Autumnal Reflections: History and Our Heritage
Fall Season is Time to Celebrate
Celebrating Our Heritage in Autumn
The poetry of autumn in the Smoky Mountains is always brilliant, and always remarkable, partly because of the rich American history that comes to mind during a quiet walk in the woods.
Crisp leaves rustling in a breeze call the past to mind, reminding us of seasons that rolled along with time. Softened fall light filtering from above deepens shadows in the same old hollows of days gone by creating shadows that hinted of times to come.
Today, especially in an early dawn, we can almost hear the soft footsteps of this land's earliest inhabitants going about their lives along the riverbanks and among the trees.
In preparation for their winters they would collect the nuts and dry the harvest season's food gifts. Shoring up their villages for the cold weather that would come with the season’s changes was also an important task.
The brisk winds of autumn cause me to think about what their lives were like. How hardy and resourceful they were compared to some others of those times, yet, their circumstances required them to live on the alert. They learned to live cautiously and carefully at an early age.
We can learn a great deal from the aspects of those circumstances that were, in actual fact, very good. The gains should not be lost because of the wrongs, but sadly, the gains are too often disregarded.
Celebrating Early Friendships in Autumn
With knowledge about the truth of why and how the first white settlers came to America one can imagine the pleasure with which wise people learned interesting methods and culture from each other while preserving their own. The initial questions each must have had about the other are plenty of food for thought!
The warm friendliness that the natives and the newcomers enjoyed in the early days of their relationship can very nearly be felt when I look at the myriad of colors dancing in the autumn breezes. Seeing how each used the natural resources available to them must have been delightful to the people in both groups.
Autumn, History, and Heritage
Beside streams that carry brilliant yellow and orange leaves into the crannies of clustered rocks and deep tree roots I can sense the strength of those early friendships. Caution had to have played a part in the introduction, but then their curiosities must have given them moments of great mirth.
It is not pleasant to consider the vicious behavior that eventually divided most of those first relationships, but that consequence of time is not new to humankind’s bonds. Since the fall of man there have been wars within and without, war near or far, but always the same.
The tragedies that have occurred in American history are not unique to America, nor of any other particular culture. An honest study of the history of the world reveals that every race and culture has its record of terrible abuses of their own people, not to mention violent abuses of other races and cultures.
November Walk in the Appalachian WoodsClick thumbnail to view full-size
It is important, however, not to miss what is valuable in history when trying to find solutions, when trying to prevent repetition of past mistakes. When we consider the histories of past cultures we need to study out the whole truth because too often we focus only on trying to learn from the mistakes.
Sure, there is a lot to learn from what goes wrong in a culture, but we can also learn a great deal from the aspects of those circumstances that were, in actual fact, very good. The gains should not be lost because of the wrongs, but sadly, the gains are too often disregarded.
When history is written without a full account of events, or when it is rewritten in a manner that changes the intent of the written record, gains vanish. Then, a total focus on the wrong prevents us from remembering and learning and teaching, from what was good throughout history.
Like every other culture, America has had its share of both the positive and the negative. In the political climate we have today we need to be careful to teach our children that America's history has a lot of good that we could and need to learn from today.
What is your favorite season of the year?
Autumn is Perfect for Reflecting on Our History
The harvest season is a fine time to reflect on American history, Smoky Mountains or elsewhere, but we need to be sure to avoid the bitter and ungrateful revisionist’s version of our country’s heritage.
American school teachers have been pressured to ignore the truth about our history, and some have even taught lies about it. Do you know a child that you could share some truth with?
As you decorate and celebrate the season, consider getting good resources for the children you can influence during the fall season. Maybe they will even share them at school!
~~~~~~~ Happy Fall, Ya’ll! ~~~~~~~
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