can quote more Shakespeare than I can, and now he's let me catch him listening to CBC. Just what he needs, more bragging rights!
My brother at my back, I keep walking. So if the treaties were formed brother-to-brother, then they should have a family feel. Barbeque at your place, Thanksgiving supper at mine. Wave as we pass each other on the way to work. I think about my brother's kids, Kellen, Lanelle and Neve. I think of playing tennis with Janet, his wife, this summer at 6:00am, before Ian headed to work at 7:00. I think of my cousin, Angela, who has moved to the Fort, and her three kids, Ivan, Dominique, and Emora, and how much I love playing music with her husband, Brian.
Ian's driven the grader for a few years now. Quite often he'd say, "Hey did you notice I took care of your road? and I'd answer, "No. Sorry." Since I've started walking, I've told him, "Nice job on the road."