Thursday, July 26, 2012
Today we are honoring the life of our friend George Shaw. In remembrance of him, I recreate a passage from the book Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River, an odd book George loved to kid me about. This is an early page. This is the Schuylkill River speaking. Lenape traditions. Lenape faith in soul.
We love you, George.
The sky is theirs: The hunters after the bear, the Thunderers and Horned Serpent of last night's storm, and the souls on the long, white trail—rising.
It was just yesterday that the Lenni Lenape boy and his father stood at my shore shadding with the claw of a bird and a net of knitted hemp. A bead had worked itself loose from the boy's black wampum—a kernel of grief sunk down and in among bones and stones, surrendered seeds, the bulrushes that once released themselves from the earth and drowned.
Today, in the smoky aftermath of the storm, in the mood of mourning, I ride the humped back of that dark whelk. It is the eleventh day of a mother's dying, and soon the skies will change again. Her heart soul will ascend to the heavens, on its Sky Journey. Her blood soul will hover ever close.