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white tail deer
rite of passage
underbrush
quail
High Wind
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High Wind

It was chill in the pre-morning dawn as Lakota crept from his den. Knowing the way the temperatures can fall after nightfall in the high country urged him to build a shelter in the hollow of a burned out tree from years ago. He was lucky to find this one... especially since the Blacks had taken over most of the hollows.

Silence greeted him as he surveyed the area around him. Already there were animal tracks in the light snow that had blanketed the mountain top during the night. He was not here for the game. This was a hunters paradise as white-tail deer and even elk use this mountain. Rabbit and fox abound in the scant underbrush, but he was not interested in them.

This was a ritual, a rite of passage. His father and his fathers father back into history, had all gone through this ritual. This was the first snow fall in the high country. Down at the lake, children were swimming and having fun. Lakota never realized where he was until it had already been too late to get back to the village, and that is what prompted him to proceed ever higher into the forest in search of the one thing that he would know when he found it.

He reached in his pocket for the large chunk of turkey jerky that had been put up last year, and took a slow, deliberate, but reverent bite, then put the chunk back into his pocket. He now knew what he was searching for, as he climbed ever higher into the growth. He glanced at the sun taking note of the approximate time as he mentally tried to speed his assent. He begin to mentally note various, hidden movements in the brush and had to calm himself when a covey of quail were roused from their resting place.

Higher and higher he went. Every time he broke through the brush to see a clear area he would head for that area, only to find that this clearing was not what he wanted. Time and again he went through the same routine only to be disappointed at the results. He was beginning to fear that he would have to spend another night on the cold sides of this mountain, when he stumbled and slid down a steep bank. He quickly became terrified as he discovered that there was open air only a few dozen yards from him and his slide was getting quicker. Grabbing a dead branch, he jabbed it into the ground and held on, knowing that if he failed in this attempt, there may never be time for another.

It held. Now he scrambled into a sitting position looking out over the slope. He had failed to notice that the slope he was on ended in a perched balcony overlooking the great expanse of nothing. Lakota slowly made his way down to the steep perch. He had found what he was seeking as he heard the wind singing in the open. This was his search and now that it was fulfilled, he made his way back home.


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