Dawn Renée Levesque
In Dawn Renée Levesque words:
Driving through Wyoming one night, the full Moon was spectacular over the Grand Teton Mountains. From the back seat, my son gazed at its magnificent splendor as it illuminated the night sky. Eventually he asked if there was a man in the Moon. I told him that some people believed there was, and others believed there was a woman in the Moon, a Moon woman. Thus began my rendition of Moon Woman.
Tales are passed down through generations. Sometimes they are told exactly as they once were and other times they are woven with a single common thread. Like the people of long ago, we continually tell tales about the things we cannot fully explain. The essence of these tales is important to keep alive.
My vision of Women Who Walk with the Sky began before that drive across the United States. Standing on a small hill in Anacortes, Washington, overlooking Bowman Bay, is a totem pole. It is a unique totem of smooth red cedar, standing twenty-three feet high. The Samish Indians, a coastal tribe, tell a story of a beautiful maiden who gathered shellfish along the beach. A sea spirit saw her and immediately was enchanted by her beauty. The maiden in the totem pole of Deception Pass holds a salmon tightly in her hands, raised high above her head. She seems strong and determined, yet peaceful, as she gazes across the bay. Native American tradition tells us that every living thing is connected. When I regarded this totem, I could feel its spirituality, its connection to nature and its timelessness. I began to understand how the Samish feel connected to the clear blue waters and the abundant nature that surrounds them. This became my inspiration.
I began researching and writing legends for my son. I began to read stories of raven and rabbit. I learned of the wind and rain spirits. In my own stories, I tried to rekindle the same awareness, portray the same ideas, wisdom and beliefs. I began to look for legends specifically with women as the strong character or spirit.
Women just as capable and significant as the maiden in the totem felt to me. I found that there are very few legends where that is true. Each tale also had to relate a story of a girl who learns from her trials with nature.
When choosing themes for the tales, I wanted to capture the mysteries of the celestial world, while each story needed a common thread that could be delicately unwound. I also looked to evoke the beauty I found when walking through the great cedar forests of Mt. Baker or the winding, dusty trails of Mount St. Helens. With all these elements: a courageous and determined maiden, an element of the celestial world, rich color and the beauty of nature, I came up with the legends, making sure to keep the essence of the original tales intact.
In Women Who Walk with the Sky, numerous tribes inspired me, among whom are the Aleut, Apache, Arapaho, Cherokee, Hopi, Iroquois, Kathlamet, Kwakiutl, Lakota, Maori, Micmac, Navajo, Obijwa, Sioux, Tohono O’odham and Zuni.
More about Women Who Walk with the Sky please go HERE.