One Native Life
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move, to race that moon, and you can feel our planet spin in the heavens. It doesn’t matter who you stand with or where you’re from. It happens for everyone. And what kind of a God, I ask, could make that happen? A Hand on the Lid of the World . . . IN THE MORNING, watching the light break over the lake and the trees and the long, sloping curve of the mountain behind them, I understand what my people say—that the land is a feeling. The silence is tactile. You can feel it on your skin.
winter darkness I believed him and wished him well. The next morning I heard that he was gone. Someone had chosen to remove the revolutionary poet from the world, shoot him at close range just outside the home he’d come to fully appreciate, maybe for the first time. I cried for him. Then I got angry. Then I cried some more. I played “Imagine” over and over again, then “Working Class Hero,” “I Don’t Want to Be a Soldier” and “Only People,” great Lennon songs all true fans recall. I tried to fill
vision. Ahow. The Medicine Wheel . . . THE RAIN IS a fine sprinkle on the trees this morning. When the sun pokes its head through the thin cloud, there’s a happy conjunction of energy everywhere around. The land breathes, and I can almost feel the huff of it, the great lungs of Mother Earth receiving and releasing. A rainbow links the mountains. Beneath its layered parabola birds wheel and dive. There are teachings in all of this. I walk here to make myself available to them, but it
folds in upon itself, transports me to a time beyond time. Some days I can’t remember how I lived without it, this easy ceremony. I went to a Salvation Army church when I was a small kid. Sunday school seemed to fit me, and I was eager to return every week. The stories were captivating, and I loved to sing. We learned all the big-beat hymns like “Jesus Loves Me,” “This Little Light of Mine” and “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” Something in the music called to me, and I responded. When I was
for Radicals. His book contained less than what its title suggested, and at first I was disappointed. Then I read it over again, and I started to understand that radicalism isn’t necessarily the mechanics of anger. Instead, it is the need of a people to invoke justice in the system through a certain generosity of spirit. It is, as Alinsky suggested, a process of communication. I didn’t know what that meant at first. Back then I was sold on the energy of the movement. The movement was all about