Once in his life a man ought to concentrate his mind upon the remembered earth, I believe.  He ought to give himself up to a particular landscape in his experience, to look at it from as many angles as he can, to wonder about it, to dwell upon it.  He ought to imagine that he touches it with his hands at every season and listens to the sounds that are made upon it.  He ought to imagine the creatures there and all the faintest motions of the wind.  He ought to recollect  the glare of noon and all the colors of the dawn and dusk.

The above quote is from N. Scott Momaday’s book, The Way to Rainy Mountain.  We read the book this week for my English class.  My English class is about American literature and culture, with a focus on borders and homelands.  The majority of the authors of our readings are Native and most of the readings are about the American West.  Momaday is Kiowa.

I found this quote particularly intriguing.  We spent a little time unpacking and analyzing  it in class and I just wanted to share that interpretation.  The quote as a whole can be viewed as a meditation on landscape.  There is an interconnection between person and place.  People participate in place.  The phrase “remembered earth” gives the reader a sense that the author is claiming some kind of ownership even if they no longer live there.  There is also a moral imperative in this quote.  He uses the word “ought” five times.  He wants the reader to do something, to participate in the world around them.

All this leads me to a few questions: What is homeland?  Is it something transferable, imaginable, practiced, or processional?  How do you view, interact with, or remember landscape?  Is there a particular place that you think of as “home?”

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