Bird Droppings April 2, 2012
A song of the morning
There is a time each day when bird’s first start singing it is generally just before the sun begins to come up. First one and then another start in and soon birds can be heard throughout the trees. I stood trying to focus on the song with the morning quiet waning and in the early morning mist it was difficult to see much beyond the edge of the light. Today the songs permeated the air. I was wondering as I sat listening how many others this morning were listening to the songs of the morning.
Most mornings I am out and about long before any singing begins either walking about or taking our dog out but with a holiday I am lazy and today went out sort of just during or maybe a bit after sunrise. I recall how several years ago in my back yard a young pine tree hung almost as if to fall over bent from ice many years ago arching over the fence into the back yard. As I wandered about this morning dogwood trees are beginning to lose their blossoms and many others are already or have budded spring is officially declared.
It has been three years since I had spent the better part of five days so far talking with people, reading and writing getting ready for my doctorate comprehensive exams. Some of the time it is dry and tedious but much of my reading is more enjoyable. Writing in APA style and research type papers has never been one of my favorite things to do and I was to answer three questions twelve to fifteen pages each over six weeks. I can remember being hopeful that I would be caught up but by chance I did read a bit for pleasure catching up on a blog written by an author I like very much Kent Nerburn. I went back to his blog this morning sitting here procrastinating writing my dissertation. His blog I read is one from several years back and was referring to a trip into Tennessee and it is worth a read in its entirety.
“So when I pulled in to the beautiful little town of Franklin, Tennessee, and discovered that the battle that took place there in 1864 resulted in almost 10,000 casualties, I was both shocked and amazed. 10,000 killed or wounded, and I knew nothing about it? I was stopping in Starbucks, driving down strips of car dealerships and tire stores, and beneath my feet a battle had taken place that had been a pivot point in our nation's history and had shed the blood of 10,000 men? What sort of cultural zombie was I? Yet this is the nature of every piece of land we walk on. The last four years of my life have been spent trying to excavate the historical narrative of the journey of the Nez Perce people, so that others like me won't have to drive down a highway and shrug disinterestedly when they pass signs that say, "Bear's Paw battle site, 13 miles." And every inch of this land -- every inch of every land anywhere in the world, has this depth of meaning, if only we take the time and expend the creative and imaginative energy to find the history it contains.” Kent Nerburn, http://kentnerburn.com
It has been some time since I sat on the grass at Valley Forge wondering about who had been there before me. Thousands of troops garrisoned during the winter hundreds of years before spread across the valley in tents and cabins. As a small child we took field trips and were lectured and lectured again and again on the various buildings, cabins, forts and cannons around Valley Forge but its full effect never sunk in till I lay on the grass literally absorbing what was there. Nearly five years ago I walked about Valley Forge with my wife taking pictures posing in front of cabins and earthen forts I even have one up in my room at school where I am in front of a cabin giving the peace sign.
Nearby to the south of my home is a rock eagle, some say a thousand years old it is for some only a pile of rocks built by native peoples as they passed by dropping a piece of quartz on the pile as they went. The image that took shape a thousand years ago is that of an eagle perhaps homage to a great chief some say or simply a totem of an eagle as the pile resembles a great eagle with its wings spread. One day this week while on holiday I will ride down and see it and take a few photos for my collection and perhaps drop a rock myself.
I have traveled to many places around our country in my time and often as I find a place it will seem that time sits still as I wander about listening and seeing. I have written many times about going into the back of Fort Sill Oklahoma to the grave yard where Geronimo is buried again a great eagle adorns his burial site sitting atop a pyramid shaped pile of river rocks. Geronimo was so feared in New Mexico and Arizona that public opinion swayed President Teddy Roosevelt at a time when Geronimo was in his last years and a feeble old man that he was not allowed returning to his sacred mountains to die. He only wished to go for his last journey in the mountains he was born in.
Many times holy men and medicine men were taken to secret spots for burial often placed in crevices on mesas or rock out cropping’s with only a few sacred items to guide them to their next journey. Only those who placed them would ever know the location. I am reminded as I recall a good friend taking me out into west Texas a very difficult land to describe if you have never been there. The plants all have thorns and some have thorns on thorns one my friend called devil weed had a thorn with a skin that shed off when you were stuck and cattle would often get infections from the plant let alone wayward hikers.
However it is when you climb on top of the bluffs and look down what was brown and bleak coming up are now shades of green and so alive. The surrounding area was a maze of bluffs all interweaving and interlocking forming canyons and valleys literally a maze lay out in front of me. My friend told me in the old days the bad guys would hide out in these twisting canyons able to negotiate with ease because they knew the land and they evaded the lawmen in doing so.
Sitting thinking pondering as I say recalling journeys and emotions and ideas that flashed through my head here this morning. My life has had many quiet moments be it sitting by the river just off from Geronimo’s grave nearly twenty years ago or walking the top of a bluff feeling the Texas breeze against my face or rolling in the grass in Valley Forge, or standing atop the great temple mound in Macon Georgia overlooking the Okmulgee river. Each a lost moment yet held deep in my mind to recall and borrow power from.
Kent Nerburn was using the term naïve and we so often tend to never realize others were here long before us wars were fought men and women died. Houses were built and fields planted and all we care about is our next cup of coffee or espresso at Starbucks or as in my case a hot spiced chai tea with soymilk at Barnes and Nobles. I once read that there are places that are sacred not because of a religions believe structure but because for tens of thousands of years people have worshipped there or lived there and or died there as Nerburn relates in Franklin Tennessee. Many say when you walk on these special spots you can feel the emotions and energy. I will end with a line from Thoreau today.
“There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.” Henry David Thoreau
Walk about listen to the birds feel the air and wonder who has been here before you maybe even ponder why were they here. I read so many emails and blogs of unhappiness we are happy and or not happy by our own doing take a moment and listen as the sunrise today and tomorrow. Peace my friends and please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts and to always give thanks.