Musings by Patricia Feager
I think it's interesting how the mind sees something as simple, as a single feather, floating on the surface of the water and it triggers memories of long ago. This is how the story goes.
It began innocently enough, purely out of curiosity and a thirst for knowledge about the Native American Indians who occupied the land where I lived, house backing up to Grant Woods in Lake Villa, Illinois from 1979 to the spring of 1997. I signed up for classes to learn about the Pottawatomie Indians, previous occupants of Northern, Illinois. Rumor had it there was a peaceful village in my yard before the developer purchased the land and built single family homes in 1973. The elders near Monaville and Fairfield Road said they remembered the old school house next to the cemetery and while the children were in school, Indians peered through the windows, trying to learn English. Many children shared their candy with them and they received berries and nuts in exchange. People lived in harmony.
I am now about to share the facts, as I recall purely from memory. Behind my house was a Kentucky Coffee Tree. People said it was planted there by the Indians as a landmark and if you walked the trails you could see a tree, bent in the direction of Fox Lake. I was told, that's how Native American Indians created landmarks, to mark the trails to get to the lake to draw water. The lessons the children learned about the Pottawatomie Indians were passed down to their grandchildren and eventually to my teacher. Coincidentally, his name was Dallas and he claimed he was a descendant of the Pottawatomie Indians and his expertise was in teaching classes on medicinal plants in Grant Woods and share stories about the Indians.
Dallas encouraged his students to understand, there is no such thing as bad people, but some behave badly. To live harmoniously with nature and other people, you have to learn to see the beauty within every creature here on earth. Fear and jealousy are our enemies. They are as deadly as weapons. The wind can sweep anyone and anything away and things can float in the air; then land on it's backside, as gentle as a feather, floating down the river.
We are given choices and it's up to each individual to decide how they are going to live on earth and what legends will they leave for future generations. Will you leave the world a better place? Dallas asked the question and we were asked to take out a piece of paper from our notebooks and write with the opposite hand, e.g., if you were right handed, write with your left. It was a long afternoon, sitting on the ground under the trees of the forest. A gentle breeze rustled through the leaves of the trees and we sat in silence, slowly, writing our essays. When we were through, we were not allowed to break silence but to think about the pathway to peace and how we are we going to live from this day forward. What I learned is that we can all contribute so much to other people about learning, living, and loving the earth, living respectfully with every single person who passes our way.
Patricia's Tip for the Day:
Wake up and listen to everything that blows your way.