Do You Wish You Had a Different "Born-On" Date?
Have you ever felt that you were born at the wrong time? Perhaps you're obsessed with Victorian England or medieval times. Do you feel more of a kinship with Joan of Arc than Joan Jett?
For me, I feel a connection to Native Americans before Western expansion. Ever since I was a kid, I've been drawn to their culture. I remember taking a camp one summer at a local college where I learned how to bead, shoot a bow and arrow, and visited local Native American historical sites. (I grew up in northeast Nebraska where many towns had Indian names.) Was it my childhood surroundings that influenced me or did I already have that curiosity within me?
I remember taking a certain road trip with my dad when the summer after my sophomore year in college to visit family in eastern Colorado. I distinctly remember as we drove past sweeping plains and tree lined creeks, I could see in my mind's eye a village of teepees or herds of buffalo grazing. Shouldn't I have been moping or something? Instead I was feeling nostalgic for a time I had never been a part of. I know this makes me sound weird so someone, please tell me I'm not the only one. Where are my historical fiction folks?!
I've been thinking about this because I just finished an audio book called The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons by Joseph M. Marshall III. I listened to the book through OneClick, an audio book lending program offered by my local library. I had been searching for something as I had been feeling a little lost on the inside and was in need of finding my inner compass. I saw this title and I knew I had to check it out.
The author narrates the book and each chapter discusses an important virtue or trait of the Lakota people such as honor, honesty, wisdom, strength, and humility. If you are at all enamored with the Native American culture, I highly recommend this book. He shares stories which have been told for generations highlighting these virtues and he discusses the dilemma of trying to live their true lives in modern society. This book almost brought me to tears at the end as the slap of the wonders of modernization have done to their culture. It made me look at my life and the world we live in as almost an embarrassment.
Think about all that has happened in a relatively short amount of time. Railroads, cars, air travel, telephones, electricity...each invention celebrated and revered many times over. But take a moment to picture an America before all of that? How do we go back to giving nature the right of way and just being thankful what what it brings our way when we need it?
Can you even imagine the vistas back then? Imagine the glory of a sunrise on a land where the only thing blocking your view was a grove of cottonwoods or thousands of buffalo? And the stars! Imagine no street lights to obscure what is just beyond our vision. (I know not everyone lives in the city but the majority of us live where there is ample light pollution.) Have your kids ever seen the stars in a black, black sky? Do they understand how small we really are? You may be thinking I've read one too many historical romance novels (and I have) to think life in a teepee sounds appealing. i It doesn't really...after all, having the modern comforts we do, it is hard to think about living like that. I hear they have no wifi.
Modern ways have spoiled us (I do love my gadgets) and therein lies the problem. To take a step back into a simpler way of life is almost impossible as that mentality has been so far removed.
I think about what it would be like to cultivate all of my family's food. What it would be like to control where my food or clothes come from, knowing that I'm not contributing to the industrialized world that I'm convinced is trying to kill us. I would like to live in a time when we use only what we need and there is no such word as excess or waste.
Plastic. Petrol. Parabens (what the hell are those anyway?). Botox. We (as Americans) live in a fake world. We are slowly killing ourselves by the toxins we have created for the sake of modernization. Industrialization has been killing our world, and none too slowly. Did you know we are using the Earth's natural resources at almost one and a half the rate it can replenish itself?