Their sacred sites have become urban bike trails and greenways. Their hunting grounds now lie under interstates and vast, expansive suburban shopping malls. Their holy places are destinations for millions of tourists and sightseers each year. Oil and natural gas rigs dot the prairies where once they hunted the mighty bison herds. Where they once huddled for shelter and protection, amphitheaters spread between towering red walls of rock. Where once they hunted and fished and subsisted on the bounty of the glades, both north and south, housing developments, amusement parks and retirement villas wrestle for more room to grow.
The spirits of peoples and civilizations long ago -- and some from the not too distant past - wander the places they once roamed. If they truly exist, they no doubt travel the expanses of our continent trying to find a familiar place; a holy place; a welcoming place.
As they travel, they search for their gods; gods of fire and smoke and water and earth; gods of war and of harvest.
"Where are the holy places?" they ask. "Where are our gods?"
They can not find those places, for those places are covered with asphalt and concrete and waste and reservoirs and cathedrals where people worship another god. Their gods have been replaced. As much as they search for their gods, their gods call out for them. And they are lonely gods.
Lonely gods searching for a lonely people.
How like these wandering souls must we appear. Lonely people seeking a God who is also seeking us. Are our lives so different from theirs; any less cluttered; any less distracted; any less put upon by changes that we cannot avoid; any less silenced by what the world calls progress; any less displaced by a society that devalues another's worship?
Are we, too, a lonely people seeking after a lonely god?