1621 c/o Jefferson Byrd

1621, Connecticut

"Mohimbe. Alamohimbe!" said Grandfather. This was Indian talk for come over here, pronto!

Grandfather was pointing to a couple of tiny owl pellets on the forest floor. "Alamohimbe. Mohimbala." I wasn't sure what that meant, but it sounded like more Indian talk. Grandfather knelt down and picked up one of the black, speckled pellets. He squished it between his thumb and his index finger and gave it a sniff.

"Ahh. Mohimbe!" said Grandfather, a frown creeping across his old man face. He stuck his blackened, greasy finger out for me to smell. Reluctantly, I bent down and gave Grandfather's finger a good long whiff. It didn't smell like much of anything. Grandfather pulled his hand back and greedily took another whiff himself.

"Alamohimbe," he said solemnly. The owl these pellets had come from, Grandfather explained in Indian talk, had just died. Grandfather wiped his greasy finger onto his pants and stood up, gazing off up into the trees. Somewhere out there, he told me in Indian talk, the spirit of the owl is struggling to escape the mortal world. Liberated from its body, the soul flies off, but it cannot be truly free until it breaks away from all this... Grandfather gestured to the trees, the ground... all this is the mortal world, Grandfather said.

"Mohimbe. Alamohimbe. Mohimbala," he said, explaining the process by which souls depart the body and fight against the elements before passing on to the realm of spirits. He made it sound like a sad thing, this struggle that the soul must undertake before going to the spirit realm. I didn't want to imagine the ordeal my soul would have to go through trying to get out of this crummy mortal world. But Grandfather reassured me that it was not sad nor was it happy. It is all just some stuff that happens.

Just then, a distant rumbling. Grandfather sprung forward, his brow creased. He looked over to the lake where our people fish and make camp every harvest. The rumbling grew louder and louder until we finally saw it.

"Mohimbe..." said Grandfather. The white man.

Dressed in strange clothing, the white men stood around talking to each other in a curious language I could not understand. There were six of them. One of them cracked open a cooler and began passing out beers to the others. Some of them already had opened beers, which they chucked into the lake so they could each enjoy a fresh one. I leaned closer to get a better view when I saw the great beast that had made such a mighty rumbling. It was an off-road vehicle with four-wheel drive, V-6 engine and a luxury interior. I had never seen anything like it before. The white men were unhitching a jet-ski from the back of their sports utility vehicle. Grandfather motioned for me to hurry back to our camp by the green fields.

"Mohimbe?" I asked. White men?

"Mohimbe.” Grandfather replied. Assholes.