My trusty cane urges me on—
Takes my hand like a friend,
Comforts me, steadies me over rough terrain
Beyond where it’s ever been mapped,
Where no human ever set foot
Following the voice of the stream
Up where the mountains glow,
And the sky has never been breathed
Indeed, as we get older, our once youthful gait suffers a bit—especially when unsteady ground meets our equally unsteady legs. Eventually adopting a cane may be a given for us senior citizens. On the days I trip and stumble, I vow that should I require a cane, it will be stunning.
The Buffalo Bill Center of the West recently installed several beaded canes, staffs, and walking sticks in the Plains Indian Museum—and they are stunning. It’s a tradition for Native Americans to gift beaded canes, staffs, and walking sticks to honor special people. A recipient may use such a beautifully crafted cane in his elder years, or enjoy the cane as a gift in a loved one’s memory.
The canes on display honor Harriet Stuart Spencer, Mrs. Henry H.R. “Peg” Coe, Darwin St. Clair, Silas Cathcart, Curly Bear Wagner, Lloyd Kiva New, and soon, Joe Medicine Crow—all individuals who loved and supported the Center of the West.
The artistry is extraordinary; the love and care is evident; the honor is unmistakable. With a cane like this, I might decide to embrace the words of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 – 1950), and not mind a cane after all:
I dread no more the first white in my hair,
Or even age itself, the easy shoe,
The cane, the wrinkled hands, the special chair—
Time, doing this to me, may alter too
My sorrow, into something I can bear.