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Byron W Scott
PO Box 626
Mt Enterprise, TX 75681 903-822-3881 Hm
936-564-8348 Wk
sctt450@yahoo.com
26,617 words

THE SONGS FROM LONG ROAD

 

by Byron W Scott Forward

 

And editor once asked me about the title of this book. “The Songs part is self evident,”

 

she said, “but what exactly is meant by ‘Long Road?’”

 

The American Indians had a term for this existence of ours. They called it the Road of

 

Life. I find it to be an apt analogy, for along that road we find unimpeded straight-aways,

 

twists and turns, bumps, detours, and dead-ends. The term applies not only to the life of

 

the individual, but to generation after generation. From the dawn of human history, it has

 

indeed been a Long Road. Of course, there is more to it than that.

 

Mesoamerica stretches from northern Honduras and El Salvador up through Guatemala,

 

Belize and Mexico and into the four corners area of the United States. Each Indian tribe

 

will insist that it has developed its own unique culture, but there are certain myths,

 

legends and beliefs that seemed to span the entire region. One of those myths is the pre

 

Columbian belief that a bearded white man once lived with the Indians and then left them

 

and headed for the East. According to the legend, he would one day return to reunite the

 

two great peoples; the red man and the white. The Maya called this man Kukulcan; the

 

Aztecs and Toltecs called him Quetzalcoatl, the “feathered serpent.” The prophesied date

 

for his return in the Aztec calendar was Ce Acatl, which corresponds to the Christian year

 

1519, the year that Hernan Cortes appeared off the coast of Mexico. The Spaniards

 

destroyed nearly everything during the Conquest, and so very little remains of those

 

legends from the “high cultures”. But thanks to Frank Waters, who wrote The Book of

 

the Hopi, we have a compelling and comprehensive version of their legend—the Hopi

 

Pahana.

 

The prophesied date of Pahana’s return was the same as Quetzalcoatl’s. According to the

 

myth, if he did not return on that date, it would be hundreds of years before his arrival.

 

And that makes a very long road to walk. The Songs from Long Road is an attempt to incorporate this legend into the historical

 

perspective.

 

Prologue

 

If you happen to meet a mahu along your Road, you should stop and visit for a while.

 

There’s no telling what you might learn. Part 1

 

Hey guys,

 

It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally finished the Songs from Long Road. I’ve

 

divided the text into three parts because there are three CD’s. There are also three main

 

categories to the songs: history, American Indian mythology, and personal subjectivity.

 

There’s probably a little bit too much of the latter category, but I’ll let you decide about

 

that. The best place to start in any book about history is in the present. Why? Because that’s

 

where the readers are, of course.

 

I hope you enjoy the lyrics.

 

Something Good

 

I’ve been leafing through some books of history

 

There have been some sad events in our history

 

Recall the Trail of Tears of the Cherokee

 

Or down in Selma, Alabama before Martin Luther King

 

There have been some sad, sad moments in our history

 

Too many broken treaties, too many lies

 

Too much aggression to rationalize

 

Too many broken treaties, too many lies Too much racism to ever justify

 

But hey!

 

Got something good to say about the USA

 

Hey! There’s plenty good to say about the USA

 

I’ve got the freedom to learn

 

Got the freedom to turn my own page

 

I’ve got the freedom to fall in love and raise a family

 

Or to follow my heart, wherever that may lead

 

And hey! That’s always good to say about the USA

 

Hey! There’s plenty good to say about the USA

 

I’ve got the freedom to roam

 

Got the freedom to be my own man

 

I’ve got the freedom to launch myself upon this journey

 

It’s a varied landscape filled with mysteries

 

The people are friendly if you follow their laws

 

And take their attitudes with a grain of salt

 

You’ll find many good people who are going your way

 

There might be clouds in the sky, but it’s a sunny day

 

And hey! That’s mighty good to say about the USA

 

U S A Western expansion played a major role in the early history of the United States. Circa

 

1865, Horace Greeley advised “Go West, young man!” And that statement reverberated

 

throughout this country for almost a hundred and fifty years. Gold had already been

 

discovered in California, and also in the Black Hills of North Dakota. For westward

 

expansion, there would be no holding back. No gold would ever be discovered in the

 

Ozark Mountains, but who knew at the time.

 

Buffalo River 1886

 

Ozark Mountains called to me I heard it in the wind back in Tennessee

 

I found a job in the mines here in 1880

 

Knew there’d be a pot of gold waiting on me

 

Ozark Mountains, haunting me

 

It’s been years since they chased out the Cherokee

 

Now I’ve got a home in the glade and a family

 

And that pot of gold is still waiting on me

 

And I’m going up to Boxley when the dogwoods bloom

 

The river will be rising, going to float my canoe

 

Some folks think me loco, some think me brave

 

Past Ponca and Pruitt, going to ride those white waves

 

Buffalo River calls to me

 

Got a date in the morning with my family

 

Take my boy for a swim at the mouth of Rush Creek

 

Explore the limestone bluffs with the cedar trees

 

Buffalo River, haunting me

 

From deep in the mines I hear it call to me

 

The only pot of gold I’ll ever see

 

Is my love for these hills and my family And I’m going up to Boxley when the dogwoods bloom

 

The river will be raging, going to float my canoe

 

Past Hemmed-In-Hollow and Indian Creek

 

Floating that whitewater is a challenge to me

 

Going up to Boxley when the dogwoods bloom

 

The river will be dancing, going to float my canoe

 

Past Big Bear Cave, through Longbottom Hole

 

I’ll be rounding Toney Bend, down Clabber Creek shoal

 

Going up to Boxley when the dogwoods bloom

 

The river will be rising, going to float my canoe

 

Past Cow House Eddy, past Leatherwood Creek

 

Floating that clear water is a pleasure to me During the winter of 1874, General Ranald McKenzie and the US Cavalry caught the

 

Comanche and Kiowa Indians napping in Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle. The

 

ensuing slaughter was not pretty. Needless to say, not everybody on the American

 

continent was thrilled with the westward expansion of the white man.

 

Comanche 1874

 

Whiteface are done fighting each other

 

Now the bluecoats come in force They’ve killed our horses, burned our winter stores

 

We should have foreseen these acts of war

 

These northern gales blow fierce and cold

 

They paralyze these high plains

 

My people are scattered, hungry and bare

 

I curse the white demons who put us here

 

We’ve learned we can never trust their word

 

They speak with two hearts, truth unheard

 

This prairie will never be the same

 

Its’ life is fading, it’s starting to change

 

They’re killing all the buffalo on the plains

 

And now they want to move us far away

 

To Oklahoma and the reservation

 

But the Clearfork and caprock are my home

 

Brother coyote speaks to me

 

He tells me of the death of my family

 

Eagle spirit mourns with me

 

I need the plains and the sky And I need to roam free

 

The pueblos and people west on the mesas

 

Wouldn’t want us there at all

 

Although they look to be the same as us

 

They never did come across from the North

 

They still await Pahana, their white friend

 

He’s awfully late; he must have lost his way

 

He left ages ago, will he ever return?

 

Is there a lesson here that we must learn?

 

Whiteface are strange in their beliefs

 

They kill and steal, lie and cheat

 

They don’t take their Lord very seriously

 

They don’t believe they’ll have to answer for their deeds

 

But their medicine is strong, I believe they’ll win

 

Don’t believe one of them could ever be my friend

 

These high plains winds come whispering

 

Oklahoma sounds like death to me Bother coyote speaks to me

 

He tells me of the death of my family

 

Eagle spirit soars with me

 

I need the plains and the sky

 

And I need to roam free Today we’ll keep sliding back in time. This song takes place just before the Conquest.

 

Strange things are happening in Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital. Moctezuma, the Aztec

 

Emperor, is becoming worried. The year of Ce Acatl is approaching.

 

I can’t take full credit for this song. Most of the sentences came from two sources; Great

 

River and Conquistadors, both written by Paul Horgan. This man could make absolute

 

poetry out of history. I merely did a little paraphrasing, rearranged a few words and put

 

them to a melody.

 

Portents 1517 Lake Texcoco unexpectedly

 

Rose up one day and flooded the city

 

A comet fell to Earth in the middle of the day

 

It divided into three, spread from west to east

 

Omens and portents keep happening

 

They fuel seeds of doubt

 

They startle the city

 

Here at Tenochtitlan

 

Does it augur the end?

 

A fiery tongue in the night time sky

 

Would vanish at dawn, but for a year it went on

 

A fire broke out in the Temple of War

 

Burned it to the ground, we could not put it out

 

Serpent Woman roaming the streets at night

 

An Earth Goddess moaning, I hear her cries of fright

 

Wailing, “We are about to go, oh my sons

 

Whither can I lead you, my beloved ones?

 

Our fate is approaching, we’re about to go And I can’t find the door, can’t see to lead you!”

 

Ambassadors bring me news of white men

 

“Gods or men?” they can’t answer my question

 

There are people dying out in the Yucatan

 

A mysterious disease, they say it spoils the skin

 

Omens and portents keep happening

 

They fuel seeds of doubt

 

They startle the city

 

Wait for Ce Acatl

 

Look for Quetzalcoatl

 

An ash gray crane, a mirror in its head

 

Was brought before me in my royal palace

 

Peering into it I saw warriors on “deer”

 

A prophesy of doom, it heightened my fear

 

Serpent Woman roaming the streets at night

 

An Earth Goddess moaning, I hear her cries of fright

 

Wailing, “We are about to go, oh my sons

 

Whither can I lead you, my beloved ones? Our fate is approaching, we’re about to go

 

And I can’t find the door, can’t see to lead you!” As we go further back in history, we enter the realm of American Indian mythology. You

 

may have noticed a couple of names in the last two songs; Quetzalcoatl, from Portents,

 

and Pahana, from Comanche. The myth that a bearded white man would some day return

 

to set things right and reunite two great peoples was widespread throughout

 

Mesoamerica. As I have already pointed out, the most dynamic of these myths belong to

 

the Hopi Indians of NE Arizona. The Hopi possess four stone tablets that they’ve had for

 

hundreds of years; their Creation Tablets. According to the legend, the corner of one of

 

those tablets was broken off and given to Pahana, their white friend, so that when he

 

returned, there would be no mistaking his identity; Pahana will bring this stone piece with

 

him and the tablet will be made whole. The next few songs depict Pahana beginning his

 

journey. Time To Go 1388 BC

 

Brothers, fare you well

 

I love you dearly, with

 

This land and all it is

 

We’ve journeyed far south

 

From tropical climes

 

Climbed mountains of snow, gazed on northern lights

 

But this desert is fine; we’re all of one mind

 

And so we’ll gather back here in another time

 

Brothers, fare you well

 

I wish you all the best and more

 

Now you go west while I head east

 

But I’ll be gone before you reach that shore

 

Keep good thoughts, bring the rain

 

Grow your corn, harvest your game

 

Creator tells me it’s time to go

 

Old man nods, I think he knows I’ve been taking my time, been going too slow

 

Old man tells me he don’t know why

 

But if I rest more than twice

 

Things won’t go right

 

He says not to linger, to leave today

 

Say my good-byes and be on my way

 

Life fire planted like a seed

 

It grew into us, and now we see

 

That it’s a wonderful world

 

You gave us much more than we need

 

Lord you made it all so beautiful

 

Will we be able to keep our spirit true?

 

You gave us color and depth and solidity

 

I’m going to be hard pressed

 

To keep from pleasing only me

 

Brothers, fare you well

 

Creator tells me it’s time to go

 

He gives me this stone, sends me alone

 

And says when I return to this land

 

To grasp that hand, welcome home

 

Old man smiles and pats me on my back He says he’ll remember me when I come back

 

I know I’ll remember him when I come back Legacy 1387 BC

 

I came to the purple light, it beckoned me

 

Back to the Fourth World on awakening

 

The day is dawning, it’s refreshing me

 

The Sun is rising, He’s telling me

 

That there’s one more mountain range

 

Before the plains

 

I’m feeling good, I’m on my way again

 

I’m going to leave this desert far behind

 

My load’s been lightened Should be making good time

 

Been two days gone from that great river I crossed

 

The people I’ve met have been

 

Scattered and lost

 

Creator said that it would be best

 

If I stopped a second time to take my rest

 

Through sand He led me to these hills

 

I found a spotted earthen jar where I could quench my thirst

 

Then deep in the canyon I placed my stone

 

Leaving it there burns deep in my bones

 

One day one with insight will carry it home

 

And together with the Keepers make the tablet whole

 

This world is boundless, broad and deep

 

But the essence of this life isn’t hidden from me

 

If I keep my door open

 

I can see the mysteries

 

Snatch the magic from both sides

 

Affect reality

 

I’ve passed through the purple light, it beckoned me Back to the Fourth World on awakening

 

The day is dawning, it’s refreshing me

 

The Sun is rising, He’s telling me

 

That there’s one more mountain range

 

Before the plains

 

I’m feeling good, I’m on my way again

 

Going to leave this desert far behind

 

My load’s been lightened

 

Should be making good time Sun Father

 

Father sun your light shines on me

 

And this good Earth sings and grows

 

The clear brook laughs and glows

 

Will the land and sky always

 

Carry your message to me?

 

Father Sun your flame leaps in me

 

You are the sparkle in my eyes