The following is the Preface
to the book, The Search, by Tom Brown Jr.
It is a moving statement of the values that are important to him.
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 no one'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 with 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 falsehood there, no deceit, no envy. There is only brotherhood and truth.
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
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.
is a place I know where the seasons change, but mildly . . . with a splendor
beyond description. Where summer
rises on the waving lines of heat out of a spring so lush and green and full of
excitement that it 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 color and the
frost that replaces the dew. Winter
there is white and crisp and sleepy . . . promising beneath its blanket the key
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.
is this place? Does it really
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 realization that everything I described is all 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.
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 neoclassical, 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
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'm
the honored guest, along with my brothers the deer and the bear and the raccoon
and the salamander and the eagle and the fly. My world has no time except the seasons and the perspectives
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'm 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.
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."
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 tell me.
Then he said, "Because they are real."
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.
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 by 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 it, and see that it is good. This
earth is a garden, this life a banquet, and it's time we realized that it was
given to all life, animal and man, to enjoy.
passage is Copyright by Tom Brown Jr.
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