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Location: Redding, CA, United States

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thinking of Stuff

The Tribe has been busy; meaning that the Boss and I have been on the run working on protecting what's left of the cultural places from the greedy and uncaring. We have garnered a lot of support for this effort and we are truly grateful. Anyway, as I was sitting here this morning, thinking about things other than the workings of the government and those private companies that only see monetary profit and loss (not any other profit and loss like: what can be gained sitting near the bank of a clear, cold stream or river and what the effect of the loss is to our collective souls).

So, as I was saying, I got to thinking about stuff and looked at a story I had written awhile back and I thought, today, I would share another side of myself. Before putting it down here though, I just want to thank all of the people who brought me to the place where I feel I can share: Cal, Memsy, and my very close friends. Thank you and enjoy.

The Old Ones

I observed the old ones standing along the side of the road watching as we picked up their relation and carried him away. Standing, silently observing what we did, watching each step we took as if ready to correct us for any mistakes we may have made. They stood, shoulders stooped from the wait of their years it seemed; stooped over looking to the world around as if sad men at a sad time.

Their relation had been killed on the road, hit by a car and left behind, uncared for, un-grieved and uncovered as the world rode by. We arrived a few hours after he had been killed, pulling over to the side of the freeway, looking carefully and stepping up to do what was only right. While we worked the two old ones stood, watching us.

I think to this day, that I heard them speak to each other in a soft, almost lyrical way; a way that I had not heard in a long time; a way that is almost forgotten today. They spoke in a good way, a way that leant much solace to those around and to the spirit of the one who had died.

As I sit now, remembering and hearing them through my mind’s ears, writing down their words, a tear comes to my eyes like hot water dripping from the leaky sink in my small kitchen. They spoke to me out there on the side of the road. Their message was to others but I know in my heart that they were telling me their story.

“He was a good one, that fellow over there”, the first said. “He was careless” the other replied. “How can you say that? Look at him dead, hit by a car that ran away. Ran away like a thief.” “I remember him” said the other. “He never really paid attention to anything around him, he never listened to anyone and he sure wasn’t good for anything1!” “How can you say that? He was our relation. If he failed at his life then we are as much to blame for his passing as the one who hit him!” “Think of this” the older one said. I remember all of this and remember too thinking how sad it was to watch people arguing in the presence of death.

“Am I to blame for all of this” answered the other. “No, not all of this but we are all responsible for some of this”. The older one continued, “We had an obligation as relatives to help steer this young one in a good direction, to show by example, how to live in a community: how to be supportive, productive and how to walk within the confines of this world. We should have spent more time and energy talking with this young one, at least as much time as we spent talking about him. That would have made a difference”. Saying this, the older one flew off to the west, the sun showing brightly on his wings as he banked slowly and look back at me and the other and the one gone on the ground below.

Even now I wonder why I was allowed into this private world where these two egrets talked about the one killed by the car. Perhaps I need to examine how I reach out to the young men around me; look at the way I help them or don’t help them as the case may be. I think that we can influence people in so many ways either negatively or positively in such subtle ways: looks, a gesture, our body posture, all of these tell such loud stories. When I think of that egret lying in the road I think of our young men who unfortunately also sometimes end up lying in the center of the road without a hand to help them up or a hand to put them away.

A good friend of mine is like that older egret. He has a way about him that I admire and wish I could emulate. He cares for all of his relations without reservation and is able to share the feelings that I keep locked away until I am in a private place where only I can see them emerge.

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