When I was in grade 3, there was a book in our school's library that I read compulsively. I tried reading other books, and did, but always found myself coming back to the old, worn and familiar, Bread and Butter Indian. I'm not sure what it was about this book that drew me, but it's passages soothed me, and I loved the imagery.
Bread and Butter Indian is a book about a young pioneer girl who makes a Native American friend in a time of unrest between new settlers and the Native Americans. He appears soundlessly beside her, able to move through the woods without so much as cracking a twig on the forest floor. I was drawn to this character. I wanted to move through the woods (and life, really) with that much grace. I wanted to be strong and silent.
The title comes from the snack that the young girl made in the book. White bread and butter, sprinkled over with sugar. If you've never tried this- do, it's really good. How divine was it to be reading Bread and Butter Indian while eating the very snack that Barbara was making in the book? That was perfection to my 8 year old self.
I thought of this book yesterday while on a rare alone hike. I went back through the field and forest to the small falls. I'd never been back that far before, and I wasn't disappointed. A weak sun made an appearance as I explored the riverbank, and I was filled with happiness and excitement over having such a place to visit.
As I made my way down along the creek, and back through the woods, I was throwing caution to the wind, and going off-trail. I knew the general direction of the road, and really, now that I know more of the geography back there, it's not hard to get lost. What is hard, for me, anyway, is to move through the forest with any amount of coordination or grace. I`m quite sure that anyone witnessing my progression through the forest would immediately think I`d been injured, or was in need of some sort of physical therapy. Bread and Butter Indian I am not. It`s no wonder I never see any wildlife.