Saturday, January 06, 2007

I just looked up from the computer screen after noticing that dawn (or the closest we'll see today) had arrived. With it, not ten paces from my nose, were five full-sized wild turkeys, hunting and pecking with one eye, and giving me the other.

Now, turkeys are interactive, but in a very limited fashion. You move. They notice. They trot away. Or, if you have a shotgun, you move, and then you have dinner. (Full disclosure: I've never shot anything not made of clay.) So why bring them up here?

History doesn't make any sense if all it is but names of personages, shifting maps, and themes like reconstruction and manifest destiny. It makes no sense if you can't feel for people for whom a wild turkey covers several much needed meals, and may not be very easy to come by.

We promised the other day to look more at storytelling. Turkeys and deer and wild berries and sparse plots of hand-tilled corn, beaver pelts and buffalo tallow should play a large part in those stories, as they played such a large part of the daily lives of the very real people behind the events of history.

No comments: