Sunday, April 28, 2013

I"m having an unexpectedly weepy Sunday ... but the tears are an odd mixture of joy and sadness ... .

Spent the past hour trying to write up yesterday's remarkable experience in the Visitors Center, but instead of feeling relief from allowing the feelings to rise - once I hit "publish" the layers upon layers of conflicting truth began to rise up to be reckoned with.

Thinking about Mr. Hicks's stunning few sentences, and the fact that this was coming from a living descendant of the Navajo nation to someone of Japanese-American ancestry in a room full of European American listeners added to the power in the words.

When I recall yesterday's  interaction between Flora and Satsuki -- two Japanese American women who represented (possibly) differing political positions in regard to the awesomely divisive demands made by their government, and that they were in this room -- each speaking her truth and allowing us to be witnesses.

Without a sense of just what it meant to create a park without ownership of the sites with little more than stories upon which to establish a new national park, we've created something new and critical to both the history of what happened in this place 70 years ago -- and critically-needed if we are to continue growing into the nation that we've for so long claimed to be.  Could that something be that we have succeeded in creating

... a safe place in which to process and learn the neglected lessons of history that are so necessary to our nation's survival in these troubled times?

Something truly important is beginning to happen here, and maybe the reason I'm finding such personal public acclaim is for having significantly contributed to this outcome over time by being pointedly honest and direct about those lost conversations and untold stories as I've lived them -- both publicly and without compromise.  Maybe a pattern of authenticity has been set that's releasing the same in others.  Do you suppose?  If so, that would be a major contribution to be proud of, and a legacy to protect and preserve for future generations -- in keeping with the mission of the National Park Service.

Surely the human stories are as worthy of as much protection as our scenic places of awe and wonder.

... and it was awe and wonder that was in the theater yesterday as the onion was -- layer-by-layer -- being peeled back on a shameful chapter in our history to a degree of honesty that leaves this vintage ranger tearfully joyous! 

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