Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Cherokee World

a world imbued with spirit

we live in ignorance,

when we deny our ignorance
we are in a desperately cold world
with only the fitful flame of hubris
to seem to warm us,
we are in a dark world
with only our own fitful light
to reveal the surface of ourselves,
how much warmer and brighter it is
when we open ourselves to risking,
to realizing the emptiness
and seeking to fill it as best we can,

today I was given the gift of two classes
with whom to share what I know
of the Cherokee, the Native American,
a subject that fascinates me,
a people whose way of seeing the world,
and our place in it,
I can only touch for a moment
and never quite hold,

I show the students a picture of a mountain
and ask them what they see,
some only see rocks, trees, an abstract shape,
the artist in some see a face, an animal, one a camel,
the Scotch-Irish settlers saw “Chimney Tops,”
a mirror of their cultivated world,
the Cherokee saw the antlers of a great stone deer,
an expression of how spirit imbues the story of their world,

I hoped to help the students imagine a people
who saw the world as animate, alive with resonance,
not a thing for us to toy with,
to discard, to change at our whim,
a world grander than we can hope to know,

we of the West stepped out of a seamless world,
we realized we could bend the world to our will,
and we did,
and we luxuriate in the gifts we’ve found,
I hoped today to open the children of rationality
to grasp at the gifts that spirituality can also share.

by Henry H. Walker
May 3, ‘18

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Wow! Thank you for joining the class and sharing your wisdom, awe, and curiosity with them.