The Oak - Part 3
That night Ankure thought of the events of the day and though he knew they had happened, he found it hard to justify in his mind, let alone, would he be able to ever tell anybody else. He lived alone, so this was not a problem anyway, as he didn’t have many friends, and the only family was the uncle he was employed by as a hotel clerk and a couple of cousins and their families.
Even though he was nervous about what had happened, there was an anticipation of going and speaking to Ataya again. He was always one to remember details of conversations with people and in this case, with Ataya. He was very curious about what was meant by special things. He would visit his doctor in the morning and then visit Ataya again.
Ankure listened as his doctor told him that while his tumor was cancer, it didn’t seem to be progressing at the normal rate, so he was going to put him on some super antibiotics and try that before he would resort to chemo or anything invasive. After taking his first dose of medicine he left the doctor’s office and headed straight to where Ataya was.
When Ankure arrived, he sat down on the bench where he had the previous day and looking around up and down the sidewalk’s to be sure no one was around. He looked at Ataya’s trunk and said, “Good morning Ataya.” “Good morning, how are things with you today?” asked Ataya. Ankure explained the visit to the doctor and about the treatments. “Good, it looks like you may come out of this in good shape.” “Yes, the doctor said it may take a little longer but, if it works, it would not be as bad as other methods,” Ankure continued, “you mentioned showing me something today.”
Ataya said, “I told you yesterday that I would show you special things.” “Yes, this has been a mystery in my thinking last night; what is this that you wish to show me?” Ataya said, “You remember I told you about the frequency thing and I mentioned spiritual things. Well they are intertwined somewhat, but I’m not going to get into great detail about it now. You say you’re interested in the things I’ve seen.” “Yes, very much,” said Ankure. “You have to remember that all the history I’ve seen pertains to the area I can see and I’ve seen a lot from this place. I’ve seen battles of wars from before this country was barely founded. Whole families that lived and died in periods of intolerance in this country. I’ve seen justice and injustice, the good and evil side of people. The curse of the blood spilled on this ground. If you could see what I’ve seen -- would you really want too?”
Ankure sat in silence for a long while, deeply considering the words of Ataya and for the first time, somberly pondering the possible effect it could have on him mentally and yet, the thought of passing up the opportunity to look into this bastion of knowledge was slightly daunting to him too! Ankure said, “I want to see things that you have seen, but how is it possible?”
Ataya said, “Come over to the bench where my limb is hanging low above it.” Ankure moved to the bench. Ataya instructed him, “Reach up and lay your hands on my limb and close your eyes.” Ankure closed his eyes and was waiting for what seemed like an eternity and nothing was happening; feeling his hands may slip, he worked his fingertips down between the crevasses of Ataya’s rough bark, so as to get a good grip to hang onto. Then his hands started to tingle and it continued up his arms to his neck, torso and legs; he started feeling light headed and then he drifted into a dreamlike state of vision; he was high above the ground, seeing things as if he were in a tree, high in the air.
Ataya asked Ankure, “Are you alright?” Ankure answered, “Yes, am I in a dream?” “No, you’re seeing what I have seen in memory; what are you seeing now?” “Now it looks like I’m on the ground looking through a forest.” “That’s when I was just a small sprout on the forest floor that used to be here. I’m going to show you things as I’m getting older; if you want to stop, let me know.” “O.K.” Ankur acknowledged, “It seems so real.”
The next scene he saw was a Cherokee village with about forty of their huts made of wooden frames and covered with woven vines and sticks plastered with mud. There was a large seven-sided hut in the middle of the rest. This was the counsel hut were the village chief and elders would meet to discuss village and tribal affairs; there were a few men and women standing in front of it talking.
The seven sides represented each clan of the Cherokee tribe, Deer, Wolf, Wild Potato, Paint, Blue, Long Hair and Bird. The village life seemed to be easy going and content with its usual chores of farming, some young boys fishing by the creek, gathering firewood, and water. Cleaning deer and bear hides for curing. The same scene changes to a time years later. Soldiers coming on their horses rounding the people up like cattle, taking their guns and any weapons they had. Forcing people to move from their land, walking and it was in the dead of winter and they were not prepared for this. These images made Ankure very sad about what had happened to the Cherokee.
That scene faded and another came into view, in the distance he saw a large open field of grass surrounded by the forest on three sides, on the other was a field of corn. A small wood frame church without a steeple sat about fifty yards away from the cornfield in the corner of the open area under several large oaks.
The sound of rifle and canon fire could be heard and thick smoke floating close to the ground slowly moving in the direction of a slight movement of air forced by the blasts from the rifle and canon. Men in blue and grey uniforms were on the open field and along the edge of the forest. Some were in the cornfield. Each side’s banners were flying high in the sky. Volleys of fire coming at times from each side, so many bullets were flying through the air, men’s bodies fell in pieces to the ground. The grass was red with blood and bodies were everywhere, so many lying still. Men screaming in pain and agony, some were wishing for their final moment on earth.
Ankure was trembling and tears were streaming down his face. He had not understood wholly what Ataya had meant; of being sure he wanted to see what he had seen until now. It was more than Ankure had expected, nor could he bear anymore now. Ankur was saying, “stop, stop, I must stop,” as he let go of Ataya’s limb. He sat with his hands clasping his head, gently rocking back and forth. He would not soon forget this trip down memory lane.