Where the Long Peas Grow

from by Mama Gina

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"The trees they are as my body, their branches are as my limbs, the water of this land is as my blood."
spoken by a native tribal elder upon being asked why he and his people did not want to relocate from their homes on the banks where the long peas grow to reservation areas set aside by the new US government

As I was researching The Peace River in anticipation of attending a festival along that shore in southern Florida, I found this quote. I cannot find the name of the elder; however his words resonated with me more deeply than the almost two centuries that separated us. While it has recovered from abuses in the past including phosphate mining, and damage done from its history as a major trade route transporting slaves and cypress, The Peace River and its eco-system are again in danger as chemicals and human waste are being deposited near the headwaters. "The water of this land is my blood."

lyrics

Where the Long Peas Grow
© LaMonte 2018

I drew my first breath here
This is where the world begins
The trees they are my body
Her branches are my limbs
I’ve walked every step of riverbank
In times of drought and flood
The water of this land is my blood

We thought to share this river
They thought it theirs to keep
We fought to hold our homes here
They killed us in our sleep
They sold the sky above us
And they took the land below
And they built upon the riverbanks
Where the long peas grow

CHORUS
I was here before you
My body may be gone
You can’t chain my spirit
And you can’t change my song
When all the waters rise again
As they all surely will
This river will take back
Every drop of blood’s been spilled

Cypress, slaves and phosphate
Turned that water muddy brown
They turned that mud into gold
‘Til the railroad shut her down
Now time has turned her back again
And you can find my soul
All along the riverbank
Where the long peas grow

CHORUS

I drew my first breath here
This is where the world begins
The trees they are my body
Her branches are my limbs
I’ve walked every step of riverbank
In times of drought and flood
The water of this land is my blood

Time has turned her back again
And you can find my soul
All along the riverbank
Where the long peas grow

I drew my first breath here
This is where the world begins

credits

from Firewood & Rust, released March 24, 2020
Written and performed by Gina LaMonte

license

all rights reserved

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