Sunday, October 12, 2008

a tribute to "injun summer"

Since October 1907 the Chicago Tribune ran the article and illustration called "Injun Summer" by John T. McCutcheon on the front cover of their Magazine section.
A few years ago they stopped printing it.

I wanted to post this as a tribute to this wonderful article I have loved since childhood. I love that it had a wonderful and magical simplicity about it that transcends the years for me. You have to read it with the understanding that the piece was written in 1907.

I also wanted to share with you the stunning beauty and warmth of my beautiful Indian Summer weekend through a few photos. I will be writing about my wonderful experiences of this past Indian Summer weekend as the week goes on...please stay tuned.

John T. McCutcheon
Chicago Tribune September 30, 1907

Yep, sonny this is sure enough Injun summer.
Don't know what that is, I reckon, do you?
Well, that's when all the homesick Injuns come back to play.

You know, a long time ago, long afore yer granddaddy was born even, there used to be heaps of Injuns around here—thousands—millions, I reckon, far as that's concerned.
Reg'lar sure 'nough Injuns—none o' yer cigar store Injuns, not much.
They wuz all around here—right here where you're standin'.

Don't be skeered—hain't none around here now, leastways no live ones.
They been gone this many a year.
They all went away and died, so they ain't no more left.

But every year, 'long about now, they all come back, leastways their sperrits do.
They're here now.
You can see 'em off across the fields. Look real hard.
See that kind o' hazy misty look out yonder?
Well, them's Injuns—Injun sperrits marchin' along an' dancin' in the sunlight.
That's what makes that kind o' haze that's everywhere—it's jest the sperrits of the Injuns all come back. They're all around us now.

See off yonder; see them tepees? They kind o' look like corn shocks from here, but them's Injun tents, sure as you're a foot high. See 'em now?

Sure, I knowed you could. Smell that smoky sort o' smell in the air?
That's the campfires a-burnin' and their pipes a-goin'.
Lots o' people say it's just leaves burnin', but it ain't.
It's the campfires, an' th' Injuns are hoppin' 'round 'em t'beat the old Harry.

You jest come out here tonight when the moon is hangin' over the hill off yonder an' the harvest fields is all swimmin' in the moonlight, an' you can see the Injuns and the tepees jest as plain as kin be.
You can, eh? I knowed you would after a little while.
Jever notice how the leaves turn red 'bout this time o' year?
That's jest another sign o' redskins.
That's when an old Injun sperrit gits tired dancin' an' goes up an' squats on a leaf t'rest.

Why I kin hear 'em rustlin' an' whisper in' an' creepin' 'round among the leaves all the time; an' ever' once'n a while a leaf gives way under some fat old Injun ghost and comes floatin' down to the ground. See—here's one now.
See how red it is?
That's the war paint rubbed off'n an Injun ghost, sure's you're born.
Purty soon all the Injuns'll go marchin' away agin, back to the happy huntin' ground,
but next year you'll see 'em troopin' back—th' sky jest hazy with 'em and their campfires smolderin' away jest like they are now.

© John T. McCutcheon

I hope that you all enjoyed this look back in time,
at an Indian summer of by-gone years.


lucycarol said...

Thank you so much for sharing this article. I have never come across it before and will share with my two smallest grandsons. We certainly have many fall misty mornings here in Paducah, Kentucky. Paducah is named for the supposed Indian Chief of the tribe that inhabited this area when the town was formed along the banks of the Ohio River. As a child we could find Indian artifacts in the plowed fields on our farm and arrowheads in the creek.

feasting-on-pixels (terrie) said...

Merci beacoup lucycarol for your kind comment on this article. I have loved Native American Indian lore and history all through childhood...still do...!
I am so happy to hear that you are passing on this story.

You may be interested in some photos and a story about my visit to the "River Rendezvous" this weekend. It was a re-creation of the life of the Native American tribes and Fur Traders of the Illinois DesPlaines river valley.

A Brush with Color said...

Aawwww--lovely! This time of year is always magical to me. I was born in early October, and when my mother was in the hospital when I was born, my older sister went to the hospital to visit her the first day in a sun suit, and then on the day I was allowed to go home, 3 days later, my older sister showed up in a snow suit--that's how the weather can change this time of year. It's a magical, wonderful time of year to me...and you captured it with this "injun summer" and your lovely photos.

feasting-on-pixels (terrie) said...

Ahhh...Sue that is such a sweet remembrance...I love to hear your histoire.

I do so hope that you have a lovely birthday this year when you get home.
To be honest...glad you were born and that are a friend.
You are a gift to me each day...and I am glad to know you.

Merci mille fois for you always kind comment to support my initial small efforts here in

Camera Crazy said...

What a cool article--I've always wondered about that term. I can imagine a child loving it. As well, I was amazed that lucycarol is from Paducah, KY. My mother was born there in 1925! Her family moved to E. St. Louis when she was small--a place that is now sadly a terrible slum. Re your comment to her--we are ALWAYS interested in your photos dear one.