“Rory, how are you?”
“I’m all right, how’s your trip?”
“It’s great. Remember I told you I was going to the gynecologist?”
“Yeah, anything weird? What did they find?”
“A baby, Rory. They found our baby.”
“Oh.” There was a long pause. “I thought the test was negative.”
“That test was wrong, honey. I’m pregnant.”
“But, weren’t you on birth control, Katie?”
“I am or was. It doesn’t always work. The doctor recommends an IUD for me after the baby.”
“Wow, you’re going to do this, then? But, what about vet school?”
“I’m sure it’s happened before. I’ll study my options when I get back.” She expected this, but still, it gnawed at her. His responses were too slow and irritating. “I have to go now. I have some things to do before I come back. I'm setting up a Blessingway. I’ll call you when I know about my return flight. I love you, you know?”
The hogan is circular like the sky. Life begins in the east, where the hogan’s door is and ends in the west. The North Pole is evil, and the southern horizon is the opposite, warm and nurturing. The hogan is set up to mimic this circle, with the wood stove in the center.
Rose came in with a wooden box containing the chant equipment: her prayer stick, a wooden totem the length of her elbow to her fingertips, an eagle bone whistle, eagle feathers, and a gourd rattle. The prayer stick had an eagle feather attached, so Rose’s prayers would fly to heaven. Her eagle whistle had a feather too, so musical notes could float skyward.
Hatałii priests officiate Blessingways. Rose was a female hatałii, and she would officiate today, and as the chant leader seated at the southwest. Katie, the blessing receiver would be in the northwest.
Rose was looking through her box for her bags of pollen and cornmeal when she heard Katie drive up. She called to the drummer to begin the ‘come inside’ signal.
Ellen wanted to bring yarn and beads because bilagáana copy the Diné ceremony for their baby showers. But the Navajo perform Blessingways twice during pregnancy. The first happens when the pregnancy is publicly acknowledged, and the second comes months later when the baby is ready to join the world. This is when Ellen’s yarn comes into the ceremony where it is cut into sections after the ladies tie it to their wrists to bind them together and to bind the baby to the people.
Katie changed into a loose-fitting blouse and baggy cotton pants with an elastic waist. These free clothes would allow her to lift her shirt up while Rose fumigated her being, worked pollen onto her belly, encircled her body with a line of cornmeal, and blessed the baby.
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El Rancho Grand Island