One of the ways I keep in touch with what’s happening in the world is by surfing news programs and other shows among the hundred or so channels on my television satellite system. I happen to like the old-fashioned movies because they make me laugh about how tough their times were, having to handle only a few dark strangers in a dramatic way. In a way, I kind of miss those simpler times, where nary a swear word or machine gun would upset the delicate balance of movie’s skimpy plot. Those movies are in a different world and are a far cry from today’s reality shows and incessant stream of bad news.
What is becoming more apparent (to me at least) is the high number of violent acts and incredibly paranoiac state of mind that characterize our world. The news is awash with gunfights, missing women, education institutes attacked by crazed gunmen, buildings collapsing, huge earthquakes, corrupt politicians, cities shutting down in financial ruin and the whole depressing list goes on.
Click. My remote, useless in my hand, falls to the floor. I slowly crawl off the lazyboy and start shuffling off outdoors. The town is empty. Has the world finally quieted down? Is this possible? Slowly, the fresh air revives my body and the friendly sun warms me. I smile. This is a great day to be outside! Where is everyone? Suddenly, a cloud of dust appears and out pops people in a dusty reservation vehicle. I think to myself, wasn’t that a new vehicle just last year? Then, another vehicle pops out from the grey mass of dust and onto the pavement. People who I thought I recognized but somehow, they looked older… no, it’s just the dust in their hair, making them look old and grey.
Then, I remembered, this is the week that everyone heads out to the land to have fun and learn things, remember and rehash the good old days, get some teachings and eat country food cooked over fires! We all head out after working hours and prepare for some idyllic picnic time. Amazingly, everything fits in the decades-old van that I like to call My Mechanic’s Best Friend. After stuffing in the custom-made grill and passengers, the van lists sideways, close to the ground and huffs off to the gathering place 2013.
Upon reaching the grounds, most of the missing people reappear. Tents and michuaps (teepees for those not in the know) dot the landscape. Kids are everywhere, playing with sticks and stones. Of course, everyone also has an iPod and we still have to contend with countless Facebook pictures when we get back to internet-access lands, but it is still reminiscent of the days of yore.
What’s nice about everything is that we get to use real Indian time and have a good old time cooking, playing games and listening to the old folks, learning more and more of their past and history. These days are priceless chances to escape from the rest of the world and it’s still reassuring that there isn’t a crisis worthy of reaching the regional or national news. That the time to laugh and play still has a special place in life. This restores our humanity with an infectious mindset of simple peace and friendship that many people around the globe try to attain.
Night sets in and we make our way back to town and Facebookland, happy and tired. I settle back into the lazyboy. I click on my remote. Aaahhhh, I sigh, at least Rob Ford didn’t make the news today…