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Spirits Amble Silent in the High Desert

Air so cold it rattles the soul, but I stick walk alone, listen'n and see'n shadows of a'fore, now and what be a'com'n.

My breath causes ice to form on my walk'n stick. Old legs strain, but I gets to wheres I be go'n.

In a cleft overlook'n the Valley of Spires I build a fire. Stars so bright, in air so clear, the twinkle'n be halted. I sits alone on my cibola robe. Fire keeps the cold from grab'n me.

Two jack rabbits hop near the fire. Captured by the warmth.

Legend be a savior born this night. On the other side'a the world. Two thousand years back. Dunno. I weren't there to sees it. He ain't been back, tho. Touch a hot stove...

Catctus owl go's and lands on a rock jut'n from the side a the cleft. Sees mice shadows a'gin the wall, I reckon.

Just as I figger'd. Coyotes sniff'n the edge of the shadow beyond the fire. Yellow eyes a peek'n at me. They sees me peek'n back.

"Come closer," I offer. "Warmth for all. We can wait dawn together."

Be easy carry'n back my haversack. Brought treats for citters I figger'd would be shar'n my fire. Carrots for the hoppers, pinon nuts for the mouses, slag o'antelope for the wise one and two full slabs a'pork ribs for the yellow eyes lurk'n beyond the fire.

Heated up a bowl a beans'n elk sausage for these old bones. Slop'd up the sauce with fry bread. Blueberries and wine for dessert. Corn bread and cranberries come breakfast.

Lotsa shoot'n stars tak'n souls home this night. I hear the movement of the desert. It be lonely, this place. Spirits rustle among the sage, look'n. Be no wind this night.

Two score and three be the times I've come here to await the Spirit walker. First, I feel it, then it appears. Always with a laugh.

"Didn't think ya be com'n," I whispered.

"You always do," the spirit whispered back.

That be true. Talk'n to a spirit ain't like talk'n to flesh and blood. You don't hear them with your ears or your mind. Your soul hears 'em clear as a bell's ring.

I watched the ripples of mist that begat the ghost. I ain't never seen it plain, 'cause it won't sit still. Always with the rippl'n.

"You have fed those watching and brought them warmth," breathed the spirt.

"Yes," I replied. "Be a cold night and I have more than I need, Spirit."

Fold'n itself around me, then through me, com'n to rest behind me. It's tingl'n run'n up my neck. I never know'd why the spirit always does this; somethin' about the fire, I reckon. Then its voice came.

"Tell me, desert woman, what you have learned since we shared last?" I felt the fingers of the spirit on my shoulder.

"If'n it be any concern a yours," I muttered, "I ain't need'n none a your mind sass'n. The mores I learn the mores I's forgets The mores I forgets the less I know. I'm old and cranky, Spirit. I've no time for games. Darkness has spread across the land. People be hurt'n and afraid."

"Yes, yes," said the Spirit. "Life is hard. It is the way of things."

"I knows that Spirit!" I sputtered. "What I ain't figger'd out is why life can't just be tough, without be'n so damnably cruel."

Long beats of time passed. Only sounds I heard were my heart thumps and crackl'n of the fire. I pulled my sheepskin tightly around me, lost in thought.

"Old woman," said the Spirit, "only people can bring forth cruelty and only people can remove it from life's journey."

"I know," I whispered. "People are already in the streets. I fear it won't be enough."

As I fell into sleep, I could feel the Spirit surround me. I dreamed of long trunchons draw'n blood. Acrid air burn'n throats. Children hungry. Men and women labor'n for pennies. Families marched to the street as their home is eaten by demons of greed.

Wake'n to a fire of coals and the critters absence, I wiped the crusted paths of tears sleep left behind. Sol was rise'n and the sky people had faded from view. I ate my breakfast in silence, as the snow began to sprinkle down.

Pack'n my possibles, I leaned on my walk'n stick, looked across the desert and holler'd, "What this damn country needs is Eliot Ness!"

No savior came a'gin last night. Then again, maybe all a us can save our own butts. We's done it once. Perhaps we's can do so's a'gin.

Figgers. Life be like that, eh?

Originally posted to Wendy's Wink on Wed Dec 14, 2011 at 07:45 AM

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