“Elfin bell in azure dress,
Chiming all day long,
Ringing through the wilderness
Dulcet notes of song.
Daintiest of forest flowers
Weaving like a spell–
Music through the Autumn hours,
Little Elfin bell.” “Hare-Bell” by Emily Pauline Johnson
My senses revive as I inhale
the brisk night air of September.
It has quickened my desire
to stride with gargantuan steps
the rolling wooded hills
and to revisit all the lovely valleys
across the far vistas of Huronia.
I long to see them in their native dress
of green, gold and vermilion.
Under the Full Harvest Moon
I’ll join the shades of old Ojibwe families
when they rise to spear fish,
harvest rice and pick wild berries
as was the custom preparing for winter.
Under the Full Hunter’s Moon
I’ll watch the ghosts
of Chippewa hunters chasing deer
fly faster than the wind blown autumn leaves.
Even now, racing clouds cast long shadows
of mythical fish, birds and animals
on the Haliburton highlands.
To the west Muskoka waits for me
like an Indian maiden in the moonlight.
The voyageurs paddle the old waterways again
and their travelling songs mingle eerily
with the cries of the loon and the whippoorwill.
Under the Full Beaver moon
I’ll help the Algonquin tribes set beaver traps
before the swamps freeze
to ensure a supply of warm winter furs.
At last before the Full Cold Moon
when the smell of burning leaves
like the smoke of a thousand peace pipes
still lingers in the frosty air,
I’ll feel again sharp pangs of sadness
for a trust betrayed by guile, guns and greed.