It continue getting wet and less sun as the ride took me across California to Oregon state. Cold weather in one side it not such fun especial when you wake up and it 8-10 celsius wind, cold and rain. Start by straggling with cold lighters, then make oat meal which get cold quick and full of rain drops. Packing with rain, the wet things add bit of weight. Even with rain gears on you will still get wet some how. In such mornings the cold get on my fingers and chew my ear and cheeks, wind push it on the chest, there it get serious problem. When this situation goes for days, it when come the time to find another motivation to get out of such warm sleeping bag, I just sleep and count the rain drops. Thanks to Bear River hotel for put me up in their five star room, I didn’t want to leave. Jerry you were so kind to help me dry up my things and give us place to you are warm house.
On the other side, the cold weather it so awaken, make me pedal quick to generate heat so I can stay warm. Cycling with rain without wind which block you are vision it kind of different feelings,it has some sensation but often does not stay long. Cycling in Oregon coast in particular, it such a pleasant ride. The pine, cypress tress with hanging moss plants with such lush green on the moist it so calming. The strong waves ragged coast when it get clear it offers an amazing scene as the road wind along. Most of the time the coast with it bay and caps are in mist. Sometime there are creaks and rivers which run along the road, these places has bit of diversity, some flowering plants. The most colorful plant which make some places real picturesque is oak trees with their multicolor leaves in the moist it a wonderful place to pass through. There is also some lakes with picnic area, in the clear day I wish there was camping place.
Just like north California, the town here are pretty small some for summer homes. I encounter majority old retired people living in this towns. People here has particular talk for food, the way they explain and make food it sound delicious and an art for preparation hence awake uptight. Also people like to eat out, in the morning hours going through these towns I pass some family oriented cafes which seem to be quit popular. In most cases there are people in the queue waiting to go in, it cold outside but people they are patient waiting. I one point I stop for coffee, out of curious I ask about this kind of breakfast; I end up offered what called ‘Original German’. A small slices of boiled then fried potatoes, they fried them with tomatoes, onion, butter, mix with cheers then put eggs on top. This come with molasses bread which you can apply map syrup and again butter. This was half oder full order comes with chains of other things, beacons and what not!
Again cycling in Oregon, I’m taken back to history with some of historical fact on the road side. The exploration of this coast, the culture conflicts which lead to war with indigenous indians. This region it seem to be dense forest back in those days but the lumber industry has made it effect hence the name of Portland “Stump town”. It seem like we still lean in the hard ways, among of the state I visited Oregon it such a different one. There is lots of state parks, again offer an amazing natural experience to awake our awareness about our natural world. Portland city seem to take total different growth compare to other cities. The city seem to be compact with good links of public transport. The most fascinating thing is bicycle culture, as I cross from California things start to change, there are more signs alerting drives about cyclist. The city of Portland has link of bike lane pretty much everywhere, I had less challenge crossing the city. Also the number of bike commuter it looks like approaching Arusha’s number :), here I meet people who doesn’t need to drive at all! There is also good number of home made bikes, it just inspiring situation.
As I mention in the last blog, I found this speech of Chief Seattle (Si’ahl),(some of you may know this), this is argue for ecology conservation he also speak of great connect they had with their surrounding environment and what they feel about invasion and advance development. I believe there was no one perfect and still no. But consider my experience and my childhood experience I think primitive life has great link with their surrounding so they lived such a balance. The people of foothills of Kilimanjaro, they were told that the mountain isn’t holly and soon they start deforestation, it also the same thing we are facing today ‘how can the paved road across Serengeti National Park can be important than life of; elephants, wildebeests, hyenas, dick dicks, and so much more? I don’t say we shouldn’t have roads, quality life or go back to 1840’s but we should find better ways with respect of our natural world.
The Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. The Great Chief also send words of his friendship and good will. This is kind of him, since we know he has little need of our friendship in return. But we will consider your offer. For we know that if we do not sell, the white man may come with guns and take our lands.
How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The ideal is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of water, how can you buy them?
Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shine pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing, and humming insects is holly in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memory of red man. The white man’s dead forget the county of their birth when they go to work among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man. We are part of the earth and it part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man-all belong to the same family. So, when the GreatChief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land, he asks much of us.
The Great Chief send his word he will reserve us a place so that we can lie comfortably to ourself. He will be our father and we will be his children. So we will consider your offer to buy our land. But it will not be ease. For this land is sacred to us. The shining water which moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you land, you must consider it scared, and you must teach you are children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people.
The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father. The rivers are our brothers, they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes and feed our children. If we sell you our land you must remember, and teach your children, that the rivers are our brothers and yours. And you must henceforth give the rivers the kindness you would give to you are brother. The red man has always retreated before the advancing white man, as the mist of the mountains runs before the morning sun. But the ashes of our fathers are sacred. Their graves are holly ground, and so these hills, these trees, this portion of the earth is consecrated to us. We know that white man does not understand our ways.
One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is the stranger who come in the night, and take from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his father’s grave’s graves behind. His futher’s grave and his children birthright are forgotten. He He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought and leaves behind only desert. I do not know why. Our ways are different from you are ways. The sight of you are cities pain the eyes of red man. But perhaps it is because the red man is savage and does not understand.
There is no quiet places in the white man’s cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring or the rustle of insect’s wings. But perhaps it is because I am a savage and I do not understand. The clatter only seems to insult the ears.
And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or arguments of the frogs around a pond at night? I am a red man and do not understand.
The Indian prefer the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of a pond, and the smell of the wind itself, cleansed by midday rain or scented with the pinion pine. The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath. The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes. Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to stench.
But if we sell you our land, you must remember that the air is precious to us, that the air share it spirit with life it supports. The wind that give our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh. And f we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where even the white man can go to test the wind that is sweetened by the meadow’s flowers.
So we will consider your offer to buy our land. If we decide to accept, I will make one condition: the white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers. I am a savage and do not understand any other way. I have seen thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie, left by white man who shot them from passing train. I am savage and I do not understand how the smoking iron horse can be more important than the buffaloes that we kill only to stay alive. What is a man without a beasts ? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happen to a man. All things are connected. You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell you are children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befall the son of the earth. If man spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves. This we know.
All things are connected like the blood which unites the family. All things are connected. Whatever befall the earth, befall the son and daughter of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life, he is ,merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself. But we will consider your offer to go to the reservation you have for my people. We will leave apart and in peace. It matters little where we spend the rest of our days. Our children have seen their fathers humble in defeat. Our worries have felt shame, and after defeat they turn their days in idleness and contaminate their bodies with sweet foods and strong drink. It matter little where we spend the rest of our days. They are not many. A few more hours, a few more winters, and none of the children of the great tribe that once lived on this earth or in that roam it now in small bands in the woods will be left to mourn the graves of a people once as powerful as hopeful as yours. But why should I mourn the passing of my people ? Tribe are made of man, northing more. Men came and go, like the waves of the sea. Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend, shall see. One thing we know, which white man may one day discover- our God is the same God. You may think now that you own him as you wish to own our land, but you cannot.
Chief Seattle 1854.