THE SOUL OF BLACK LAND
Episode One: Time to Make Our Way
The Story is: (John is his name. He doesn’t even know if he has a middle or last name. John is the son of his slave mother who got pregnant with another Black slave she loved before she was sold to another plantation. John is nearly two times ten now and he has something planned. The year is 1843. A year that will not be like all the rest of his years. You see John is fair skinned which has afforded him many advantages. The master’s son and daughter liked him so much they began to see something they lacked under their father and subservient mother. It was defiance. A defiance that was laced with strength. Cleavur (pronounced ‘Cleavor’) and Lissqui (pronounced ‘Lis qu’) Munornado. Their father thought it would distinguish his family from all the run of the mill families slaughtering their slaves.
John, Cleavur and Lissqui played together. They began to understand what it meant to need another person. This led the master’s children to teach John how to read, write and add things up if he needed. John would share some of the things he learned. Things only a slave understood. John showed Cleavur and Lissqui how to manipulate others. Not that stupid technique of thinking you got something from somebody they were already going to give to you. John taught them to read a person and think beyond what’s in front of you to see the outcome before you open your mouth. This would serve all three of them well on their new adventure.
John didn’t have a choice. He needed help from somebody if he was going to make it to the starting line of his quest to go West. John wasn’t just a strong back and formidable presence to see to it that his master’s product was duly protected, cared and paid for. John also listened as the slave owners discussed what news was going around town about areas of America that were being opened to anyone willing to settle the land there. That’s where the idea was first born. John has spent many days and every moment he could laying on grass and filthy rags about the new Western frontier.
John was going to one day bend to his knees. Place both of his hands on the ground. On land that belonged to him.).
(This introduction is vital to the understanding of what these three people from two different ‘stations’ must discover about the world beyond what they have consumed so far. A pact must be entered into for their very survival depends on it. In the darkest times they surely know are coming, it means life or death. John cannot live with the ‘white mans name’ anymore. His mother whispered stories to him about the lands their ancestors walked upon in kinship to life. Lands that provided their food and housed their people.
His mother said they walked amongst lions without fear because they respected the contributions the lions must make to control other animals. So John couldn’t keep that name even if it meant an easier passage through to a prosperous future. John knew he had to do just honor to his ancestors to show his face to them upon giving up the ‘ghost’. ‘Dashurai Havein Hunavaelor’ pronounced ‘Da’sure’i Hav’Vien Hun’a’valor’. Yes his name means something now like it should or once did before his people were stolen. He will no longer use the name ‘John’ unless it was served in bringing forth ‘a means to an end’.
Dashurai knew a little something about ‘name calling’. It did make slaves angry and defensive which served the slave master only. ‘Go figure it out’ he told himself constantly. It served him well to include schooling him on how to build alliances. Friends he thought offered next to nothing when unsavory decisions had to be made. Alliances offered resources and rewards and Dashurai steadily made himself into the man he knew he must become. Physical strength was a resource to be deployed beyond intimidation. Intelligence was a resource that must be kept in the most sensitive manner possible.
Cleavur and Lissqui were his allies now. Allies were essential if this ‘ancestral’ bargain had any chance of paying off for all the parties to it. Dashurai, Cleavur, Lissqui. Let’s see how they navigated the obstacles that were boldly laid out before them to stay alive and achieve their desires.).
Dashurai: I don’t see any other way this is going to start for us.
Cleavur: By buying passage on a wagon train from here in Dumbassity Central, Kentucky to where now? Oh, to ‘Indian’ country full of land grabbing unwashed shit kickers.
Lissqui: Don’t you just love my brother Dashurai? I mean the names he comes up with ought to entertain us straight through to what area we heard it was again? ‘Shoshone’ country I heard.
Dashurai: I already hired on as a ‘wagon man’. It gives me cover to stay with you two. If there are other plans available I want to hear them?
Cleavur: Okay. I see it’s time to test out my skills. Sister we’re definitely not riding out West looking across at country bumpkins in front of us. Let’s ascertain which wagons the wealthy are riding shall we.
——————-The trail not so cleared——————-
(Well getting underway requires the expenditure of energy. That energy didn’t just come from the horses. It had to come from the men. Clearing the brush that covered a worn path was a constant chore. The wagon train traveled a few miles a day where it was possible. The markings on paper, a crude map, that supposed to resemble the area they had to travel was barely readable. The loosely followed rules used to apply to land boundaries and property markers were wholly useless for the journey that faced them.
Cleavur knew something about land and how to tell where ownership began and ended. He presented himself as studied in how to claim it, mark it and keep it. Cleavur plotted his importance to the wealthy amongst the travelers looking to capture a part of this new land for profit and longevity. He now felt fortunate that he, his sister and Dashurai consumed knowledge just like they consumed the air. Part of the pact they made was to share between each other everything they learned no matter if they thought what they learned was stupid.
‘Put it up’ knowledge, that’s the phrase they would say to each other. Boy they sure didn’t know then the crucial nature of teamwork times three. All three of them held each other to task. Nobody would be discarded no matter how serious the times would get. Three would succeed. That’s all they said. Three would succeed. Little did they truly understand about the power of ‘not failing the other two’ meant until they started facing difficult task after difficult task. That’s what cutting a trail through the obstacles meant. Small units mean large power and their mental power tells their legend. Here’s how it happened…..).
Cleavur: Mr. & Mrs. Vaterborne, this is an eventful start shall I say to a time that hopefully holds good promise of fortune for you. I signed onto this journey after hearing travelers such as yourselves were going out West. Skills I possess as a land surveyor with knowledge about how to settle boundaries should be valuable.
Mr. Vaterborne: My good man I trust you know things may not start so quickly. Making a name for yourself is the easy part. Making money is the tricky part and that may take longer than planned for if the proper components aren’t already in place.
Cleavur: I wouldn’t dare assume they are. Components I guess would be the ability to buy, sell or trade with others that have things of value available?
Mr. Vaterborne: Precisely my good man. You have a useful skill which means settlers will eventually seek out your services, but what are you going to do in the meantime? Town offices probably aren’t there where we’re going yet. Nobody to record land titles. What else you got?
Cleavur: Quite right. I already have connections with traders in built up areas close to the lands our new country is looking to open up for settlements. People are going to need things. Things not readily available. That’s the service I’m going to offer. I already have security personnel hired on for the jobs.
Mr. Vaterborne: Good. What’s your last name sir?
Cleavur: (That’s how you do it. Keep your cool though Cleavur, but that’s how you do it. Respect through legitimate commerce by legitimate means to make it happen.). Munornado. Mr. Cleavur Munornado.
——————–Get Onboard that Wagon Train—————–
(The communication between the 3 has to be naturally occurring. The words between Dashurai, Cleavur, and Lissqui must have combination properties that herald specific actions. Short words like ‘settle’ means settle for the answer or progress made and prepare for the next encounter whatever that may be. ‘Break’ means to table whatever is being worked on what’s being processed and hold fast where you left it. ‘Slave’ means that an encounter with someone from a ‘dumbassity central’ Southern State is showing his ‘intelligence’.
More to follow. As we go we learn is the name of this game. Cleavur recalls him and his sister tag teaming their father about a life away from home long before the Sun broke the sky on this day. How he spoke of being his own man and nurtured the thought through his father’s head. Cleavur, he said to himself. ‘Don’t forget in this day and age the father is the strongest and most respected man on the plantation’. Speak glowingly of his stewardship of his business, but speak of the day when his son must leave home.
Lissqui took a different track with her father. She told him she was a caregiver. She believed that she was somebody born to shepherd young girls to be proper ladies. Education she told her father is what she most desired from him. She needed to learn things that she could help her husband should she choose to be married someday. Fortunately Lissqui had a father that admired and fed his daughter’s inquisitive tenacity.
Dashurai had to learn most of what he would have to know on the fly. Wherever he could listen in or around meetings the slave master had him there for protection. He knew Cleavur and Lissqui could bring the book smarts to him, but that’s only part of what he needed. To prepare for the life he had to create not just for himself, but for slaves coming behind him he had to be wise in the ways of survival. He had to control himself. Emotions like anger or weakness were mankillers. He had to make his way somehow. The funny thing about what he was about to do was that he was about to do it with two young white folk. Go figure he would chuckle to himself.).
Lissqui: Well is he an asset or an enemy?
Cleavur: Vaterborne? Lissqui, everybody starts out in the adversarial column. Listen, we’re just branching out or making a way for ourselves. Nothing can be set in stone right now. Matter of fact, I’d say we have months and years of our own development not to mention making a name for ourselves.
Lissqui: Got it. Nobody is who they say they are until we render a judgment. Are you ready to go and are we riding with Mr. Vaterborne?
Cleavur: Yes we are and Dashurai is a hired hand. He is on security which includes animal feeding and care.
Lissqui: Our money?
Cleavur: It is being moved to the most secure bank in the territories right now.
Lissqui: Okay so it stays with father then?
Cleavur: They just had a panic in the banking system sister. Please don’t start trusting in a system that frankly is as young and naïve as we were about the world peering out from under the dress of our mother.
Lissqui: (Laughing again at her brother’s analogy). Keep it coming brother. So we’ve got to depend on ourselves. Nobody has a lock on how things should be done and thinking that way would only stall this trip into the wilderness.
Cleavur: Now I’m not saying we’ll have to invent the wheel again, but we’ll probably have to invent the gears to keep it moving in any direction. I’m not saying we’re starting out blind, but I’m not setting myself up to believe that there are people along this trip we’re about to take that has everything in place we need to be successful either.
Lissqui: That’s what I wanted to know. We’re not kids running to the man selling treats from town to town because we heard his horn. This is serious business and all three of us better resign ourselves to that fact right now.
Cleavur: This is what we’ll do with the money. Most of it will stay with father. You secure some and I’ll secure some. We’ll let Dashurai hold a portion just for the unexpected that may happen and add to it as we barter and trade along the trail.
Lissqui: Keep our wits about ourselves. Right now let’s wait until we can discuss what we’ve learned when the time is right. It may not be for several days at a time sometimes you know.
Cleavur: I already realized that. We’ll have to eat together at meal times and breaks along the way when the horses are made to rest. Repairs are done if any. Are you ready to shoot your rifle when we run into trouble?
Lissqui: Boy, you’re so sure of a lot of hardships are going to meet us along the way.
Cleavur: Just putting you in the right mind sister let’s not forget this is still a young country with the natives still pissed off at us. Dashurai may be able to slip pass them day or night, but our pale faces better be able to see in the dark.
Lissqui: I think a ‘strap’ would hold more things on my body under my dress.
Cleavur: Well let’s get you strapped. Probably something leather that could loop through some holes in your dress shash.
Lissqui: Right. See there you go. Everything hasn’t been invented yet. Things that would come in handy right now we must invent on the fly. I’ll keep a written record for sure. I’ll add to it what I think would make the going a little easier.
Cleavur: Then if that’s all let’s grab our baggage and get onboard.
Lissqui: The three of us. My my we’re on our way. All the steps we’ve taken to get to this day. It seems too easy to leave our home.
Cleavur: Lissqui, I told you before. I love our father and mother, but that home belongs to them. We were renting space there. Remember your spirituality now. We got to establish our own home physically in a difference place. Doesn’t mean we can’t go back to our ‘childhood’ home, but keep it in the proper place of order.
Lissqui: I know. I learned so much there. (She sees her brother about to speak again and she cuts him off before he opens his mouth.). I am keeping it proper. I will always pay homage to where I came from and that is final. What wagon are we in and is it in the middle or the rear end?
Cleavur: Neither of those places sister. We’re up front. This I’ve got to see coming.
Lissqui: So everything won’t be explained to us anymore. Somebody else figuring it out first is no longer a given. Everything about life we’ve ever learned was seen first by our elders and then passed to us. No hollered calls sailing upon the air to come to the table to eat anymore. (She looks at Cleavur and waves him off.). I’m just packing my mind for the journey. Don’t want to forget anything I need for the road.
Cleavur: Good because we all agreed to do this.
(Time is the factor that finishes a purpose. An idea. A mandate. Time is a necessity that is bemoaned as a requirement because it is essential for anything worthwhile to become reality. Our three travelers are away from the only depiction of life they have ever known. Now they will have to decide for themselves what kind of life they wish to create for in the years to come. If they are told the only way they can live is a certain way, they will resist it with possessions that cannot be compared to weapons.
Strength is not beholden to a restrictive caste system reserved for those with wealth and means. Strength of mind builds your life before you ever walk into it. Dashurai, Cleavur, and Lissqui will have to prove that ‘declarative’ true.
Time is earned because it is not in abundance at the start of anything worth doing. Once they earn more time will they wield it to their advantage for more of it? The way is known. Time makes or breaks success. Respect time and it will give you more. Everything they ever heard or ever believed they now will prove them true or false. More importantly though, they now possess the power to make a life for themselves. Good or bad. Prosperous or lean. The one thing that they have going for them.
A three-fold cord is not quickly broken.).