I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

Welcome Henry! Our tenth grandchild was born Saturday, and he, along with my daughter JJ, her husband Bryan and big sister  Emilia are doing just grand.

It’s been a quiet time, this waiting, and wondering and all the little worries that come with childbirth– and then suddenly there is a son, grandson, great-grandson, nephew–Brother.

It has also been different this time– nearer somehow to my heart, and more private. I mean Henry is grandchild number 10– this is not my first rodeo– but I have been closing out the life I had with my parents now that Papa Bob is gone (my mother died in 2006), cleaning drawers and going through old albums from when my sisters and I were babies. It is like a different lifetime, and yet, there is something so familiar. Me as a baby, my children as babies- and now my children’s babies. It is the same story. The same song. So much love and hope.

Speaking of re-birth, spring is coming slowly too– we had an Easter party full of little ones and my sister caught Covid right afterward but she’s fine (a cold mostly and we are all vaxxed) and my brother-in-law didn’t get it, and none of us have — and then it snowed a few flurries, and it has been colder than usual. Still, late the other evening, after I heard the trumpeter swans out on the river, I saw the first humming bird. It was supposed to drop to 28 degrees overnight, so I quickly made some food and hung the feeder.

I like to believe the story that the hummingbirds ride up on the backs of swans, and that the simultaneous sightings are not a coincidence. I also believe that a baby boy joining the family a few months after the oldest “boy” has died is part of a grand plan.

I’m reading a book about angels– it’s a history- and has such weird and wonderful stories in it. Like how angels were counted beginning in the 3rd century when Origen of Alexandria  determined that a heavenly legion had over 6,000 angels, to a 15th century estimate of 399,920,004  total angels, made up of nine orders.

Seriously. The ancients were big on angels.

And then there is all this stuff about what they look like and how they shape shift– which of course is all part of the big mystery.

April is a spooky month for me. My mother died in April and I was runover by a truck and almost killed in April. I really would rather skip it most years. Then, three years ago a grandson was born April 20. Teddy shares a birthday with his great-great grandmother Angela. How about that? (We called her Grammy Angie.)

So, when JJ was in labor, I knew she was having a boy, and I took a walk and called on some of my favorite male angels to guide her and little Henry to a safe landing. My grandfather Sam had survived WW I and WW II — I brought home his medal from the Battle of the Somme and his French Legion of Honor certificate from Papa Bob’s house– so I asked him to show up for courage and good fortune. Papa Bob, always the coach with a stop watch, could time the contractions, and cheer JJ on. Phil, JJ’s other grandfather, while never good with messes or anything  painful, as childbirth can be, did have a lovely voice and was a sweet and gentle man, so I asked him to croon some Sinatra to soothe Henry.

Did they help? Do Hummingbirds ride on swans? Is he not a little angel?