WhiteCrow Walking

My solo walk across America began in Maine. I walked for nearly 3 years carrying a backpack and facing countless dangers, as well as met wonderful people I could have never made it without. From bullets to bears I moved through mountains of snow and across burning desert country. The end result will be a book, and the fruition of a childhood dream. This is a blog from the field with rough stories about my steps along the way.

29 June 2007

'Anything It Is That Makes You Smile'

The days move quickly past in Cody, horses running down hill. A night at Ruffin and Michelle's flat in town becomes a few days staying with Scary Mary. Mary had owned a few shops in town that carried the unusual, the tie-dyed, beads and a fun comedy of oddities that didn't exactly blend in a town of bronze grizzly bears, cowboy boots, and elk ivories set in rose gold. Her 'hippie' shops were both called Scary Mary's. Though the stores closed after a run the name stuck with a town of endearing friends. Mary is a sweet soul perhaps a dozen years my senior, growing younger daily. No sooner had we met than I was offered the figurative key to her bead collection that she once used to sell, and a flat lawn in the shade to throw a tent under. Beads are one of my weaknesses, that and the art of puttering through a day, night, and down through morning. The first necklace I make is for Mary. I add a few sterling beads I bartered for in Taos, New Mexico and a tip from an elk antler found on the walk, polished and drilled then wore for a thousand miles. Mary is thrilled sporting her new necklace everywhere under the umbrella of her smile. I showed her the sheath for my spear this morning in passing. "Oh, you gotta bead it,"exclaims Mary as if to say,"What are you thinking, It's naked!"
This morning I make pancakes for us after tumbling down the stairs from the room I'm lent. The upstairs air is already down sweater warm in July, eliminating all fear of sleeping in too late. Today I'll call the horse ranch to confirm my stay there in a bunkhouse while in Cody, or the flat by the creek on the same ranch. Mary has become a happy laugh that I enjoy, and I know that we will spend more time together just turning over stories while the coffee beans swell under spring water as I come and go from downtown throughout the next week. There are so many threads to this walk, so many faces and voices that sculpt their hands into all that I thought I knew about America and people, and mostly myself. I know only that we all have the power to shape each other for better or worse with a look napped sharp like chert so I move my eyes carefully. Mary is good people.
When I left Thermopolis and Jessica Monday completed the interview she was writing about The Walk for the local paper Jessica stepped forward gracefully with intent; a soft voice moving closer from behind her beauty. I watched as she tied a red thread to the shoulder strap of my backpack while she set her eyes in mine. "When things get hard, when you feel alone, look at this red thread and remember that we are connected."

I have signed up to be in the Cody parade. Questioning vanity, I shrug softly into my shoulders, to myself. The walk demands that I step forward, never remaining just a witness. I will sweat with the hundreds marching so I too can feel I've earned my draft at the Irma when we all we smell is horse manure under our boots, urine on hot tarmac and sweat cooling our clothes. The last parade I was in, not counting the military(which was one long parade whenever we got stateside with bullets still in our pockets), was when I was peddling a red bicycle beside my older brother Steve's bike in Falls Village, CT, down the hill past Lee H. Kellogg School. I could smell the Suave in my brother's hair that reeked of spit sweat and strawberries, and the pelt of cut grass smell coming up from the manicured lawns in town. It was 1976 and flags were bucking in the wind from everything that could hold a salute or a birch dowel choked with twine and worthless yellow-clear tape that had string running through it. From our handlebars taffeta paper ruffled in small skirts and we were flying though town on tires we couldn't feel turning. It was 1976 and the nation was, for a day, smiling red, white and blue. Vietnam was freshly over and we had the world sitting by the side of the road in Falls Village CT. Everyone was waving at us like it was Christmas and they were believing.
Later that day I saw my first naked woman at a secluded swimming hole two miles out of town just down the bank from where I lived. She was tall, maybe twenty and a haunting street across from too beautiful, wearing just a lazy smile lit up bright, like her blond hair mimicking the shimmer of the river water moving light around us. She let me cover her with my eyes. She let me try to wiggle out words and blushed for us both when I couldn't, then she gave me her eyes again, softer this time. She was my summer of 76,and has been every summer since. She was walking across the water toward me with her long hair waving like all the flags of Canaan, and I was wishing that I had hair under my arms, and that I was suddenly taller. She was walking toward me with her eyes saying everything is going to be alright and I was believing.

"Here"s a wishing well
Here's a penny for
Anything it is that makes you smile
Every Diamond ring
Everything that brings
Love and happiness into your life (Emmlylou Harris)

I wanted to thank her with the appreciation of being a thirteen year old boy welded to her grace by my eyes while trying hopelessly to look away, failing ever so perfectly. Without words I think I did thank her. It was then that I knew that I had been right in believing as a child that making love to a woman was two souls singing back and forth in words nobody else could hear. It was the bicentennial year of 1976, I was thirteen, and I would never be the same, nor would all the water in the world. In two years I was to leave home forever, in five years I was parachuting throughout Central America in the middle of the night with weapons exposed and the smell of thirty men vomiting burnt into my battle uniform because we had flown under radar for the last hundred and fifty miles, banking low just over treetops until we all lost the fear of dying, of wanting anything in the world but to fall from those planes so the taunting of death would bite us through or release. When it the years in the 82nd Airborne were over and I was young too tired for being in only in my twenties I went back to that swimming hole, back to the swimming hole where the farmhouse used to gaulk from the hill, and could hear her sing in the moving of the water, "Anything it is that makes you smile...love and happiness into your life."

24 June 2007

Broke(n) Down In Cody

After all these faithful miles my cracked bank card refuses to work although it took three teller machines to confirm it. "Show me the money," fails to fill my wallet for the first time. My brow gets white cold even though it is 97 degrees. A bank debit card has been my lifeline, rope cut and the quick fall into uncertainty begins although I push in buttons all the way down. Alot of phone calls are made that do little to quell the fear of being broke by the time I'm somewhere near the Crow Reservation --this becomes a possibility. If this glitch happened in my old home town this would be of little concern, here it is the fuel line being cut on a sharp turn heading again into open land. In New England I would call a familiar face in the teller office and order another bankcard, then wait a few days for the hard plastic card to arrive via mail. Out here I make phone calls, bend the old card to try to get it to work one more time, and try to move past being anxious. I call basecamp again, write an e-mail to my ex-wife Alexcia then phone her, and pray for a replacement to find me before the two hundred dollars I just borrowed evaporates in the 100 degree high desert heat. I get word that the bank demands an address for my account to be active; Big Brother wants to know where I live. An address? Once again the rules of This System demand that if you have money in a bank you must have a home address even though I told them before the walk began that I would be walking across America and this was the bank account just for that. "No problem sir,you can use this card all across the nation," has become a problem two years into the journey. I'd drop Legacy Bank stationed in Great Barrington Mass. if I could. It is once again the old adage 'don't change horses in the middle of a river crossing,' even though I have no intention in carrying a lame horse another thousand plus miles to northern Washington. Necessity is the mother of invention...now, where to call home?

The road here was extreme. I had grow soft in sixteen days of healing and roofing in Thermopolis, if roofing is taking it easy. The sun has grown angry though. At 22 miles a day pulling 150 pounds and melting another 60-70 pounds into my shoulders via backpack I cannot pour enough water into my mouth even while I'm drinking the hot water directly from the 3 gallon tank after the fist two single gallon jugs are spent, squatting under my green and tan golf umbrella that's mounted to the frame of my pack. My head will reason toward anything for just a moment out of the consuming rays I can still hear digging into the open range of sand and rock where the grass grows thin. Even the rabbits have grown stupefied in the heat and refuse to run. As I pass they throw dirt over their fur flopping lengthwise like cats trying to choke a herd of biting flees. To walk this land in this heat is to lean over the edge with the great possibility of falling down hard in a treeless forest...never to be heard.

Cody Historical Center: I touch bronze, covet feathers gleaned a hundred years ago, marvel at plains grizzly claws six inches long, then camp by a river waiting.... I have not come to this building by chance, or this city for that matter. Thousands of miles and twenty states ago I knew that I would be standing here soaked in history. I study the cut of an eagle bone whistle for the third day in a row and remember my grandfather sending me into the forest in Becket to retrieve a piece of striped maple so he could teach me how to make an eagle's cry. I remember tapping the bark off with a mallet to notch the sweet wood inside, cutting my hand and for the first time not crying. I was just a boy then and had never seen an eagle or heard its chirp, the same golden eagles I see almost daily now. I had put my homemade whistle into a glass of water by the sink every night so the bark wouldn't crack just as my grandfather instructed. I remember when my grandfather died. My whistle had begun to grow a fine net of roots and I couldn't decide whether to take a knife to my living whistle or bury it in the field down by the creek and listen. The more I walk forward the more I go back.

From gallery to gallery I wander the town of Cody. Ruffin Prevost, a reporter for the Billings Gazette,and I meet at the Maxwell Restaurant to work out a story for the Gazette over lunch. I am offered a room for the night as well as a ride about town on his wife Michelle's vintage green bicycle whenever I want to use it while I am here. Ruffin tells me about the Fourth of July in Cody being something not to miss if I could wait out the week. I have walked too long to run for the northern Rocky Mountains just because they are there and need to be saddled. If Cody has a song to sing, as I know it does, I will be here to listen. Snow in the Rocky Mountains is still some distance off. I am more the grasshopper than the ant if there is music.

Update..Bankcard Reactivated

17 June 2007

16 Days and Leaving. Thermopolis

Checking in on a scale I see that I have gained eleven pounds in the two weeks and two days that I have been in Thermopolis. This is better than a thick wallet. This is far better than the full food sack I prepare for loading into my cart for leaving. My weight has stablized since the winter Rocky Mountains, but putting on weight while walking days into weeks into years is next to impossible. My hope is always to pack on a few extra pounds to soften the cut of my belt on bone. I pat the very humble roundness of my stomach, see in the mirror how my frame has put on a healthy bulk, and smile. One hundred and seventy three pounds at six foot. It'll do. I am ready for the northern rockies. I have come to know an exhausted man is brother to a coward. So is a man worn too thin. With every knife sharpened, new Samburu spear housed in a sheath, and bear spray is set in a holster on my hip as the first line of defense. I cut, sew, hone and discard as if it is the first day, and I have never walked before. The warmth of countless new friends in Thermopolis has made my pack put on some girth of its own. Tomorrow Jessica Monday from the local paper will photograph my leaving. As day becomes evening I know the inner truth that I will be re-packing a few miles up the road in a patch of desert where there is no wall clock or watch to pressure the speed of sorting. Now my hands move too fast. All I accomplish though is losing the right sock while searching for the left; speed reading books I fell in love with when weight wasn't a consideration, and saying good-bye to people I have come to love knowing I will see them in hours and cut myself again. Leaving is harder than walking.

New shingles bronze the roof of the Higgins home. Even with the stainless steel buckets of our conversation that allowed Ron and myself to milk three hours of labor into half a day of work day after day, trips for coffee and more drip edge to trim the roof, or a run for more rolls of tar paper, the roof is finished. The two layers of old shingles are carted away, My yes to help Ron in the end meant yes with no regrets whatsoever. For the first time in my life I was sad to see a mountain of shingles cover the black sky of new tar paper, and the ladder return to the hooks in the barn. It was last Sunday that Pastor Ron Higgins talked to the congregation about my leaving, called me forward for a united prayer for my safety on the road north, and Ron was moved to tears as his mind brought him to my eminent exodus. We live in a hard time for men to be men. We are afraid to love, and not to. And we are petrified to show love to another male? This is delicate set of razors to handle even with callus skin, if it is ever to be considered at all. A strike on the back or a hard grip of the hand held for that extra moment.....but love. It was a day ago that Ron stepped forward and requested a hug from me. I would not write this except that I am afraid that nobody would, so I make note. It was not a hug and then quick steps around the body of another , or a turn to leave after that uncomfortable silence. There was comfort in our embrace, an embrace before the coming day of good-bye, warmth of his cheek against mine knowing that we care dearly for one another without an eye on gain or show, seconds passed and I knew I was being healed just as if I was receiving an i.v. push of all the strength I would need to carry forward, a healing of all the unease that I had collected in these years of miles, in a life of no father and lost brother. Ron was saying that I mattered. For the first time in my life I was listening to myself becoming a man and we were only breathing.
More good-byes wait. A woman named Lisa three roads away, or a ten minute walk ( unless you miss a road at one a.m. as I did once...then it is an hour), has drawn close to me, and I to her. We talk about my leaving like two kids moving a sharp knife quickly between our fingers that rest on a pine board. One slip and....cut. Lisa works in the hospital. My leaving comes out sounding like surgery where everybody gets cut and healing is one long slow song we all move our feet to though nobody wants to dance. Nights out for dinners I dreamed of while walking have all passed into fresh memory. We sip wine at her dining room table while we chew elk, stitch leather for a new sheath I'll carry, and keep looking up at one another at the same time with weak smiles spent of words. "This is what I wanted," I whisper to myself. "To walk, experience other peoples lives, love........" A six year old has no flare for endings when he dreams. As much as I am saddened at the thought of my journey coming to its end, I am saddened tonight to see my shoes leaning by the door.

10 June 2007

Please Don"t Save Me

When I write of hardship, or the full taste of blood from a branch raking my mouth just after dark as I break into a forest only to find a flat where another bear has buried a quarter of deer carcus centered on the only free earth without prickly pear cactus; when I tell you about rattlesnakes I fill my cookpot with when all other food is spent, or the sound of pumas being loud in their soundlessness just outside the zip-lock wall of my tent, I am not asking you for a rope to help me escape. I am telling you what the ocean smells like knowing you are surrounded by sand. I am telling you that I have ridden beyond the horizon and have not fallen into space. We all laughed at the beliefs of ancient great explorers in elementary school, and then we grew up to believe the modern equivalant as we riddled our lives in harnesses to avoid walking into the unknown, the unpaved. I have talked to many people that have never crossed the state line of their homeland...and they are proud of it. They were not young, and I wonder then if they ever were. Then I remember pieces of myself not long ago removed to understand. It is hard to leave the predictability of a life gone static and safe. I am rarely safe.
A year ago on, early on in this walkabout, I was often asked how I 'got permission' to leave job, home, responsibilities that every man of forty years carries... as well as the 21st century life with its furious grip of the established norm. I was not asked by people that smile alot. At first I was angered by their beliefs, or was it their stab at my implied irresponsibility that makes me lie awake sometimes late in my humble brown tent rumenating over all the things I wish I had said?. Permission? Rolling the fotage backwards in my thoughts I reflect on whether or not I have ever been given permission to color outside the lines. Who took away our souls, our feeding of a hunger that roams outside the settlement of every man I ever met? Who cut the tendons above our heels and then demanded us to whisper when we knew we should be roaring? We watch Legends of the Fall and then go out and mow the lawn in flowered shorts thinking about a time in history when wild places still existed.

Trucks with ludicriously large knobby tires have bulldoged past me through many of these southern states, mufflers cut, modified to choke out in a voice that rattles plates on distant dinner tables like Harley Davidsons on parade: their perpetual longing for attention. Driver's just cutting in their first facial hair believe they are wild and on top of the world. When they pass me on the open road miles from where the sidewalks has given up and died into red dust they will stomp on the gas pedal as if they are about to shoot into space, and they do this infuriating act just for me. I wear just one earplug all the time for just such stupidity...and then it accured to me after months of muttering to myself in distain that they are saying that they are real men too, warriors. They are showing that they are saddled on their fierce steed and I am comparably little in there world; that I am a trite detail moving toward nothing...... until they are honest and alone late in their night of nights and years come to them, then they will don their pack named something other than CrowDog. and thump out to where the wild things are even if only in their minds. They too will follow whatever voice it is that separates them from the good intention of their flock, and for a little while, until sleep comes in and settles beside them, they will tilt ther hat against the sun and consider lions in the pale blue of sagebrush with purple bone branches. Silver bullets of ideas will be slid into their pistol cylinders as they chew a thin cigar they never light. They will not lie awake bored and glazed over until sleep finally moseys into their inner room. They will not have to roar their engine to be seen as a unstopable trumpet of life. They will grin through their tired happy eyes knowing, tomorrow they will brave on, answering that voice inside their head that is theirs alone. For just a little while in this 'sold our souls to the company store' world we can be free to cut our names into a tree in our mind's eye that will not blemish over or die. We can be walking with every explorer that has walked before us. We will throw down the dice each morning knowing that is is no matter what edge hangs on a blade of grass, or if one die falls on two dots or five, we are investing the talents the Master left us to care for. All may be lost and we'll still win. We will not bury our talents in the earth, under hard packed dirt and mouth fulls of 'Yes sir, sorry sir. I will try harder tomorrow." Only then will steriod trucks drive past me slowly and smile instead of stomping their feet on the excellerator.
Please don't save me. I am trying to remember things deep in my bones that used to keep me awake too. Out here I am home.

07 June 2007

Up On The Roof

Ron was puttering around his house when I rolled my kit onto the front yard to load up for leaving. My head was already re-packing Crow Dog, my backpack, and ascending the next climbing range out of Thermopolis. In the driveway a large stack of bundled shingles on a palet await a new life twelve feet up. Somehow I hadn't noticed them until now.
"Hey Ron, when are you going to get to the burnt corn flakes up on the roof?" Ron and I stare up at the roof and I feel my mouth open up and indirectly begin to offer to strip two layers of vintage sun toasted flakes and cut and set three days worth of ashphat rectangles with the addition of more shingles on the way. It is a simple straight forward roof with no obsene peaks or valleys. I think quickly of the road, and let the idea of leaving melt from my brow.
"Well, I have been waiting for cooler weather, and it wasn't a project I wanted to undertake myself, and...well, what are you saying? If your suggesting that you know how to roof and would like to volunteer to help me through this I sure wouldn't say no." Ron is a shining smile standing in his driveway. I smile back, already beginning to pull my cart on new tires reflecting the sun back into the garage. It feels good to offer up a service that is larger than carving a wooden bear out of firewood, or taking a frame off an old truck, mounting a bronze angle to a rock in a garden, or feeding horses for a week in an artic Oaklahoma ice storm. These were all roads before this one that blessed the giver and the reciever but short lived. Looking at the shingles, a task now ahead of me that I used to enjoy like a toothacke and have done at least a hundred times. I know this time will be different. Roofing will be stories and the making of a good friend with the company of Ron. There will be no shouting orders, no racing to reach a goal that constantly moves into a unrewarding distance, or moving under a tyrant while being reduced to slave status that guts my heart quicker than a sharpened spoon. "Work or talk. You can't do both.," was one of the constant montra's that took the light from my eyes, my day. I have left that world happy never to return. I will be working with a friend. We will sit on the roof and sip spring water while talking about our Creator, the value of a good truck, and a the making of a backyard fire out of cedar shakes that pile below us.
In the next week the roof will be stripped, sealed with new drip edge, new boots for all the piping vents, tarpapered, and shingled with each 75 pound bundle carried up a weak ladder between evenings of easy conversation as popcorn pops into a bowl, and little details in my gear are honed for the road ahead with a calming peace of remembering the wandering that brought me here.

Leaving is easy. The heart has its own cadence though; its own step. It feels healing to share a morning cup in Ron and Debra's livingroom knowing the roof is moving through its course toward completion, an easy transition from dry rotted boards layered over old asphalt shingles into a finished project that draws our lives together through rest and production, and a natural appreciation for being fully alive in this moment.
It is evening and the cheeseburgers spit on the grill while Ron and I act silly in the kitchen, laughing like punch drunk teens until I'm sure one of us just snorted. We have been on the roof all day and it is 7pm. We just came down...and we are just coming down. The roof will be done soon, and for the first time I feel a little sadness with its end in sight. I hear the road begin to whisper again with urgency free from its mouth. "There is no hurry. I will wait for you. I will tell you secrets when you return. For now, live this moment your in, enjoy these people I have brought you to. In a little while, I will show you more things than you can imagine. Remember, you have been alone a long time, and when you return to me it will sound the same."

05 June 2007

Big Wheels for Cody

After a gift night in a motel, I have spent two nights now with the Higgins family....movies, hot food off the grill, tea on the deck, and the sounds of family everywhere in broken conversations that sound just like summer, and all is well. Ron Higgins, the pastor of the Open Bible Church, has become a quick friend to the point that we have both regressed into laughing kids that are constantly playing off each other to the humored chagrin of Debra his wife. "I can't even imagine what it would be like if you two lived next door to one another." Debra smiles at our silly puns as she hands me many treats for the road that she has gone out and gathered, and a book that I have been longing for to read in camp. The warmth of this Wyoming family is a refreshing glass of cold water after nearly two large states of just moving through without being asked beyond one front door frame. It is hard to describe the intoxicating effect of morning bread rising to heat in the oven and then out in a smell as old as time, walking barefoot on carpet to the computer with my morning cup as Jessie and Ian, Ron and Debra's daughter and son skirt about ideas that go into filling a summer day without the tax of school.
Ron and I went on a field trip yesterday to find a new set of tires for the cart. Worland, just north of here by 30 miles, provided the raw supplies for new shafts, tires and of course we just had to peek in a few outdoor shops with new toys any adult kid would just drool over, from packs to rifles, sling-shots just acking to shard a window, and a hillside of new hats. I made fun of the long horn steer pin ( that looked like plastic ) on Ron's new hat until he gave it to me for my Tilley....whoops.
Yesterday Ron and I rebuilt my rolling kit with Ron's addition of much taller tires that would no longer need a running start to roll over three inches of sage beside a ditch.
It is near the hour to leave again. Young Ian has a cast on his arm that today he'll have checked at the doctors office. I remember the pathetic tender pale flesh,all tone and strength flown, when I had my cast cut from the length of my leg so long ago. Leaving is alot like this. The large protective cast of family is carefully pulled away with delicate intention and strained good-byes till, before I know it, I am naked on the walk again with my pack too heavy with new supplies, lighter with new memories, and under me... is all the road in the world.

03 June 2007

Thermopolis,WY, A Church and a Prayer

No matter how beautiful the world is that is spinning around me, the rain does fall too hard when it comes or for too long, and the wind moves through me until true warmth is reduced to memory, and the small Zip-stove fire warming water for tea dallies toward a boil. I have slept a night here under this road in a concreate pipe that I can barely sit up in, and I been more than thankful for it.. Water dribbles in with the droan of the wind that roams about with the lions in the sage, around boulders, forever hungry. Behind my head I put my water jugs and tie three silks around my neck to slow a possible bite, while at my feet are my staples and tack. There are no trees to taunt a bear with my food bundle swinging above like a pendulum, so the food bag is a cork in the pipe near my feet till morning. Pepper spray for bears(for any threat) rests by my head. Pulling my face into a shard of fleece blanket I found in New Mexico before the bullets, before the spring, I think of dry feet to come, and the loves of this life that I have wandered out of...too perfectly. It is the season of prayer; the season of need(...the season of perpetual need). My heart has been too tight for weeks. I pray for the fist in my chest to open,to relax and my intentions decend like a cold balloon. I pray and then I can sleep easily. Some camps ease the wear of the day. Some camps are just snakes, stone and sand that make the heart hurt waiting for morning to come. Always I am thrilled when morning wanders into camp with new promise...and it is always the same promise. Another road has secrets to tell me, strangers to meet perhaps, a bit of red fabric blow into the bunchgrass that I can knot on my pack as if if it is worth a trade in gold, a shard of bone to shape with my knife to ease my need to create, and just maybe a voice will visit me along this next road that understands this walking, and we will talk until the key is turned off and I can not feel this pack on my shoulder or this cart cutting over a hundred pounds into my abs over countless mountains.

When I get to Thermopolis I am again a filter that can hold no more road in my shirt, in my pants. I pray for little things. A store to come with cart tires to replace the two worn through wheels on my cart. Kindness of a stranger. Hope for a flat to set my tent on rare green grass, and maybe some good words will come to my heart that will feed the spiritual part of me that is now as hungry as the flesh. The twin cart tires are torn open, and heels have left my shoes.
I have checked every shop coming into town to no avail. Evening falls as I pass the Open Bible Church. The lawn is being mowed by Ron Higgins. I ask if I could safely sleep in the park. "Yeah, you could sleep in the park for a free night in jail," says Charlie, a kind face leaning against an old pick-up outside the church.
Ron no sooner meets me than he offers to let me set camp outside the single story building he is mowing around. In ten minutes the offer has become a hotel room. "Really Ron, I just need a place to pop up my house. I happy having grass under me."
"You wouldn't take away my chance to give a blessing to you and your journey would you? Let me give this to you. That ground must get hard after a while?" Ron is smiling as we load his truck with my gear, and I am still amazed at the power of faith.
Every prayer I have planted has sprouted a harvest bigger that the piece of fruit I asked for. As we drive to the motel I mouth the words thank you to the ceiling of the truck.

All my clothes are washed in the sink and hung about like twenty camp ghost wearing socks and fleece, pants and shirts worn through past being soft. Too happy to sleep, I flop about on the bed and make four pots of tea without the need of a fire. When the sun comes up I am just coming down.

Cody is not far up the road I travel. 80 miles or so. Charlie told me about the four or five separate griz he has seen twenty miles up the road from here. I have worn the fear of bears down just as I did being afraid of jumping as a paratrooper in my army training. At first, as a young soldier, I thought today I am really going to die. And then I jumped and I began to see and live in color, no longer limited by my fear. Rubbed with my fingers long enough, this fear of the great grizzly has become much the same, And so I walk with eyes open in a new prayers in my mouth that taste like falling.