Trails of Tears

by Tim Mossholder

Photo by Tim Mossholder

Last month me and Dawn spent a few days in one of my favorite places. I was able to introduce her to Portland. We visited the spots I wanted to see with her.

We walked in the cold rain around Pittock Mansion and drove through several sprawling gardens, getting lost for a while or finding some place based upon my memory from the last time I was in town 2 years ago.

We ate well, having our first meal in a pod, outside, and complained not once the food was so good. Well, Dawn complained about one meal, but that wasn’t bad odds for the four days.

There was the Multnomah falls and all the other falls along the historic highway. We took pictures. We talked. And we both noticed how unseen the native (American) influence was.

I hadn’t expected it, but we lamented how Portland with all its culture and local emphasis did not have an equally outstanding something marking the history of first peoples. Perhaps we had to get to the Tillamook this or that. Admittedly, we didn’t see everything. But we were aware of the absence of that part of the story.

It seems common that we don’t tell our full stories. Our personal stories, our communal stories, our national stories. Is it because telling the shinier parts is easier? And is it also still honest?

The victor gets to publish his account. The last one standing gets to record her recollections. The one with connections gets to edit the final draft.

I wonder how differently the world would look to us if we saw it from the underside, from more sides. Even in my remembering our trip, I don’t want to recall the tough talks between me and Dawn or the time I got lost when I was alone coming from downtown because I refused to use my phone. I’d rather recall the nicer parts. But I wonder how it would be to recall more or what happened.

What if our conversations kept going until we listened for the feelings under the words and not just the words themselves?

What if we didn’t end a meeting until we heard from every person, even if the participants passed on using the floor?

What if our theology and our ethics and just a tad of our governmental policies were written from and championed for those under the bottom?

What if we stayed until we heard more from more?

What if we walked through hard paths and beautiful paths?

What if we guarded one another along both cliffs of joy and trails of tears?


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