The world journey of a Sacred Pipe || World Journey of the Four Directions Unity Bundle || Turtle Heart, teacher, ceremonial student and artist, educated by elders of many tribes; this is the lifelong work of a keeper of a Sacred Tribal Bundle. The Home of this Sacred Pipe is on Pantelleria, a small island in the Mediterranean Sea. The work is done through invitations from communities around the world. A ceremony for the ancient future.
Our soldiers. Thousands of them dead. Gone. Their families devestated. Tens of thousands injured, broken, their lives changed forever into something less. Suicides. By the thousand. By the thousands. Suicides.
George W. Bush. Criminal. Liar. A disgraced American President. An non-prosecuted criminal. A liar. A coward. A hallow and empty man. A disgrace to his country. A disgrace to human history.
When I was a young man, I loved to study history. In every country and culture. Part of this interest came into my young bones from the efforts of Mrs. Wells. Even after so many years I remember her great passion for history at Eastmoore High School in Columbus Ohio. Also her legs. She had such beautiful legs. It was her habit to sit on her desk, on the top, in front of the class, with her beautiful legs crossed..she seemed to get lost in the stories of things that happened a long time ago. It infected me and I have never lost that interest.
Like many young people, I grew up in my life believing the world would be better and sweeter. I believed absolutely that the “adults” had learned from all the horrible mistakes made in the past. I believed the world would be sweeter and better.
Now I am an old man. I see how foolish, how stupid, how selfish our society truly is. No one seems to have learned from the mistakes of the past. Most of our so-called leaders do not even know about the past. So many of our leaders these days are people, men in particular, with no education. Yes, they have elite degrees. A dumb as a rock US President, George Bush actually went to one of the finest universities in the world. He got through it with a low, barely passing grade. Bush is such a stupid, stupid man. He can barely form a complete sentence. If you watch a video of him walking, it seems to take all of his concentration just to get one foot in front of the other. He stumbled and mumbled his way through a life that has proven an absolute disaster for this country, indeed, for the world. History taught me much about the “accidents” that often put stupid, empty human beings in enormous positions of power. And history is littered with the consequences of those men and their lives.
History also teaches us about those who grovel and scrape and kiss the sacred asses of those in power. This is the America we have today.
I can’t hep wondering, if she were alive, what Mrs. Wells would think of the suicides, madness, homelessness and confusion of today’s generation of veterans? Of the bloviating cowards, men gipped in fear and loathing of their mothers, like Rush Limbaugh or Ted Cruz..or the apparently motherless Plastic Cubano, Rubio, a United States Senator from Florida?
1969. Seven or eight young men, and myself. Their medic. We were attached at that moment to a group of the Eighth Calvary, commanded by an obese, confused and shallow officer, one Col. George S. Patton, IV. Yes, General George Patton’s son. Most of the time our little group was sneaking around the wet jungles on our own. Thinking back on this scene now, years later, we were sitting ducks, or waddling ducks perhaps. Completely exposed.
I was intoxicated by the beauty of that great forest area. It was so green, so clean and pristine. The only trash I ever saw was the trash dropped by American soldiers. Most of the time, the only people we saw were “locals”. Villagers. They seemed to live in a kind of suspended animation. There were times when I saw them shot to pieces, literally. I never understood exactly what they had done. Looking them over, there were no weapons, no important documents. No clear links to trouble.
One time, ina small village we passed through, all the young men and a few women came up to me with gigantic smiles and rubbed my belly. They ignored everyone else. Not one of us spoke the language. To this day I have no idea that was about.
We just had our clothes, a helmet. A rifle. Our little packs with food in cans. Free tobacco. Looking at the protective and tactical clothing today’s soldiers wear into combat, it feels like we were nearly naked out there. Alone with our little “lurp” platoon. At first, as a medic, I saw no need to carry a rifles..an M-16. I carried a .45 pistol, Army issue. I liked it. As a medic I was under no obligation to carry a rifle; at least there, at that time, in that situation. After the first occasion where we were taking arms fire directed at us, bullets flying everywhere. I felt pretty foolish. A few hours later, as we were being resupplied by a helicopter, with more bullets and actually some fresh-cooked food (steaks), they delivered me a brand new M-16. So much for my childish idea as to what my role in that platoon was. I went from being a quasi-pacifist to being a fully armed combat soldier. Locked and loaded. I even started carrying hand-grenades. Used them to.
Not one of us understood why we were there. To this day I have no idea why. After walking around in the magic jungle for 4 or 5 months, I feel into a pit, breaking my right ankle. This got me “medivacked” back to my headquarters unit, I forget where that was. After floating around there a few days, they sent me to Japan for surgery on my ankle, inserting a metal pin, titanium, to hold it together. My ticket back home, to an Army hospital and months of lingering around, doing nothing. It was a really strange fucking experience.
I came home. Lost. Not much idea what to do next. For months. I ended up going off to Canada. Toronto. I stayed there for a year. When I finally came home, I was thrown out of the Army and drifted back into a confused life as an American vet.
In this state of mind I returned to contacts within the American Indian part of my family. Those old Indians changed my life. They forgave me. Taught me to forgive myself. And gave me a new life. The life I have today. An old Indian myself now. Traveling around in the world and trying to do for others what those old Indians did for me. With mixed results. But always with gratitude for what those old Indians did for me, for what I was able to do for myself.
Soldiers come home from today’s wars. To their families, to their country. And kill themselves. There is no one to save them.
I wish, at the end of this narrative that I could say something more hopeful. That somehow, all the young men and women who have given their lives in this service did the right thing. I am not so sure. I lament. All of that service. If I had a son or daughter, the government would have to kill me to get them inside a war. It is not so much that the pacifist has returned, as it is my faith in my country, at that level, has been destroyed. I have zero faith in our leadership. Our military leadership in particular seems absolutely incompetent. Our soldiers seem better than ever, those precious young people. With their really great equipment and their dedication. Betrayed by their country. Left all alone to die in pain and isolation and confusion.
I think back sometimes to my experience getting to know George Patton’s son. He was such a pig of a man. He really enjoyed collecting “souvenirs” from the dead bodies of Vietnamese. I watched him do that quite a few times. It was disgusting. He was disgusting. He tried to steal my camera on one occasion. I stood up to him and insisted he give it back and finally he did. Seeing and feeling this incompetent pig of a man was the beginning of my loss of faith. Like many students of history, I sure admired his father. To this day I admire his father. I think all my heroes are people who lived and died a long time ago.
It has been many years ago, so many years, that I was a soldier. Funny really. It seems like it was just the other day. Under dark and stormy skies. Before the rain begins to fall.