On arrival in the American Outback I was warned.
“ Beware of the red man.”
“ He is a lazy drunk.”
“A dishonest gambler.”
“And makes an unworthy neighbor.”
In the late summer heat of a state fair,
I discovered an expansive white tent.
A native greeted me with respect at the entrance.
He granted my children each a small gift,
and invited us to watch a performance.
I warily seated my family on folding chairs.
The floor beneath us piled with fresh straw.
A handful of locals drifted in from distracted crowds.
The din of the tractor pulls, cattle auctions,
and singing celebrity impersonators carried under canvas.
Moccasins ushered in a distinctive young woman,
wearing a deer skin vest fringed with tiny beads,
an outfit untouched by machine.
Her long black hair brushed to a single braid,
hung perfectly on her proud back.
She summoned a hand carved wooden flute
from her pack, and lifted the object to trained lips.
Slow, haunting notes ran together without seam,
falling like dry, colorless leaves upon sacred ground.
The tone, somber yet peaceful, filled the still air.
A conveyance of subjugated emotion sprung forth,
from a language untranslated yet comprehended.
The sorrows of centuries washed into my blood.
No longer did I sit at a common fair.
The melancholy song of the native maiden had transported all.
The seeds of iniquity, spread by the winds of fear,
washed from my being. Mystically cleansed,
by music from a pure source.
This native woman had cast a spell.
The prison of ignorance crumbled before me.