DESTINATION – WHERE HIAWATHA LIVES
The Spruce Tunnel has reported many times that our Land, this USA, is so empty. One can drive for hours without seeing anyone, and many times during this past week I’ve been the only car in my lane for a half hour, sometimes an hour at a time:
But it is beautiful in the Far Far North where Hiawatha lived (lives).
Sunlight through the forest, Nature speaks deep within you with concepts of Beauty: colors, pleasing proportions, compositions, contrasts, harmony . . . all the classic elements of Beauty, which testifies to its Creator.
Curve after curve, Hiawatha’s forest views.
But of course he didn’t have a car to ride in! So I went into the forest –
Ferns on the forest floor. Easy walking, because ferns aren’t really thick underbrush. They’re very soft when you walk through them.
I found pathways. I’ve walked miles along these pathways during this past week. All the time I was thinking about Hiawatha’s small village, one of many, many, maybe countless villages that existed throughout this Land. Many millions of people lived in this Land, long before the Vikings and the Italian exploreres came to it.
I kept “seeing” these villages:
And wondering who was “seeing” me:
Hiawatha’s forest was not only a location, of course, an “address” for his home; it also gave to them everything needed to sustain life.
I drove by these deer one afternoon. Probably descendants of the 17th, 18th, and 19th century deer that provided many necessities for Hiawatha and his people.
I couldn’t help taking a picture of this:
We all know that the white birch has bark that is stripped off to make canoes. What I learned this time is that each strip of bark has five, six, or seven layers, and each thin layer is waterproof and very strong, perfect for making a lake or river canoe, among other things.
When I was a child I tried making a small toy boat with birch bark. I also tried making “paper” with the birch bark. I failed. I really didn’t know about the “layers” in a strip of birch.
But it was important to know these things for Hiawatha because his land borders the Great Gitche Gumme, and I walked many pathways to get to that Lake.
If you could see across that Lake, you would see the shores of Canada.
Gitche Gumme claims the land, in a constant tussle between land and water.
The pathway along the edge seemed to be about a half mile long. Finally, I got to my destination, the destination for this whole week-long, more-than-400-mile journey:
It’s here. This was my destination. It’s an area called Black Rocks, a singularly unromantic name for an outcropping of “rock” that is estimated to be 1.3 billion years old. This is some of the oldest known rocks on the surface of the earth.
On the shores of Gitche Gumme
By the shining Big-Sea-Waters
Yeah, here is where I needed to be, I thought. These were the first waters I saw at the very beginning of my life . . . and now, with the end in view, I needed to see these waters again.
It was the end of land of the Far Far North in view, anyway.
I climbed all around Black Rocks, and finally looked for a place to sit.
And I did it. I found a good rock ledge to sit on and I put my camera away, and then I began to . . . well, brood. I divided my life into five-year segments . . . .
And, well . . . with each and every scene from my memory huge wounds of negative emotions leapt out at me. Private, powerful emotions.
It would have been tough that day . . . it would have been a tough whole life . . . but for one thing. With each sudden emotional blow, I asked myself, “Well, what did God want me to learn from this hardness?” And why is it that each emotional “blow” I felt seemed really rather feeble in my memory? And how is it that I’m not unhappy, but indeed, full of hope and joy and love for those whom I know?
“What did God want me to learn…?” There was a lesson in each stage of my life. I suppose. But I wasn’t that broody, actually. I probably was taught something during each stage, and then incorporated the learning into my assurance that God was in control.
And so I don’t need to know any “answers.” I don’t need to come to any conclusions.
What I learned from my brief three hours of “brooding” sitting on those rather hard rocks is that, in a big way, I’m not that baby, that toddler, that child, that adolescent, that young adult . . . anymore.
I am “me” only in this Present Moment. That’s all I ever can be: Me Now. I am identified by what I am Now.
In a big way, what matters is what kind of person I am Now.
Forgiveness and Forgetfulness available for the past; hope and healing available for the future.
That’s the way Gitche Manito works. Ever Present- Ever Now. What’s NOT to be joyful about?!
I think I actually did reach my “destination.”
(Next post: Why Hiawatha knew this too.)