Where it started

There are three influential books that I read in the years of my late teens and early twenties.

The Bible being the first whose voices sang in concert to me that there is a God and He is actively participating in the lives He created. I learned too that the Bible, a series of stories of men and women who encountered this God is a book that has not ended in its writing but is continuing to be written with each life being lived that recognizes its creation in relation to its Creator. Until time finally folds up and is absorbed into eternity, Gods story continues to be written and we are co-Authors in the creation of that story. It is the most amazing!

The second is Walden by Henry David Thoreau. I read Walden at 19 years old and it wasn’t until I recently picked it off my bookshelf again that I realized just how much it had influenced my life. Henry gave me permission to march to a different drumbeat and that living simply was not a license to be lazy but an admonition to be thoughtful and to live deliberately. It was the call to live fully present and in the moment, to suck out all the marrow of life so that when I came to die, I would not then discover that I had never lived.

The third was Dee Brown’s book Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee. Possibly the saddest book I have ever read, it broke my heart to which I have never recovered. It shaped my view of both my country and myself. It taught me how unbridled ambition is never a virtue even when dressed up with slogans like, “Manifest Destiny” to justify murder and robbery or “Fighting for the Freedom and Democracy of the American People” when what it really wants is oil. Dee Browns book gave me a lens I have used throughout my life. It grabbed my lapel and got in my face. It taught me to not blindly accept what I’m told but to question what goes on behind the curtain. Governments come and go but “We The People” will always remain.

Throughout the years there have been many other voices that have spoken into my life. But these first three I think are the most important because they were there when I was awakening into my adulthood. I carried them in my backpack as I hiked through the mountains and sat by streams. Their thoughts were in my thoughts as I rode the city bus. They caused me to wonder and think and they were there when I first put pen to paper.
Thank you Dee. Thank you Henry, Thank you God.

Published in: on February 27, 2010 at 11:23 am  Comments (10)  

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You have a beautiful gift with words! Thank you for sharing them with us all!

  2. I’m proud of you, babe ! You are living out your destiny.My memories of you carrying your writing tablet around in our early years of marriage are very clear. You are creating a legacy for for me & your children & grandchildren. Thank you for that gift! Now …..WRITE!!!

  3. SHUCKS SON!!! Here all this time I thought you just went back there to play the banjo!?!?!?

    Really though, Brother, I can see everything you’ve written here reflected in you. I know too the impact you have had on me and those around you. I’ll look forward to reading your mental musings!!

    (and maybe some day, I’ll finally figure out just what the heck you’re talking about??) 😉

  4. I love your blog and forwarded your first entry to my daughter, Holli, who is a High School English teacher and voracious reader. I told her, “Me thinks there is another writer in the fam!”

  5. I’m so glad you are sharing your Letters from the Ozarks with us. You are a talented story teller and your mesmerizing use of language makes it a treat to sit down with a cup of coffee and savor every word. Keep writing!

  6. Another great story!! i whish i could put things on paper like you! but you always had a way with words,i remember our teenage years they were sometimes fun and sometimes bad, but we made it to our 50s anyway!! keep on writing,also i hope you pick up drawing like you did when we were 15 or so! i remember the big pad you had to draw pictures you were very good!!!! thanks for always being my brother!! love you steve

  7. Loved it, more please.

  8. I love to read your musings…..I’ve lived in the Ozarks my entire life and deeply appreciate this beautiful area in which I live, but seeing it through your eyes gives it new meaning. If everyone could see what you and I see, they would know why I have chosen to remain living here! It’s lovely to read about your experiences….you have a poet’s voice and a philosopher’s eyes. So glad that you and Cathie are enjoying your new home! It will soon be time for our outdoor get-togethers once again! Come see us….

  9. Three of MY favorite books, too, although Wounded Knee is not one that I would re-read, as I’ve done with the others. As you said, just too painful. But two years ago, when we were in the Pine Ridge area, the images came flooding back, and I believe these are issues Americans need to confront, even though they are unpleasant and sometimes convicting. If everyone could be “awakened into adulthood” by reading these three books, we would be far richer…not in terms of gold but in terms of values.

  10. Great read but I dont think the (quazi)public nudity just popped up with the move to the midwest. I think it may have just seen a moment of dormanthood (if that is a word).

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