Celestial Connections

I have only vague recollections of Buffy Sainte-Marie from the late 1970s and early 1980s, although I instantly recognize her name when I hear it. And I remember her fame emerged from her music, though I do not recall specific songs that I associate with her. Her name same to my attention again recently while listening to a SiriusXM station entitled North Americana, a mixture of music from the U.S. and Canada. The programming for the channel is described as “Today’s alternative country meets yesterday’s folk, rock & roots; everything from Tom Petty and Blue Rodeo to City and Colour.

Wikipedia describes Sainte-Marie as an Indigenous Canadian-American. Wikipedia reminded me that she was a co-writer (with Jack Nitzche and Will Jennings) of “Up Where We Belong,” the Oscar-winning song from the Officer and a Gentleman sound track. I learned, from reading that article, that she married Sheldon Wolfchild, with whom she had a son; her son’s name is Dakota Starblanket Wolfchild. Starblanket was the maiden name of the wife of the son of the chief of the Piapot Cree band. I won’t go into the connection; suffice it to say there was one.

Why I was so fascinated when I stumbled across Buffy Sainte-Marie’s music is a mystery. It’s an even greater mystery why I was possessed to explore more about her background. And I do not entirely understand why I was enthralled by her son’s name: Dakota Starblanket Wolfchild, though I suspect my interest stems from something I wrote (outside of this blog; not published here) a few days ago. My words involved being wrapped in stars and witnessing the wild majesty of the universe beyond our planet and beyond our solar system. “Starblanket Wolfchild” seems to describe what was going through my mind when I put the words down.

I am sure it’s sheer coincidence, but strange coincidence can be twisted into evidence of spiritual connections. Coincidence can be rejected outright, replaced by belief that the “coincidence” was not coincidence at all but, in some mystic fashion, destiny. I dismiss such stuff as rubbish, but not everyone does. Some people thrive on such celestial connections. They build entire religions on frameworks of happenstance and accidents of time and proximity. Or, perhaps, they use the coincidence as fuel for their books and stories. Books and stories become mythology and legend. Humans’ ways of explaining the inexplicable or incomprehensible.


I try to enmesh myself in writing and thinking to keep my mind off unpleasantness. It does not work. My thoughts get tangled. They create dreams that morph into nightmares that will not end. Last night, I dreamed of being in a two-car garage littered with small rattlesnakes that could strike double the distance of their outstretched bodies. The snakes could slither vertically up walls, too, and launch themselves across the width and breadth of the garage. The dream merged with another, somehow, in which people signed up to visit specific rooms in a house; someone had to accompany them to the rooms to protect them from the snakes as they made their way through the house.

My mind feels like it is wearing thin, as if my brain is made of thin cloth worn thinner by rubbing against a metal post. This thought reminds me of a time when, as a child wearing a new pair of slacks, I slid down the metal railing attached to a set of concrete steps leading from the sidewalk to the porch. The cloth of the new slacks wore through in the crotch until the fabric was almost transparent. That’s what my mind feels like; thin to the point of tearing.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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