The old Indian stopped his truck at the base of the mountain and got out. He walked slowly to the horse trailer behind and brought out his favorite mare, already saddled. He walked the horse to the front of the truck and let the reins fall limp to the ground. He reached into the cab of the truck and brought out two small boxes and placed them in the saddlebags. He mounted the horse, and they walked slowly into the moonlit night. The Indian, Running Bear, listened to the night as they walked slowly. For the inexperienced, walking these woods at night, even under the best conditions, could be a hazardous undertaking. But this Indian and his horse had traveled this path many, many times. He held the reins loosely in his hands and commanded the horse with gentle nudges from his knees. The horse responded without delay and maintained a steady, easy gait. For two and a half hours, they walked. The silence was deafening. No birds sang, no coyotes howled, no trees rustled even though there was a mild breeze in the air. No sound except the hooves of the unshod horse striking the ground. Finally, the Indian and his horse came to a small clearing halfway up the mountain. It was a spectacular view, even at night, seldom seen by anyone not of the Wolf River tribe. The old man dismounted, removed the saddlebags, and walked to the edge of the clearing where the view of the valley below was panoramic. He sat on the ground and with his knife dug two holes into the soft dirt, keeping the top, sun-bleached dirt separate from the darker soil beneath. When the holes were three feet deep, he stopped and reached into the saddlebag for the first box. The box was handmade of pine and appeared to be very old. He opened it and inspected the contents as he had done several times before tonight. An eagle feather with a leather tong wound tightly around the base, a scrap of cloth from a boy's shirt, a child's baby tooth, and a lock of hair carefully tied and resting in a thick, clear plastic case, remnants from a time long passed. qNot much to show for twenty-three years, q the old man thought. He placed the items neatly in the box and closed it. There was no lock on the box, and the lid would not be nailed shut. It was simply placed in the hole. The second box was withdrawn from the saddlebag and likewise inspected. Another case with a lock of hair, an eagle feather the same as the other box, another scrap of a boy's shirt, another tooth, a portion of an arrow with the stone arrowhead still attached. Not much to show for twenty-one years. This box was placed in the other hole. The dirt was filled in on both, the sun-bleached dirt applied last to conceal the final resting place for his two sons. The extra dirt was gathered up and spread out around some desert blooms near the edge. An unsuspecting visitor would have great difficulty finding this place. The old man cut a branch from one of the bushes nearby, carefully concealing the cut. He spread the branch across the ground to conceal his footprints and those of his horse as he walked back down the mountain. He stopped at another clearing, this one smaller, but still with a clear view of the mountain and valley below. He stood quite erect and raised his arms above his head. He prayed to the Great Mystery and asked the spirits to accept his sons. He chanted the same chants used by his people since the beginning of their history. He would chant until daybreak then return to the world below.The motorhome was provided by the dEA, the results of a rather large drug bust. The people using the motorhome assembled at the university office of Clayton Ambrose. Instructions on the trip were reviewed again, and alternate plans for the anbsp;...
|Publisher||:||Xlibris Corporation - 2013-04|