All of us in North America (and South America) live in Indian country.
When I lived in the city, in Asheville, it was pretty easy to not be aware of all this. But in our eight months of “Majo and Pancho: two outlaw cowboys running the back roads of Appalachia during the pandemic”, the reality of what the country was before we ever were here has been pretty much in my face.
We started our Appalachian journey with six weeks in the mountains outside of Barnardsville – guests of my friend who I call “Petula” because she is very concerned for her privacy.
When I would stand on a rock outcropping over the Ivy Creek in Barnardsville, I was struck by a very clear sense that Native Americans had stood in that spot before me. These intuitions have grown stronger and more frequent as we have pushed farther and farther north – and farther and farther inside ourselves￼￼￼￼.
Many of my white cohort out here in Appalachia do not share my felt sense of the Native American history.
Up in Bakersville, I was chatting with a lovely three-generation family walking along the Toe River that runs through Bakersville.￼ I asked the charming, intelligent, college-educated mom what she knew about the Native American history in the Bakersville area.The night before the winter solstice, I found myself in an extraordinary, remote Appalachian Mountain setting. I describe it in this 30-minute video:
The next morning, as I sat in my van attempting to wake up, I saw – through the windshield of Narwal the van – a slight line of pink creep over the eastern horizon.
I was instantly awake: “Holy cow, I have got to capture this!” I threw on some clothes, grabbed my iPhone – and spent the next hour videotaping this historic sunrise.
I don’t know about you, but never before have I so much needed to know that the sun had turned its face to shine more strongly once again on me.
The following two videos capture the sunrise on Monday, December 21, 2020. They are slow and minimal. But, if you set all distractions aside and just focus on the experience of waking up to a new day in the Appalachian mountains, these videos can take you there.
Brother Sun is offering us a brand new day, in the middle of all this devastation and despair. I encourage you to take an hour to go there with me.
(If you find that these videos have offered you some value, please consider dropping a tip in my PayPal tip jar. This will both let me know that my mission has been successful – and help me to finance my winter in Appalachia doing this work.