The Lakota in me murmured to go sit beside the snaking bayou outside my window.
To simply be. So I did.
The grass was soft like living velvet.
The waters, turned brown by the poisons pumped into them by the nearby petro-chemical plants, bled by me.
An eye-achingly white egret swept gracefully over the rippling currents.
Its search was a hopeless one: a search for life in the waters of slow death.
Leaves, the bright colors of strangled life, drifted upon my shoulders.
Like a trick of my melancholy, a voice of winter dreams spoke to my ears.
“The Seasons of Man are much like the Seasons of the Year, GrandSon.
Man begins in birth. He struggles. He creates. That which he creates dies … then he dies.”
I flicked my eyes to the left. The wavering form of the Turquoise Woman sat beside me, her haunted face terrible and beautiful beyond any singing of it.
She whispered on the cool winds of Autumn.
“Man’s words are dying, Roland. And without words, he is drying up within. His grasp of literature pries him out of his provincialism.
It makes him a witness of time and existence, pulling him out of himself to value the priceless gift of those who struggle beside him ...
and struggled before him.”
“I think I understand, GrandMother. We are falling under the tyranny of generalizations and catch-words, under the soul-numbing spell of color and sex from tiny TV screens.”
Estanatlehi’s nose wrinkled as she glared at the poisonous plumes from distant smoke-stacks.
“An air that kills
From yon far country blows.”
“A man must die somewhere, and this is where my dwindling circle of friends live.”
“But do they live? Can any who do not think beyond the drudgery of the obvious be said to live?”
Her lips twisted as if tasting the bitter dregs of civilization.
“Rather than say a man is dishonest or cruel or unreliable, they insinuate that he is illegitimate or an offspring of a female dog.”
She sighed, “Hatred obscures all distinctions and most truths.”
The Turquoise Woman turned to me.
“Like most writers you have a fresh seeing eye. You are as a stranger to your own life, perceiving value in what others see as nothing but the commonplace.”
“Few people read anymore, GrandMother. The giants of literature are fading into the mists of ignorance.
You mention Faulkner, Steinbeck, or Descartes only to be met with glazed looks and frowns. Libraries are becoming a thing of the past.”
Looking at her features, fine yet otherworldly, I could believe long ago there had been a face that launched a thousand ships.
“Man divides his books into those of worth which few read and
‘popular’ ones of which both those who write them and those who enjoy them are half ashamed.”
Estanatlehi’s grew wet, and a flurry of snowflakes swirled from her eyes.
“They hunch over their voice-boxes, typing words of gibberish, squeezing more of their empty lives into fewer and fewer characters and wonder why no one understands them.”
I reached out and held her cold, cold hand.
“I did not ask to be born. But I am here, now. Within me is the ability to feel compassion and the smallness to be arrogant. The end of The Way of the Seeing Eye and the Listening Ear may be upon us.”
I stroked her long, ghostly cheek.
“It is but a storm. And storms are here for me to learn strength, to find it within myself to stand tall in them, and to hope.”
“Hope what, GrandSon?”
“That one more step will take us beyond where we were,
becoming stronger by the very act of taking it,
leading us to the light of the next sunrise and
the promise of a new day and a fresh blank page upon which to write good things.”
I really like this music video. Give it a chance.