Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Talking about shit....

We left last Thursday afternoon and drove about fifty miles n.e. of here, up into the foothills of the Ochoco Mountains. A nice campground on a lovely, noisy, clear little creek.

I spent one day just sitting and staring at the trees, the hillsides, the bushes, and the opportunistic and manic chipmonks. People pay a lot of money to get similar mood lifters. It cost B. and me $4 a night. Talking to chipmonks is very thereputic and so is watching the way crystal water tumbles over rocks. I have to admit, though, that part of that blissfulness came from accidentally doubling up my dosage of Citalopram. It was sort of like being stoned on opiates, but not quite as dreamy.

We read Louise Erdrich's A Plague of Doves over the week-end. She's one of the most optimistic, positive toward the world, novelists I know of—and she's funny, too. She writes about people moving through the cracks between the Euro-American and Indian worlds: there are spirits, no coincidences, and ultimately love keeps everything moving along. She deserves the widest audience she can get. The people who have been on Turtle Island for at least the last 15,000 years have a lot to show us, if we could just stop and stand still until we really see what's there.

That leads me to talking about shit. Specifically, some 14,000+ year old human shit found in some caves here in Oregon. That is really old, yeah. The scientists were able to get DNA out of it. And the DNA shows that the people of south central Oregon, the Klamaths as we call them, are the descendants of those early hunters and gatherers. The tribes talk about having been here since "time immemorial," and if 14,000 years' of oral history don't convince you of that, well, you ain't never going to get it, nope.
So much for Indians being the descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes, or some late-comers who kicked somebody else's ass out of the place. No: the earliest people here were Indians, and they, despite everything that's been done to them, are still here. There is hope in that.

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