I wrote the following to a Sioux Indian whom I met while playing on the road with a country-rock band in 1999. We spent a week at the Fort Randall Casino in Wagner, SD. )The movie, "Dances with Wolves" was filmed not far from here. The Indian had several names, which I list at the beginning. He liked our music and used to hang around drinking beer and talking with us during breaks. The guys in the band traded various things with him. I had nothing to trade, but told me about a vision and wondered what it meant, so I penned the following philosophy, for which he traded me a beautiful red shirt. He was trying to find his purpose in life, so I tried to come up with something appropriate.
Writing for a new friend:
To my friend Ben White Shoulder Horse
Old Man Grizzly Bear Chief
Fort Randall Casino
June 4, 1999
"A Stranger is but a friend we have yet to meet."
"All who wander are not lost."
"All that is gold does not glitter."
J. R. R. Tolkien
All living things are brothers and sisters, and the earth is our mother. We all dance to the rhythms of life on the tightrope of time.
Your vision of the half-day, half-night man signifies to me that we all have one foot in the future and one foot in the past. This man protects family, and all of Creation is our family.
God gives each of us a special gift. Our families nurture, protect and encourage us to develop our gift. As adults, we learn how to give our gift back to the universe.
In the same way, the plants draw their nourishment from the soil and produce fruits, which they share with all of their brothers and sisters. One day our bodies themselves will return to enrich the earth from which they were formed. While we draw breath, we can bear fruit to share with our brethren. Our special gift produces the fruit we share. As a man matures into adulthood, he begins to learn the nature of his gift.
God has given each of us humans the extraordinary capacity to exercise free will. This means that we may choose to withhold our gift from the world. The Bible speaks of a man hiding his light under a bushel. We can choose to remain barren or to bear fruit.
Old men and philosophers search for the purpose and meaning of life. If we step back and view all of Creation as a unified whole, we can see that all living things are co-creators with God. All life fashions existence from void, fruit from dust. A healthy plant will produce good fruit. A healthy man produces fruits from his labors. He shares these fruits with all of his brothers and sisters. In this way, he repays his mother earth and his father God for the gift of breath.
Each man and woman has a unique vision of the Truth. As we express this vision through the lens of our special gift, we produce Beauty. Artists of all kinds bear their fruit by creating Beauty. "Truth is Beauty, and Beauty is Truth. This is all ye know, and all ye need to know."
Go forth now and bear your fruit. Enrich your brothers and sisters with the special gift that God the Creator has bestowed upon you.