Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I recently learned a new Spokane word. 

My uncle was talking about a respected family on the reservation. As the various family members aged, they eventually passed away, and when the oldest member of that family reflected on his life, he was all alone - the last of his relatives. My uncle referred to this time in life as: nc'spuleʔxʷ. 

A literal translation: "There are no more people from that family."

I am not sure that an equivalent word exists in the English language. In any case, the term is derived from the root word c'sip, referring to something that is all used up or consumed, with nothing left. The suffix -uleʔxʷ refers to the land. Another translation might suggest that a family was extinguished with no one left upon the land. What a tragic word, both haunting and beautiful in the way it places value on the memory of those who made their journey before us. 

The elders sometimes speak of the grief associated with aging and seeing all their elders, siblings, and friends pass away. I cannot imagine facing the end of my generation, but when my days expire, I pray the new generations will never end - that our lineage will live forever. 

These photographs were taken on January 29.
I wanted to photograph the contrast of artificial light
on the snow-covered trees. 

The tree branches seemed match the theme of this post:
The many branches of our families. 


Brian H. said...

Yes, all the more reason to befriend the older generation and the younger people as well. To be a middle branch is a good thing. By the way, Barry, we have another girl! (Born new year's day)

Barry Moses (Sulustu) said...

Congratulations! I'm so happy for you.

By the way, your comment regarding the "middle branch" is very meaningful to me. In fact, that very concept has been driving my life much more as I get older.


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