Wednesday, September 7, 2011

STORY-"Traveller Not A Tourist Be"

I have left the west. The land that saw my birth; casino dreams which once were shiny with potential have faded as fast as mirages do on Route-66. Myself and my family crossed over the Mississippi looking for subtaintial connections to histories and community.

We came back to the same Atlantic shoreline who witnessed the birthing of my lineage, and that of my wife's history. Completing a circle of familial experience three hundred and ninety years in the making. Exchanging desert mirages for ancestral beginings.

 In my heart I have the recorded history of spirits, Brujos, Shape Changers, dead relatives. The chambers of my heart are so full with these experiences, cell phones and computers cannot find refuge there.

It is with those traditions and experiences I view my new home. By allowing myself to cross through fragile portals to timescapes and events I am allowed special visions. It is my ability to travel which sends spirits who need me to witness their stories, and crucial moments of their lives which beg, no demand that they be recorded by the living.

In the early morning hours along rail road tracks of steel I often walk. I try to be alone with my thoughts in that narrow azimuth of time before a continent groans, shouldering a rising sun into the sky. At the ruler straight perimeter of a machine world, where new age Ley-lines of iron meet organic swamp; Ghosts old in age greet me.

If you pause to catch your breath, as I often do, you will sometimes hear rhythmic sounds. At first you might think that it is the Basso-Profundo beat of a yard locomotive making up a train. But if you listen closely, while facing the Congaree swamp, you will hear Ghana and Malawi drums beating softly, echoing across water and Cypress stumps.

Along a curve where a slough cuts under a train trestle, heading for a deep water channel, British Regulars and Confederate Pickets take congress with one another. Once upon a time I wore a uniform and knew the pace of an infantryman in my feet. They recognize me as belonging to that particular fraternity and let me pass un-molested.

At another location where the swamp meets an open expanse of water, when the sun had not risen, or the moon yet set. I saw a flat bottom barge filled with Cotton, Corn and Slaves. Her crew were long polling it into a fog bank. Individual lanterns aboard faded into the mist as lighting bugs do on a warm June evening. They hailed me as they passed, sliding away to some predestined landing.

My latest journey into the Congaree, I stumbled upon a mixed group of Indians and escaped Slaves. Their anger and outrage of a shared white man experience flared like gas-fire atop a refinery tower. All faded back into deeper shadows save one. Standing there, ancient with native knowledge he spoke to me.

“I see you traveler.” He said.

I stood very still and replied, “I see you as well.”

He examined me behind a mask of ocher clay and obsidian eyes.

“You carry songs of many dead, from many lands in your chest,” his gravelly voice sliding into the silence between us.

“You are still new to this place. When you have grown awhile and your roots have taken a firmer grasp, I will sing to you songs of Turtle and Fox.”

I just nodded my head and eased my way out of the glow of his fire. I left him there standing alone. I walked along the rails heading for home and a warm cup of coffee. His words and those images of earlier encounters resonated under my breast bone; there they have found kindred spirits I have carried with me since I was a small child.

If you want to locate me, I am not hard to find. I am the traveler walking with the dead, listening to their stories, along a rail road which cuts through the Congaree Swamp.

The End

DS Baker

No comments:

Post a Comment