there were times when Natalynn could still smell the ocean and
hear the singing of the whales in her mind even though it was a distant memory
her tribe would be getting ready for the whaling they had fought long and hard with the government many generations before to have their whaling rights returned to them
it was because of this whaling/government connection that the elders had first been approached about the government's genetic engineering project that was looming on the horizon
many promises had been made by the government promises of children who wouldn't have diabetes...alcoholism....and that slowly would remove all the genetic diseases that affected her tribe
and the Makah would prosper in ways never to be imagined by her parents and grandparents
if only that could be
the elders had considered the Makah involvement long and hard
of course the fact that they were blackmailed about their whaling rights had a huge influence on them as well
when they cooperated and sent a few of their people to the labs for tests and possible genetic alterations they had started on a path that none of them understood
but isn't that always the way it is with the "White Man" and the "Red Man"
three generations later they were about to find out
the history of the experiment was muddled in Natalynns mind
what she remembered most was the fear her family felt when they had to go to the BIG CITY to be poked and prodded and tested and examined head to toes for any changes due to the treatment and the questions
and the notes they took
never with any explanation of what they were looking for ...altho they always ended the exam with
"everything is going just as expected"
"sorry for the long bus ride"
"we'll see you next month"
the deep canyon pool was an oasis in the otherwise dry and dusty landscape of the 4 corners area
each day Natalynn carefully tread down the path into the canyon to wade into the water and float lazily in the coolness of the canyon's pool
"this is a child of a water sprite" Natalynn thought as she and her baby bouyantly floated on the surface of the water.... "she is so very far from the animal crys of all coastal wisdom" ... "may the canyon water here on it's long journey to the sea teach this child the wisdom of water at it's source"
"a source of wisdom of green and alive....a wisdom which seeks the expanse but then returns to it's source like the salmon"
each day she went and sent this offering into the universe and then she began to feel the fluttering
at first as gentle as a butterflys wings but as the days went by it strenghened until it began to feel like a wild bird caught within the cage of her body
eager to be released to fly out and into the air
~~~its true home~~~
she made the decision early on NOT to tell the doctors at the clinic about this
she didn't know why
she just knew
Queenie Shambala's beeper was insistant and she felt like tossing it out the window, but as usual she resisted the inpulse.
The clinic on the Rez was always busy on Monday busier today than usual
she glanced at the beeper as she turned it off for the umpteenth time
" come to ultrasound"
the message said "ASAP"
Being a Neonatologist on this Indian Reservation was a very busy job and there are always those days when busy is not particulary welcome
This was one of those days
as Queenie Shambala came full steam thru the door of the ultra sound lab she caught a glimpse of Natalynn Winningway on the ultrasound table
the tech was moving the ultrasound wand slowly over her swollen abdomen
Natalynn looked calm and seemingly out of touch with the procedure
it was something she'd had to do so often that she was detached from the results
in fact Natalynn had to have many more tests and procedures then most pregnant women on the Rez
Natalynn and women like her were the reason Queenie was doctoring here
she had applied and reapplied for 3 years for a post on this particular Rez
Natalynn and her husband Joseph and their families were part of a multi-gene cleaning experiment created by the government
thru the discoveries made in genetic engineering
the tech stared up at Queenie with a perplexed look ... "i can't find it now" she said
Natalynn lifted out of her revelry and turned her head toward the screen as per usual this early in the pregnancy she couldn't make heads or tails of it
Queenie noticed and said
"another perfectly normal pregnancy Natalynn you can get dressed now"
a slightly embarrassed look crossed the tech's face she turned to Queenie who motioned her to stop the scan and waited for Natalynn to leave the room
"what did you see" she asked the tech "i'm not sure" as she brought up the video playback "see right there" the babys back flipped into sight and a slight almost imperceptable shadow raised from the scapular areas on both sides she backed up the video and reran the event
Queenie looked carefully at the picture "she's 14 weeks now right" "yes" the tech said "what was your impression ?" Queenie asked
"it looked like some kind of possible abnormal growths to me but it came and went so quickly that i didn't form a definate opinion but i thought you should see it right away"
Queenie's brow furrowed ... but she didn't get that feeling that something in the pregnancy had gone wrong
"thanks for the "heads up" we"ll recheck that angle again next time she comes in"
and Natalynn's ultra sound was shelved until her next visit