- The Rising of the Bones
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In Heaven there'll be no algebra, No learning dates or names,But only playing golden harps And reading Henry James.--Anonymouse
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. . . writing . . . is essential for the realization of fuller human potential and for the evolution of consciousness itself. Writing is an absolute necessity for the analytically sequential, linear organization of thought such as goes, for example, into an encyclopedia article. Without writing . . . the mind simply cannot engage in this sort of thinking, which is unknown to primary oral cultures, where thought is exquisitely elaborated, not in analytic linearity, but in formulary fashion, through "rhapsodizing," (that is stitching together proverbs, antitheses, epithets, and other "commonplaces" . . .). Without writing, the mind cannot even generate concepts such as "history" or "analysis."-Walter J. Ong, S. J.
The song is very short because we understand so much.-Maria Chona
Outside in the Dark the Rain is falling. It is falling everywhere. It falls on the swollen river as it comes out of the pine forest. It falls on the pine forest. It falls on the headlands that lead out to the angry white [End Page 121] shore of the River With One Bank. It falls forever beyond that shore.
Inside the lodge, the people are together and warm. The men sit cross-legged, repairing their dipnets and fishing spears. The women sew doeskin garments with needles of bone and otter sinew. The children wrestle or play.
One child trips over a sleeping dog and nearly falls into the open fire in the middle of the lodge. The flames flare and light the corners of the ceiling where dried meat and fruit hang from the lodgepoles. The frightened child is comforted.
An old man comes to the fire and squats before it. He selects a madrone twig and stirs the fire. He spits into the fire, then peers around the room at all the faces and spits again. He is going to tell a story. As he talks, an occasional raindrop falls through the smokehole, through the drifting haze and sizzles in the fire. No one notices.
The Girl Who Married a Ghost1
"There were Blue-Jay and his sister Io'i. One night the ghosts went out to buy a wife. They bought Io'i. They kept the dentalia and at night they were married. On the following morning Io'i disappeared. Blue-Jay stayed at home for a year, then he said, 'I shall go and search for my sister.' He asked all the trees, 'Where do people go when they die?' He asked all the birds, but they did not tell him. Then he asked an old wedge. It said, 'Pay me and I shall carry you there.' Then he paid it, and it carried him to the ghosts.
"The wedge and Blue-Jay arrived near a large town. There was no smoke. Only from the last house, which was very large, they saw smoke rising. Blue-Jay entered this house and found his elder sister. 'Ah, my brother,' she said, 'Where do you come from? Have you died?' 'Oh no, I am not dead. The wedge brought me here on his back.' Then he went and opened all those houses. They were full of bones. A skull and bones lay near his sister. 'What are you doing with these bones and this skull?' His sister replied: 'That is your brother-in-law; that is your brother-in-law.' 'Pshaw! Io'i is lying all the time. She says a skull is my brother-in-law!' When it grew dark the people arose, and the house became quite full. It was ten fathoms long.
"He said to his sister, 'Where did these people come from?' She replied, 'Do you think they are people? They are ghosts.' He stayed with his sister a long time. She said to him, 'Do as they do and go fishing with your dipnet.' 'I think I will do that,' he replied. When it grew dark he made himself ready. A boy made himself ready also. Those people [End Page 122] always spoke in whispers. He did not understand them. His elder sister...