Posts Tagged ‘Tobias Schneebaum’

The Tetons and the Snake River, Ansel Adams, 1942

The Tetons and the Snake River, Ansel Adams, 1942

Here he was, Yoreitone, my chief, sitting and telling me a story and looking at me with his one eye as he looked upon his family, his body full of gentleness, a finger now and then resting on my knee, and when he had finished the tale and sat there simply within the aura of its meaning, with no movement of any kind, it was as if he had opened his arms to welcome a child to his breast, and I cannot help but wonder who this man is, with his wrinkled face and eye that speaks to all of past and future, and I cannot help but wonder where within him lay the murder of that family that sent Wassen to the mission. Once, in childhood, an old man with a skull cap covering a bald patch, and a long grey beard with curls at its ends, used to sit at a kitchen table in the back of my father’s grocery store, teaching in Hebrew the Five Books of Moses. With each of my mistakes he cracked a thumb and finger on my head, and I left those books forever with no feeling for God, but only full of stories that talked of vengeance, hate, and war. Yoreitone, within my hearing, had not yet talked of death or war, but always he told of hunting trips for monkeys and birds, and other creatures that lived and stalked within the forest, tales of spirits that inhabited deer to feed the jaguar and therefore could not be tracked to kill, and tales that wandered in time and space and seemed to me no legend or symbol but did no more than tell of walks to new rivers and trees. Later, I asked Yoreitone what he thought of the white upon the mountains far in the distance, the mountains that could only be seen on the clearest of days, the mountains that reached up to twenty thousand feet and more. “Flowers,” he said. “They are white flowers.’

from Tobias Schneebaum’s Keep The River On Your Right

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