"Retracing the Past"

by Tim Behrens


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"With tears running, O Great Spirit, Great Spirit, my Grandfather-- with running tears I must say now that the tree has never bloomed.  A pitiful old man, you see me here, and I have fallen away and done nothing.  Here at the center of the world, where you took me when I was young and taught me; here, old, I stand, and the tree is withered, Grandfather, my Grandfather!

Again, and maybe the last time on this earth, I recall the great vision you sent me.  It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives.  Nourish it then, that it may leaf and bloom and fill with singing birds.  Hear me, not for myself, but for my people; I am old.  Hear me that they may once more go back into the sacred hoop and find the good red road, the shielding tree!"

from Black Elk Speaks by John G. Neihardt

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