HomePublicationsThe Tracker MagazineVol 1, No. 2, Feb 1982

The Tracker Magazine - Vol 1 No. 2, Feb 1982

Night Flight
by Medicine Hawk
Gary Eiff

The night was overcast and cold.  An icy wind stung my face, but my heart was warm as I pulled my capote tighter around me.  The softly falling snow had been a tranquillizer to my soul.  The long absence from the woods had cost me my inner peace and I no longer walked in balance with my earth mother.  Few places on earth represent the quagmire of humanism and humanistic ideals more than the campus of a university.  Weeks of teaching the headlong rush of electronics technology had left me drained and despairing.  This same haunting question kept eating at my heart: “What is this coveted thing we call technology?”

The snow had stooped and now the sky was clearing as if the Great Spirit were pulling back a great cover to reveal a full moon.  Slipping along on skinny skiis, the weight of the pack on my back gave me a fullness of being.  The awesome beauty of the powdered snow diamonds falling from the trees in the pale blue light of the full moon filled me with joy.  What would my colleagues think if they could see this mad, wretched example of the academic community, the “genteel intelligensia”, frolicking like a child at 4 A.M., miles from rational man's last footsteps?  What is the essence of life?

With the quiet hiss of the skis, I glide down the slope into the clump of pines, giving flight to the two does and the buck taken by surprise by my arrival.  Man has put them to flight, but they pause at the top of a hill for they realize a brother.  The wind has burst through the boughs of the pines with a song that has always touched my soul with the deepest peace.  I have often sought out my brothers the pines for they can heal my tensions as no “white man’s” medicine can.

The morning star is just breaking the eastern horizon and bathes the cleansing white blanket of snow that covers my mother, healing her wounds, preparing her for the south's revival. Such is as the Great Spirit wished it: the four seasons in turn, the circle of life. Renewed and at peace, I slowly make my way through the pines. Suddenly I am jolted back to the realities of the broken circle. My skis had dislodged a spent six pack of beer, left, no doubt, in the hedonistic quest for self-gratification with no regard for others or the circle of life. It is stark testimony that man alone breaks the circle and wantonly and willfully scars our mother with wounds that cannot be healed by the north's cleansing power nor the south’s renewing power. Where does he suppose he will go when the circle is broken?

With a sorrow-laden heart, I head for home. At what price is "progress"? Man's craving desire for “technology” is his excuse to rape and plunder the earth. Where is technology going? Is it buying us a better life? Have we lost the true essence of life? Man has not only lost his brotherhood to the four-logged, the winged, and all the members of the circle, but he also grows further from his fellow man. 

As I approach the edge of the woods, I’m struck as if by a revelation. I realize that there before me is the essence of technology. I gaze at the monument to man's wisdom, his knowledge, his progress. Quickly stripping my skis, I climb the monument to take in its full impact. Yes, this is it. This is the answer I have been seeking for. Here is the true meaning of man's technology. As the old rusted car door slips from beneath my feet and careens down the pile of discarded washers, tvs, and halfeaten food, I realize that this is the epitome of man’s technology. The landing of a man on the moon is heralded as the pinnacle of man's technological achievement. Did we not go to that virgin asteroid and erect a monument to our technology by leaving all our garbage? Is that how man views his mother earth - as something to be used and then discarded?

All things form the chain of the circle of life - each dependent on the other. Everything has its place and is necessary for the wholeness of the circle, save one, man. Man alone stands outside the circle, for the circle can exist without him. Yet man depends on the circle for his existence. Will man, in all his professed wisdom and knowledge, continue to relentlessly try to break the circle of life, cutting my mother's breath, poisoning the land, indiscriminately killing? Will the pompousness, arrogance and greed of man make the ultimate monument to technology the extinction of man and possibly all life on the earth? Or is it possible that man stands outside the circle of life for a purpose? Did the Great Spirit, in His infinite wisdom, prepare for this eventuality?

As I made my way slowly to my car, I tried to prepare my mind to cope with the return to the forefront of technology. My mind fought everything that technology stands for. In despair, I climbed into the car, my mind desperately trying to rationalize how I could teach my students the technology with a conscience, while deep in my heart my soul cried angrily to the Great Spirit for the great purification.

(Gary was a member of the first class Tom held on the farm. He and his wife MaryAnn were also in the third class an the farm in which Dick and Vicki were students. Gary presently teaches avionics at Southern Illinois University.)


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