In N. Scott’s House
‘It is the mark of an educated mind
to be able to entertain a thought
without accepting it.’
One of the essentials of life in the Sixties, if you were radical, was to be well-read.
We spent countless hours, in heated debate on how to bring the Man, the Establishment, down, long into the night on our versions of one communist manifesto or another, peering through hazy smoke of hash pipes and cheap wine goin’ ‘round.
Too, there were the other and just as important, the literary works of say, an N. Scott Momaday, a Native American author, whose Pulitzer Prize winning House Made of Dawn was all the rage.
The fact that this singular honour was accorded a Kiowa author made it all the more so!
Unlike the fiery oratory of political jargon-embellished screeds for social change, the Kiowa words were like a fine quilt lain gently upon the land, allowing you a second appreciative at Mother Nature.
Too, it evolves into a damning indictment of today’s degrading industrialization of the only lands we have left.
Featuring an engaging writing style throughout, as all great Art does, Momaday effortlessly lends a universal ear to whatever each individual chapter, and even page, is about.
“I am the Turquoise Woman’s son.
On top of Belted Mountain,
Beautiful horse—-slim like a weasel.
My horse has a hoof like striped agate;
His fetlock is like a fine eagle plume;
His legs are like quick lightning.
My horse’s body is like an eagle-plumed arrow;
My horse has a tail like a trailing black cloud.”
(from chapter, The Night Chanter)
.. It all fairly reaches out an caresses your longings for freedom, no less.
Going back far enough you surely sense the roots of Indigenous movements like Idle No More and Standing Rock, alive in N. Scott’s House.
Once upon a time… there was
the simple understanding that
to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk
was to heal the world through joy.
The birds still remember
what we have forgotten,
that the world is meant to be celebrated.
(Terry Tempest Williams)