Writer's Desk, Window,
Lawn; Simple Things.
Layers of reality; a perspective in reflection; the ultimate significance of simple things.
Truth from the past growing into the future, this image says so much about the historic event that took place in Bancroft, NE on August 2nd, 2015.
The first Sunday in August is John G. Neihardt
Day in Nebraska, commemorating our Poet Laureate in Perpetuity. A ceremony is held every year at the John G. Neihardt State Historical Site in Bancroft. People gather on the grounds to picnic, enjoy music, peruse the museum and other features of this unique site. Neihardt's study is preserved on the grounds, his writing desk the subject of this photograph. The formal ceremony is staged in the Sacred Hoop Prayer Garden, observers clustering in the deepest shade of the trees.
This year marks the 50th Neihardt Day, and some special elements were included in the program. Living history interpreters Brad Kellogg and Raija Weiershauser performed John Neihardt and his wife Mona, exploring the remarkable story of their relationship.
Actor/Photographer James Storm traveled from California to donate an original Neihardt manuscript that he was given in 1961. As Storm relayed the events that brought him here, he looked a little like John Neihardt, wild hair and intense eyes. The manuscript, When the Tree Flowered, didn't look like much, a sheaf of papers in a decades-old cardboard box, but Storm held it lovingly and presented it with respectful gravity.
Coralie Hughes and Robin Neihardt, John Neihardt's Grandchildren, read aloud a description of heaven from The Cycle of the West. Many other descendants of John and Mona were in attendence.
Myron Pourier, Great-Great Grandson of Nicholas Black Elk, spoke about the current movement to change the name of Harney Peak in South Dakota to Black Elk Peak, Operation Mountain Name Change. Pourier, a veteran and family man, talked about his experiences with racism and shared a positive vision of empowerment. His story of prayer and humble persistence brought the participants back from the past, bearing messages for the future. Far from being a dead poet, John Neihardt's work still inspires us to strive for understanding and work for what is right.
As Pourier ended his words and prepared to step down, the Neihardt family intervened; they had something to give him.
Black Elk gave John Neihardt, whom he called Flaming Rainbow, a number of gifts. All but one are housed in the Neihardt Center; the other was passed down among John Neihardt's family. This year the family decided that it should be gifted to Black Elk's family. A Bow, Arrows with Bone points and Arrows with Metal points, were presented to Myron Pourier. An Honor Song by Jerome Kills Small was a satisfying resolution to Pourier's suprise and the awe of the crowd, giving time for hugs and handshakes, to wipe a few tears, and just feel the moment together.
According to tradition, the ceremony came to an end with a recording of John Neihardt, reciting Black Elk's Prayer.
Layers of reality, a perspective in reflection, the ultimate significance of simple things.
Writer's Desk: Window.