Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I See Them Everywhere...

I live in an area that is rich with Native American lore. Indian names are abundant in my town: Annaquatucket, Narragansett, Wampanoag. And those are just the names of roads. There are Indian burial grounds scattered througout our region too, even one on the edge of the Burger King parking lot, although fenced. These minature cemeteries are peaceful and still. And I'm happy that they are still considered sacred and worthy of protection.

On my walks around the high school, I stare at the pond where the swans swim in pairs and imagine I see the first inhabitants of this town. Or more importantly, I like to see what they saw. There is a perfect moment on top of the Jamestown Bridge, when for just a few seconds, if one peers above the railing to the right, the scene is just as I imagine the Indians saw it, before industry, cars and crowds. The small islands sit in the bay water like the backs of huge sea animals waiting to rise. There are no electrical wires crisscrossing the landscape or brick and mortar factories. Just the sea, the land and the sky. And for a moment, I see what they saw.

I often wonder what it would be like to live like the Native Americans, so close to the tides and the seasons. I wonder what they thought when they looked at the changing moon. Winters must have been brutal for them. But they had the beauty of pristine nature all for themselves. Before chaos.

One of my favorite poems and the only one that has graced my refrigerator for 20 years is Wendell Berry's "The Peace of The Wild Things". When "the world is too much with me", I sometimes drive across the Jamestown Bridge, walk over to the high school pond, or I just lean on the counter, rest my head on my hand and read the refrigerator door.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water.And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

Happy Thanksgiving to all...

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