Thursday, January 27, 2011

Another Surreal Pre-Dawn Journey

It was cold, dark, snowy, and windy at 5:15 am.  Much of the overnight snowfall had yet to be plowed from roads and intersections.  My faithful compact car 'Yaris' and I would struggle to first descend into the Assabet River valley and shortly thereafter struggle to climb the incline leading out of it. Stop signs and red lights were our enemies.  The big "Mo" as in momentum was our friend.
As we surmounted one obstacle after another, the sound of my car's radio provided some company.  The radio station I usually listen to was dead as a doornail this morning so I switched to an AM station and listened to the long list of school and college closings.  What caught my ear was the large number of Native American names/words being recited.  It ocurred to me that, on this day, a long dormant language was coming back to life.  The words seemed to roll off the announcers lips:
Acushnet, Agawam, Algonquin, Apponequat, Assabet, Assawompset, Chicopee, Hobomock, Massasoit, Masconomet, Mashpee, Mattahunt, Mattapan, Merrimac, Minnechaug, Mohawk, Montachusett, Nabnasset, Nantucket, Narragansett, Nashoba, Naquag, Nauset, Nipmuc, Nissitissit, Pakachoag, Pawtucket, Pentucket, Pompositticut, Quabog, Quashet, Quinsigamond, Samoset, Seekonk, Shawsheen, Sippican, Squannacook, Squantum, Tahanto, Tantasqua, Tatnuck, Wachusett, Wahconah, Wampatuck, Wamsutta, Wawecus, Wessagusset.
Driving through Old Man Winter's drastically altered landscape and hearing all these Algonkian words struck me as surreal.  I wonder how it would seem to one of Native American heritage.

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