Berries and Bees

Here is a summery excerpt from 
A Home for Phoebe

It was mid-July, the sun dominated the world. The cicadas buzzed in the sizzling afternoon. Maseppa’s neck and back felt like she was sitting too close to Granny’s fireplace. A little breeze brushed her sweaty face. It felt good. An eagle circled high above them. She wished blueberries grew deep in the shadowy woods instead of the sunny meadow.
            Phoebe's hair hung in damp ringlets on her forehead. “Maseppa, I’m hot. I’ll never finish filling my basket.” She popped a berry in her mouth.
            “You not finish if you eat them.”
            “I’m tired of picking berries. We’ve been picking them all summer!”
         It was true. It had been a good year for berries – strawberries, elderberries, bayberries, hawthorn berries, and blueberries. “I be done soon. Then we will rest.” 
            “I wish I was at the Falls with the cool water pouring over my head. I wish I could float down the stream like a leaf, slipping over the rocks, spinning around in eddies, and through the tall grasses . . .”
Maseppa wasn't listening. She heard a buzzing. There were dozens all around them. As the insects finished drinking from the flowers, they flew across the field and toward the woods. “Quick! We follow àmô  . . . little bee!”
           Phoebe left her basket and galloped after her.
          Maseppa crashed through bushes, clambered over fallen logs, sloshed through bogs; not looking at the ground, but at the insects that flew straight through the air on an invisible trail, unhindered by rocks and such. Phoebe’s short legs left her far behind.
Maseppa stopped when she came upon a huge fallen tree. Clouds of bees buzzed around. Maseppa circled the large trunk, sometimes poking its rotten bark with a long stick.
Phoebe finally caught up. “What is that?”
          “There be much, much honey.” She shooed some bees away from her face.  “We come back when sun is low. Bees be quiet then.”
            They walked slowly back to the field. Maseppa occasionally stopped to look around, to mark the path in her mind. She looked at the few berries in the bottom of Phoebe’s basket and smiled. Phoebe’s teeth and lips were blue. “We not pick anymore. It hot today.”
             Phoebe shouted and bounded through the daisies and buttercups to the stream. Maseppa smiled as Phoebe plopped face first into the refreshing water. Maseppa eased down into the refreshing water, letting it wash away the itching and stinging scratches. She leaned back and put her head under the water. She could hear the little stones rattling in the current.
            Sitting back up, she watched Phoebe throwing the water high above her head. “Look, Maseppa!” The sunshine colored the droplets into a fleeting rainbow. Again and again, she did it until her arms grew tired.
            Maseppa’s arms were covered with red welts. She smeared mud on her skin to ease the pain.
           Phoebe waded over. “Are you hurt, Maseppa?”        
          “I be fine. I be stung some, but I be fine soon.”
            Phoebe lay on her back and let the current tugged at her. “Maseppa, where does the water go? Does it ever stop?”
            “It go to river and then to big, big water. I see river when I be little ikwesins, but my mother tell me of big water where you not see other side."  
~ # ~ 

You may order A Home for Phoebe at
(both novel and study guide)
(ebook also available)
(for signed copy)

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