ETERNITY  [HUNTER BEAR  APRIL 19 2006]

"You're wired not to know fear," said my oldest son, John [Beba], a few days
ago during a long phone talk. "You were born that way."

He's right. And I have heard essentially that from many people over many
decades.  I have never known fear and thus cannot claim courage.  But, if
not born with the qualities of visceral fear, I do have -- in addition to a
very helpful high pain threshold -- reasonably good logical and intuitive
faculties.  These enable me to spot danger, quickly formulate appropriate
preventative approaches -- and, if necessary, combative strategies. I do
like to think the same qualities were held by our Ancestor, Hatchioraquasha
[John Gray], who so effectively fought the Brit fur companies and grizzly
bears as well.

This Lupus Thing [systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE] has, of course, been
a major struggle and a critical test.  It's attacked much of me and it is,
frankly, relentless.  The occasion for John's foregoing comment was yet one
more of now countless tests of many kinds to determine the whereabouts of my
mortal and eclectic adversary.  This one involved waiting for the results of
a blood test to determine the extent of kidney erosion -- a little of which
had shown on a previous test.  When, after the "turnaround time" of about
three days, there was no call of alarm from the medics, it meant that, at
this point, things are comparatively -- comparatively -- OK on that
particular organ front.  But I have been extremely tired lately and there
have been some other signs of internal subversion.  Unlike a new friend who
is presently at Johns Hopkins, SLE has not successfully invaded my brain and
threatened my mind.

In his massive compendium of medical essays, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
[1343 pages], published most recently in 2004, the quite capable editor,
Professor Robert G. Lahita, sets out by referring to SLE as "a deadly
disease."

But I can be deadly, too.

And, through all of these things, Lupus and long, long before, I tend to
remain stoic, pokerfaced. [This was always somewhat disconcerting to Foes --
e.g., K-12 teachers and hostile cops.]

Time, as I am prone to say, runs away like a jackrabbit.  I am speeding up
my autobiographical writing.  Some stuff I post fairly broadly, some goes
only to our huge Lair of Hunterbear website, some remains private for the
foreseeable future.  [I have no assurances of a publisher, but I keep
writing.]

I do tend to be reticent about some dimensions of my personal past:  things
of which I never talk even though, by all reasonable cultural standards, I
handled those matters with capability and honor.  I may -- barely -- touch
the edges of those things but only to illustrate a more enduring
contemporary point.

I have been privileged with many confidences in my long life so far -- and I
keep every single one of them. I should add as well that I will not waste
time on personal attacks on old enemies even though I have no use for
sanctimonious conniving and it's difficult for me to muster forgiveness in
matters of treachery.

Basically, that which I write has a strong consistent social justice
focus -- with selected personal asides as these episodes have shaped my life
and focus.

As a boy, I shot my huge Coming of Age Bear -- deep in the vast and
beautiful Sycamore Canyon wilderness area in Northern Arizona.  At that
point, I then became a man.  The fiery spirit of the Bear and its abundantly
fine qualities -- intelligence, courage, stamina, instinct -- are with me
always and have consistently served me very well and faithfully on my swift
and rocky and sometimes sanguinary River of No Return.  His physical skull,
with appropriate feathers, is always close at hand.

I plan to do much more in my life -- much more indeed -- before the eventual
trip into the Fog and Deep Canyon, up over the High Mountains, and Far
Beyond to the Shining Sun in the Turquoise Sky that glows forever down on
the Headwaters of Life.  And when that Journey finally comes, the great Bear
will accompany me.

Life is a Great Circle. The leaves fall but one's personality lives and
comes ever yet again.  And even though much of the basic situational
geography will be similar, there are of course new vistas abounding, new
rivers to cross, new mountains to climb.  New challenges.  New growth.

From Virgil, translated by F.W.H. Myers in his "Essay on Virgil" [Classical
Essays]:

"And last to Lethe's stream on the ordered day,
 These all God summoneth in great array;
 Who from that draught reborn, no more shall know
 Memory of past or dread of destined woe,
 But all shall there the ancient pain forgive,
 Forget their life, and will again to live."

I have that Will to Live.  And so do we all.

Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR]   Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

COMMENT:

FROM PETER SALTER [MACK]:

That's beautiful, Pop. Stirring. Inspirtational. I read it three times. I
have a couple of favorite lines. And the irony here is that one my biggest
fears (I don't have that many) is the quick passage of time. I awoke
yesterday with an alarming thought: Today my son turns 18, the same age I
was when I had him. So the jackrabbit thing hit home.

Anyway, if you ever need an editor for your autobiography, I'd be happy to
help. You know we work so well together and those types of things.

Later [Peter]
 
 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

FROM JOHN SALTER:

 

Ah yes, I also suggested you had never admitted to being wrong, to which you replied that you'd never been wrong.  So despite the Lupus, your spirit remains intact.

I also told you I didn't know how you managed to remain pretty optimistic despite being essentially shackled by this disease.  I think many of us would have been broken by now.  I had a terrible bacterial infection for a few weeks and almost gave up!

I've been looking at the broader issue of how someone like you, who has sacrificed and literally bled for others, has been rewarded with this unimaginable suffering.  All I can come up with is that there must be some meaning in it, perhaps a meaning that will not be clear for some time.  But I'm pissed off at God about it.  My little son keeps a picture of you getting your head bashed in by Jackson cops.  And this is the thanks you get?  You'll go to your grave having never even owned a new sofa.

If anyone would like to weigh in on the nature/meaning of suffering I'd like to hear what you have to say. 

Keep up the fight, HB.

JS

______________________________________________________________________________________________________
 

FROM EDWARD PICKERSGILL:

New sofas just do not make sense in the territory poppa has travelled. There is that unfamiliar sadness watching the first stains appear... a sense of longing for that future time in which comfort does not take so long to develop. The time that must be invested in looking after a new sofa is time taken away from all the other things. The reluctance to have a sofa on which one cannot sit if bleeding or just plain dusty would likely be an unwelcome burden. And, I suspect, it's likely that there'd be a hesiation to engage in what other new things would likely be required to go along with the new sofa.... one path just does not include new sofas and that is not a criticism of those who have new sofas on their path; just a fact.

  Edward, respectfully

____________________________________________________________________________
 

FROM CORNET JOYCE;

 
I've never owned a new couch or for that matter a single piece of new
furniture.  I  did have a new car once and  a lady  smashed into it in a
parking lot when it was 3 days old.
As for the meaning of suffering, I only know what I read in the
classics. However, I observe that many suffered horribly to give us the
modest liberty we had, and few of their ghosts get any gratitude. So I
would say that the worst suffering is knowing that the fruit of all the
pain and sacrifice of the best people falls into the hands of
uncomprehending twerps who will always toss it away with a giggle.- CJ

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
 

FROM SAM FRIEDMAN:

 
 I would add one thing.  Taking part in the movement is enormously fun
and rewarding.  You make good friends, you plan interesting actions,
and in lots of ways there is fun and joy.  Of course, getting hit
hurts, as do the serious injries and the deaths of friends.  But in
many cases, the deaths and injuries to others would have happened
anyrway, and those of us who feel the pain of the suffering would feel
that pain.  Thus, blessed are those who are in the movement...and I
pity those who do not take part.

best
sam

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
 

FROM KATHY MARDEN:

Dear Hunter,

 
     It was good to hear from you, as always.  I regret to hear that Lupus is zapping your energy again.  The autoimmune diseases seem to wax and wane, but each time that they rear their ugly head, the downward turn is disheartening.  I hope that this episode is short and not significant. 
     I have nearly finished my book about Betty and Barney.  It separates the truth from the fiction and disinformation that has grown up around the case over the past 45 years.  It also contains new information that remained secret until Betty gave me permission to release it after her death.  I wrote this book in cooperation with Betty.  She supplied the letters, interviews and memoirs that I used as a foundation for my literary effort.  I know that she would be pleased with it.
     Take care.
 
Best regards,
 
Kathy

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FROM GLORIA CLARK:

Yes, I understand what it is to be fearless, as I have also been
described by others in this manner.  I am sorry you have lupus.  I know
what it is; my cousin has it.  She finds the climate in Arizona amenable.
"It's not that I am afraid to die.  I just don't want to be around when
it happens."  Woody Allen

All the best,
Gloria Clark

___________________________________________________________________________________

FROM ROBERT LIVINGSTON:
 
Dear Hunter--

Thank you for sending me this note to bring me up to date.

I am glad that you are hanging in there-- and have the spirit to keep up
with your correspondence. . .
 
R.L.
 
____________________________________________________________________
 
FROM MARY ANN HALL:
 
Hi,
I pray that you're ok. When I didn't see anything on my e-mail from you last weekend,
I wondered if you were ok . If anyone can beat back that monster , it's you.
You continue to write so beautifully . I can visualize the mountains, rivers, turquoise skies, bears, etc. Keep on keeping on.
Love and regards to Mrs. S.  and the clan.
 
WWW, [Note by Hunter:  WWW -- We Shall Win -- is our old Jackson Movement battle cry.]
Mary Ann

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STEVE ROSSIGNOL WRITES:

Hello Hunterbear--

Keep up your writing!  I am happy to see the posts crank out!

I am looking forward to your autobio when you get it published.  Of course,
I will want an autographed copy!

best wishes and solidarity,

Steve Rossignol

 

 

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR]   Mi'kmaq /St. Francis
Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

 
Honored with The Elder Recognition Award by Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers: http://www.hunterbear.org/elder_recognition_award_for_2005.htm
 
In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]
 

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