Phoenix thought about the previous debate she’d had with Dancing Bear as they ate, then washed the dishes. After her fight with Jade Wolf, she thought about it more as she put her daughters to bed.
Had she been completely wrong about the natural way of things? Would her own daughters be obliged to grow up when their bodies reached physical maturity? Should she fight it or allow them to decide for themselves? What about fools like Jade Wolf? The different thoughts raged and conflicted within her.
At last, she sat with her beadwork, continuing the flames that represented her attempt to make peace with Sage Eagle with her gift.
“Are you okay?” Dancing Bear asked as she sat down with her evening tea.
Phoenix sighed as she picked up another row of yellow and orange beads. “I keep thinking about what a predator Jade Wolf is… He takes advantage of anyone he can hope to take to bed!”
“As I said, it’s his biological job to push – your biological job to put him in his place – regardless of whether that’s accepting or rejecting him. This is the prerogative of every young woman when she’s come of age. As long as he respects her rejection, there is no harm, no foul.”
“What about the young woman who becomes pregnant at 15? She can’t finish school, can’t get a job, can’t even legally marry!”
“Why is school and work more important than a family when you are still young?” Dancing Bear challenged in return, taking a sip of tea. “This is not the way it was done before white man came to this land. The woman had jobs, it is true, she often did them with her baby strapped to her back or her hip. The man had different jobs – bringing home the game, building the houses. They worked together to live a good life. She did not need school to do this – she just learned from her mother, grandmother, the old women of the village.. Why does she need to do more?”
“Because then she’s dependent on other people all her life.”
“Why is this bad?!” Dancing Bear demanded. She sighed. “It seems to me that white man has caused many problems for themselves in insisting that woman be the same as man. She’s not. Thank the Great Spirit! It would be incredibly dull if woman and man were the same creature.”
“But what if a woman wants to go to school and have a career?”
“Then, she should be encouraged,” Dancing Bear said surprisingly. “But then, she will have to be able and willing to plan her children according to her career – or have a husband who wishes to do more of the raising. There is no one-size-fits-all model, but I do believe the traditional model fits most… and that most will have a happier adulthood if they do not fight nature.”
“What about morality? Shouldn’t a man and a woman get married before they have children? The church says they should.”
“How married were you?” Dancing Bear challenged back.
“So, you had children out of spiritual wedlock, did you not?”
“So, what if a man and a woman join spiritually, but not on paper? Is that wrong?”
“The church does not like it, admittedly, but they do not make the laws of nature – no matter how hard they try!”
“What if they join spiritually, then find they cannot live together in peace?” Phoenix asked.
“Do you wear the same style of clothes you did ten years ago?”
“Styles changed. Things that I used to buy can’t be found in the stores now.”
“What’s wrong with the old styles?”
“Do you not grow similarly? What if you change differently than your partner changes? Then what? Should they remain together, fighting?”
“They shouldn’t give up.”
“What if they’ve tried everything, but still can’t get along. Should they stay together, fighting? With children around who know they can’t live peacefully.”
“I agree, Phoenix, that the ideal situation would have the man and woman married for the rest of their lives together. It’s the best situation for everyone. But should we force life-long marriages for a mistake made as a teenager?”
“And yet, you were just hoping that someone suffer consequences by being force into a marriage he doesn’t want.”
“The act of creating life should always be sacred. Ideally, there should be nothing hindering it… you should always be open to life. But you should also be open to bonding with the person you share it with. The someone you mentioned has been willing to create life, but not willing to bond… and he’s done it intentionally. His karma will bite him soon enough. I trust you are no longer tempted to become another one of his victims.”
“No way! I’m cured of any lust for him!” she declared.
“And that was all that Fair Tortoise wished to get from you – the promise that you won’t be another victim. We all care about you – and wish the best for you.”
“Except the one I make this offering for.”
“I think you will find that even he cares for you – and wishes the best for you – if you would be humble enough to give him another chance. His road hasn’t been paved with satin either, you know...”
“He needs to stop being a victim!” Phoenix snapped. “Same as me!”
“You’re right. And maybe you are the one who can teach him this truth. I believe Fair Tortoise said that you’re now on an even playing field. You hurt him, he hurt you. Maybe you can arrive at some sort of truce.”
“Which was the point of this project!” she replied, pointing at the beadwork. She finished the final flame. Now, it was just adding the border around the work, then gluing the backing on. It already looked stunning – and she’d done it all herself!
“It’s a fine piece for your first project. I hope it’s accepted as the peace offering you’ve intended it to be.”
“Me too,” Phoenix said soberly, continuing to work bead after bead in a desperate drive to finish the piece tonight. “When do I give it to him? I don’t want it to be super public, like a dinner...”
“You know you are welcome at Nighthawk’s whenever.”
“How can I do that?!”
“Same as you did when you asked to be allowed to stay. Though I would recommend refusing the coffee!” Dancing Bear smirked.
“Woxi!” Phoenix scolded.
“The sooner you can shrug it off, the better! They make more of a fuss because it bothers both of you. They will stop as soon as you do.”
Phoenix knew she was right. She needed to let the coffee incident go and learn to laugh at it. Maybe she would feel better after she gave Sage Eagle the peace offering. Maybe she could drink coffee again. She sighed with her last stitch and put down the work.
“We’ll put the backing on first thing in the morning – then you can go and give it to Sage Eagle, and maybe we can all live in peace once more!”
“You say that like I’m disrupting the entire village!”
“Aren’t you? The two of you and your antics… the entire village lives in suspense and gossip thanks to the pair of you! The sooner you make amends, the better for everyone!”
Back to the prologue
Available to purchase at Books2Read. Print version will be available soon.
THANK YOU to everyone who has purchased one of my books. I appreciate every single one!
Genesis 8.1 by DAZ 3D Studio
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Previous Swan Valley Stories:
- Native Concession either in ebook form or [print]( . (June 2014, approximately 9 months before Phoenix.)
Swan Valley is a fictitious American Indian reservation located in the Great Divide Basin of Wyoming, USA. The Neme'o'ng (Swan People) are based on the idea of blending the Shoshoni and Arapaho peoples - as might have happened if they were stranded in a desolate area as a small band of misfits. I have developed their language from the same ideas.
Please read my note on romance, teenage intimate relationships and underage sex. I apologize if my understanding conflicts with your sense of morality, but I'm only looking at things realistically, not ideologically. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy writing!
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