Tom's World by Tom Brown Jr.
From "The Search" by Tom Brown, Jr.
There is a place I know where everything lives in harmony. Nothing
is envied, stolen, or killed. Instead, everything is shared. The
land is everyone's and noone's. Life is sacred there. A dweller in
this place thinks highly of human life because he lives so close
to the earth. He understands his part in the scheme of nature and
is not lost or searching for himself.
In this place, man sleeps easily, without fear, and rises to greet
the day with praises instead of curses. He wanders the land at times,
but never without purpose. Sometimes he hunts, fishes, farms, gathers,
and sometimes he just sits and watches and listens.
Everything is valued in this place. The smallest insect is as important
as the largest bear. Each has its purpose and is respected. The water
runs clear in the streams. The lakes are alive with fish. The paths
are clean and covered only with the tracks of life. The trees grow
uncut, and the vines untrimmed – homes for the thousands of
forms of wildlife created to live within their protection.
The birds, the wind, and the rushing water are the only music except
the songs that spring spontaneously from man's heart. The eyes and
hands and mouths and bodies are the only form of communication. In
this place a man must face another in order to speak. There is no
falshood there, no deceit, no envy. There is only brotherhood and
Pain and death are there because they are part of life. Only there
the pain is natural. It is not inflicted by man, but by the natural
order of life. It does not debilitate, but teaches. It does not depress,
but frees. Death there is the natural end and the supernatural beginning.
There is a God in this place, for without the Great Spirit, there
could be no harmony. It is the force which exists both outside creating
and within, relating all living forms. The Great Spirit created this
place. The Great Spirit made it good and enables all its creatures
to live full lives there.
This is a place I know, where man is naked and unashamed, naked
and neither hot from the sun nor cold from the wind. There is serenity
for man in this place and a oneness with all of creation. There man
neither hates nor envies, for everything is his, and he belongs to
everything. There man feels his part of the whole and is not anxious.
There is a place I know where the seasons change, but mildly . .
. with a splendour beyond description. Where summer rises on the
waving lines of heat out of a spring so lush and green and full of
excitement that is drips with life. In this place, summer goes on
forever like a meandering river, and all of its life is caught up
and caressed in its dry warmth. Fall sneaks up on you in this place,
discerned only by its colour and the frost that replaces the dew.
Winter there is white and crisp and sleepy . . . promising beneath
its blanket the key to eternity.
There is change in this place I know. The seasons change, the trees
grow tall, and man is born, grows old, and dies with a smile on his
lips and peace in his heart.
Where is this place? Does it really exist? Yes. It is within me
and can be within you. It is a state of mind; it is an awareness;
it is an appreciation; it is an understanding; it is a commitment
to life. It is the realisation that everything I described is about
us every day of our lives, but we miss it. We are blind to the beauty
of a sunset, deaf to the music of the wind, callous to rough bark
and soft grass. We speak of salaries and war instead of singing songs
of life. We taste the bitterness of pollution and miss the sweetness
of wild honeysuckle. We smell bus fumes but never the apple blossoms
or clover flower.
We are trapped by our conditioning in a world of steel and plastic,
asphalt and concrete. We are removed from the earth and getting farther
and farther from it daily. We worry, fret, strive, slave, and accumulate.
We see life as a treadmill, a production plant, a honkytonk, a garage.
We see it as early American or neo-classical, or nouveau or modern
or ancient. But we never see it as natural. Life is manufactured
and marketed. It is, for many of us, something to be bought or sold,
and the more we pay the better off we feel we are.
In my world, there is nothing artificial, nothing sterile. In my
world, the closer I can get to the dirt and the mud, the more alive
I become. I neither worry nor fret nor strive nor slave. Whatever
happens happens, and I learn from it. I accumulate only what I can
carry, and I see life as a great banquet at which I am the honoured
guest, along with my brothers the deer and the bear and the racoon
and the salamander and the eagle and the fly. My world has no time
except the seasons and the perspective of youth and old age. My world
is natural, designed by hands that are universal in nature. It is
neither American nor Chinese. Its differences are high and low, wet
and dry, cold and warm, and it makes little difference to me which
one I am in. In my world, life is a gift to be accepted and returned.
Life is a celebration, it is a learning, it is a gift. We cannot
buy it or sell it, because it is not ours. It is the Great Spirit's,
given to us to enjoy . . . . That is the word that best explains
this place: joy. That is what I feel in my world. Joy. And I sincerely
believe that you can feel that same joy in your world because they
are the same place, only seen through different eyes.
I once asked my old Apache friend and teacher, Stalking Wolf, why
he would not be cold in the winter or hot in the summer. His answer
was, "I am both, but I am not bothered by them".
"Why?" I asked.
He looked for a long time at me, trying to decide, I feel, if I
was ready to receive his answer, to accept what he was about to tell
me. Then he said, "Because they are real".
I've spent a long time trying to understand those words the only
way I know how – by living them. By being as real as I can
and appreciating all real things in this world.
We are a part of everything real and natural, and therefore they
are a part of us. If we don't fight them, but let them flow through
us, they will never bother us, only enrich us. It is such a simple
principle that most of us miss it. But my missing it, we miss most
of what life is all about. What I am saying is that to be a part
of this real world, you need to see things differently . . . that's
all. Listen with your feelings, see with your heart. Read the earth,
listen to the wind as it speaks to you. Gather in its fragrances
and touch its differences. Taste is, and see that it is good. This
earth is a garden, this life a banquet, and it's time we realised
that it was given to all life, animal and man, to enjoy.
Source: Tom Brown Jr. - "The Search"
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