The Inner Voice of Optimism

My Ecko, Mary Grove Barnes

My Ecko, Mary Grove Barnes

What was life like for our ancestors 100 years ago?

That’s about three generations—from my grandmother to me. In many ways Ecko’s life was simpler with no cell phones and freeways.

But it was also tough, thanks to tuberculosis and swindlers ready to make a deal on Indian land.

Still, Ecko was an optimist. She liked a good story and a swig of spirits. She saw the best in people and soft-pedalled criticism.

As humans we’re pretty self-critical.

That inner voice berates us: we’re slovenly and lazy, we procrastinate, and we fritter away our precious time.

I never have enough time in the day to check-off everything on my list.

It’s not that I’m lazy.

Problem is I tend to stuff my calendar with so many tasks that the fabric of my schedule is bursting at the seams.

Rather than denigrate this personality flaw, one Pollyanna-scientist considered it a delightful trait.

Although we can’t get everything done, we’re optimists.

Like the choo-choo trekking up hill, we think we can, we think we can.

Failure to accomplish life’s myriad tasks may simply be a marker of unbridled optimism.

Or maybe just Ecko’s spirit.

Blog #11 for Native American Heritage Month


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
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