|George Buster Singleton|
(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “Autumn: time for healing” was originally published in the Oct. 3, 1996 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)
As the sulky days of September pass from the countryside and the cool days of Indian summer creep across the land, the time is at hand for the gathering of thoughts and the healing of the mind. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t profess to be a doctor, but there are a few things that I have learned over the years that I believe can benefit mankind. In our modern world of make believe, we hear little or nothing of the lives of the early Indians that once roamed the hills and valleys of this area. Their way of life was a life of calm and gentleness until the white settler appeared on the scene. I think that much could be learned about life and its problems if we would only look back and pay heed to some of the practices of the early Indian.
I think that one of the mistakes of our society of today is that we don’t take time to let our minds relax and heal themselves. We have become so preoccupied with our world of fantasy and make believe that we forget that our brain has to have a breather. We work all day in a tense environment and then we go home where we once again bog ourselves down in the fairy world of television. During this time we witness three or four horrible murders and the same number of acts of rape and brutality. We hear where a small child is killed or crippled because their entry into this world has caused someone some inconvenience. Always, two or three families are broken up and separated from one another. We pay no attention whatsoever to the few good things that might air on the bloob tube. Trouble and tragedy has become a way of life with our society; this is what we want and expect to see. This is the way we entertain ourselves.
Then, after four or five hours of being entertained by the bloob tube, we try to relax and get some sleep and rest. What we have witnessed during the past hour rests so heavy on our minds, we can’t sleep. Our brains are so cluttered that we have trouble remembering our children’s names. We don’t give one thought that our society is going to the dogs. Our world of fantasy is in total turmoil; we struggle for survival. We have no place to rest our minds; so we turn to narcotics and many other things. We half hardly look for a solution, but we find nothing.
But all is not in vain. There is a solution for this problem in life and the answer is so close at hand. Do as the early Indian did for peace of mind and a time of contentment – find a healing place, a place where the pressures of life have no meaning. A place where we can gather our thoughts and be at peace with ourselves and our surroundings. A place where we can talk to the Great Spirit; a place where we can gain strength and be well.
This place that I speak of is the high hills. A place where the winds whisper through the tall pines and the quietness there covers you like a blanket. A place where all is well within the soul. Seek out this place when you feel that you are at the end of the rope and the troubles of life cling to your every move. Gather yourself a few simple things such as a blanket, a few items of food and some drinking water. Steal away to that special high hill and find that quiet spot and be at peace with yourself.
Always arrive an hour or so before sundown. Spread your blanket where you can lay back and face the setting sun. Eat only enough to satisfy the hunger pains and drink from the container of water that you have brought with you. As you wait for the glorious spectacle of the setting sun, listen to the lullaby of the sighing winds as they creep across your hill of peace and contentment. Absorb your surroundings and listen for the sounds of the coming darkness as they sigh in the distance.
Do not be afraid, there is nothing to harm you. Lay back and watch the evening shadows creep across the hill as though someone has spread a huge blanket over the entire area. Become a part of that which is around you and let the Creator of the heavens and earth heal your mind and soul. Give thanks to the Great Spirit for allowing you to be a part of his creation. Then, in the quietness of the moment, review your life. Evaluate the things of your life that might not be in accordance with that which is right toward your fellow man. Choose the decisions that will make you a stronger person. Set forth rules of discipline for yourself that won’t allow you to do the things that will cause heartbreak and sorrow to your loved ones. Strengthen your conscience and cast aside those things that are trivial and those that will make you weak.
Then, when this is done, listen again to the lullaby of the sighing winds. As you listen, you will know the total peace and contentment that has come over you. Your mind and soul have been healed, total peace is upon you and all is well and good within yourself once more.
And, finally, as you prepare to depart this place of quietness and peace, look around you. You know that you are not alone. You will know that the Great Spirit walks with you and is forever near. Don’t be ashamed to raise your arms to the heavens. Do not fear for loss of words for the words will come.
O’ Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the winds
And whose love gives life to all the world,
Hear me, for I am troubled and weak
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty,
And make my eyes ever behold the glory of the red and purple sunset.
Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and a pure heart.
And, when this life fades, as does the evening sunset,
May the spirit come to you without shame,
So that I may walk with you by the stream that gives eternal life.
In a land where a thousand years will be as a moment’s passing.
And time is measured not in months and years, but only in forevers…
(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County, graduated from Sweet Water High School, served in the Korean War, lived for a time among Apache Indians, moved to Monroe County in June 1964 (some sources say 1961) and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from 1964 to 1987. For years, Singleton’s column “Somewhere in Time” appeared in The Monroe Journal, and he wrote a lengthy series of articles about Monroe County that appeared in Alabama Life magazine. Some of his earlier columns also appeared under the heading of “Monroe County History: Did You Know?” He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)