, , , , , , , , ,

An unlit oil lamp sits in the empty fire pit along with a small statue of a seated Native American man. Several people have come to hear Paul Leone, the storyteller, at the Mabel Powers Fire Circle at Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York on this hot July afternoon. They walk up and take their seats on two circles of benches. Large trees tower over them, shading them from the sun. Camper boys play in the ravine, looking for rocks. Some people use their pamphlets as fans. Then Paul begins to tell his Native American stories and we are all transported to a time when the lines between people and animals, between past and present, between modern and ancient blur. For long moments we are all with him imagining the bear and the turtle, until a lawn mower starts up and we’re snapped back to the here and now.