Gitche Gumee. For real. It really exists.
In the days when American children and young adults were taught American literature, the words “Gitche Gumee” would be a familiar sound; lovely, fetching, longing . . . .a song of roots and courage and duty; a song of love for the land and union with the earth and its people.
I’ll be there soon. Not in a boat, but h e r e – looking out over Gitche Gumee:
I have many decades behind me, and the “storms” of life have “ruffled my feathers” – as is true for all of us. We’ve all had waves crashing against us.
I need to sort things out. I was born here, long ago. It’s possible that the very first sight my newborn eyes saw was this Great Lake, as my nurse carried me outdoors, into the car, into my Mother’s waiting arms.
I need to see this again.
I need to get strong and steady before the storm breaks over us all.
I need to get in touch with myself, see who I really am, see what “I’ve done and what I’ve left undone.” Hopefully, I’ll gain wisdom like Nokomis.
On the shores of Gitche Gumee,
Of the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood Nokomis, the old woman,
Pointing with her finger westward,
O’er the water pointing westward,
To the purple clouds of sunset.
Fiercely the red sun descending
Burned his way along the heavens,
Set the sky on fire behind him,
As war-parties, when retreating,
Burn the prairies on their war-trail;
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Thanks for the words.