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History Lives Here Text

Dusk on Old Kalamazoo

Dusk on old Kalamazoo, dusk as dusk has always been.


Melancholy Kalamazoo. Reflections of light and shadow excite thememory.


Misty Kalamazoo, speaks from the ancient past to the present and longafter our time is through.


Timeless Kalamazoo, back when time was only time. Only the sun andmoon. Only the trees and the seasons. Only the ebb and flow. Ancient time whenthe river was much wider and deeper, as evident by the distant high banks leftby the receding river.


Probing Kalamazoo, perhaps disturbing ancient arrowheads or a tool cutfrom stone, an old chunk of lumber schooner or a blackened piece of bone. Andmaybe, they are equal to an old Bohemian beer bottle, some chunk of charredPavilion dock, a frayed woven basket handle or tongs that once carried the iceblock.


Genealogical Kalamazoo. Their heirs are chuckling and hiding in thereeds. No tepees or buckskins. No address or phone numbers, no way to contactthem at all, yet they are there by our endeavor to understand a past we do notknow.


Transcending Kalamazoo, to aspire to that which we do not know. Alwaysshrouded in the fears of mortality, never to be satisfied, always somethingmore, always better, a greater life somewhere else; a happy hunting ground, aperfect heaven.


The forgiving Kalamazoo, errors of cutting too much timber, dumping toomuch oil, resin and toxins, too much hunting and fishing. Yet wounded and a bitroughed up, she is still here with open arms marked by her beautiful swansswaying back and forth in elegant, remitting rhythms.


On the ancient Kalamazoo, the stillness of the nightshade is upon it.The river is under the tent. The leaves and lilies push their way to the shore.Water moves, words move, music moves. But only in time. Words after speech reachinto the silence.


Only by the form, the pattern can water, or words or music reach thestillness saying:


Before the beginningand after the end. And all is always now.

"That which is only living, can only die."


Moving perpetually in its stillness. Not the stillness of the violins,or the words or the last note. Not that only, but the co-existence. Or say thatthe end precedes the beginning. And the end and the beginning were alwaysthere. Before the beginning and after the end. And all is always now.


At times the river is strained cracked and sometimes broken under theburden, under the tension, slip, slide, perish. Decay with imprecision, willnot stay in place. Will not stay still.


Shrieking voices, scolding words, mocking music will sometimes assailher. She is most attacked by the voice of temptation, the voice of fear, thevoice of ignorance, all cowering in the shadows of selfish mortality.


The detail of the pattern is movement. Desire in itself is movement,not in itself desirable. Love is itself unmoving, only the cause and end ofmovement. Timeless and undesiring except in the concept of time. Caught in theform of limitations between un-being and being.


Then suddenly a shaft of moonlight exposes moving water of our dearKalamazoo, and gives rise to the memories of children's hidden laughter in thefoliage. At that moment, the still point where spirit transcends thought, it isclear that the end and the beginning were always there.


Before the beginning and after the end. And all is always now.


It is not the dance of the torch or the lull of the river. Not thestillness of the violins, or the last word or the last note, not that only, butthe co-existence that we celebrate.


Or say that the end precedes the beginning.

And the end and the beginning were always there.



RiverFire presentation by MichaelSweeney at the Heritage Festival, 2004.