Apache Song…

May 19, 2009 by  
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Now you will feel no rain,

for each of you will be a shelter to the other.

Now you will feel no cold,

for each of you will be warmth to the other.

Now there is no loneliness for you;

now there is no more loneliness.

Now you are two bodies,

but there is only one life before you.

Go now to your dwelling place,

to enter into your days together.

And may your days be good

and long on the earth.

Apache Song

translator unkown

This Apache song, which was presumably performed during the marriage ritual of this people, speaks of the union between two people in terms of necessity, harmony and cooperation. It implies a world that is indifferent and stark, a human experience whose exposure instills a perpetual state of longing, prior to the transformation that marriage will bring. Its directness and austerity are what one might expect from a warrior culture. The over-riding sense of this song however, is one of softness, and of aspiration for a gentler experience of the earth. It sings of a vision and a yearning for a more nurturing arrangement of human existence, in all its affairs. The universality of such an aspiration is that much more evident in a song that derives from a culture as renowned for its resilience and toughness as the Apaches.

This song, and the hopefulness of which it sings, calls to mind a similar aspiration that I came across in Nelson Mandela’s autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom”. In it he tells of his deepest wish to have been allowed to live out his days peacefully, taking care of his family and of those he loved. Events and circumstances prevented him from living out this simple dream; the stature of his character and the magnitude of his actions in the face of immense oppression are a matter of historical and mythical record.

It has always seemed particularly poignant to me that a man whose greatness shines over an entire century would give voice to such a simple, humble, and entirely natural set of expectations for the course he wished his life to take. There is something that seems slightly incompatible, even contradictory about a character capable of transforming an entire society, whose heart’s desire involves nothing more than the realization of domestic tranquility. Perhaps though, this is where the real base of power lies: in the simple, human aspiration to find love and happiness within the secure borders of home and family.

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  • Winsor Pilates

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