Tale of Two Wolves

Leaving late fro greylock, our stuff dried and our bellies full from breakfast, the three of us reunited headed down the mountain to the road. I was sore and I hdi how serious my injury was as we hiked down. It quickly became obvious to me that I couldn’t keep up with he two of them in this condition. My IT was strained and going downhill was tougher than normal. Each step strained my support muscles, draining and weakening them. I fell behind the other two and soon found myself alone in my hike, alone with just my music.

I was happy knowing that I had gotten Earthling to the top and that it had made a difference for her hike. In truth I spent a great deal of time thinking about the previous day as I climbed down the mountain. I just wanted to get to town for some eat food and get off my feet. My ankles were not sore but my leg hurt like hell. Trying hard to hide my limp as I went down I thought of the story I had told Earthling the day before on our way up the mountain.

There is a story I heard long ago about two wolves. old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.  “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”  The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”  The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

I wondered what battled on inside of her as I reached the steep climb down. I had fallen a few times by now and was growing steadily more irritated as I caught her on the way down. We picked up right where we left off, walking and talking. It wouldn’t be long before we caught Flailing and we’re walking down the street like a band of outlaws. Each of us taking up some section of the empty road as we walked. We had just one thought on our mind now, food. Eating our fill of pizza Flailing and I tried to catch Earthling on the way out. She was always so quick and on the move, staying with her has been a challenge to say the least.

The two of us pushed hard up the next mountain and marble staircase past Earthling and even catching our long lost friends Deja Vu and Zen. The four of us hiked over the state line and into Vermont for another state down. Deja Vu had deemed the straight up rock climb over marble the marble staircase as we sat at the line and rested. Waiting for Earthling the five of us pushed to the next shelter to rest and enjoy the small victory. Tired and thirsty I went to bed with no dinner and slept untested.

One thought on “Tale of Two Wolves

  1. Now I get it! Researching for my historical novel, CAPTAIN’S CROSS, I was trying to find an appropriate name for an Iroquois warrior who was struggling with the tribal world and the European world and his place within that struggle. You guessed it: Two Wolves. Just a taste of CAPTAIN’S CROSS: They encountered their first Indians the next day. Ben crossed their track mid morning and they found him dismounted and watering his horse where a feeder stream came into the creek. The band of six Mohawk hunters were afoot and three were armed with old Dutch muskets. Ben remembered the oldest of the group and greeted them. The two younger boys were eying Ben’s mare so he shifted his stance to put his long rifle squarely in their view.

    “You have heavy packs, your hunting must be good,” Ben spoke to them in their language. They made no indication they heard or understood him just standing still.

    After a moment the oldest spoke in English, “You have left your great canoe and come to us once again, I see. We will join your camp tonight and you will talk with us of your crossing the great waters.” He looked straight at Ben for his reaction.

    Ben spoke in Iroquois so all of them would understand, “You are most welcome to share our fire. We have fresh meat to cook and many words to share as well.” Without answering the Indian turned and moved off toward the crew followed by the younger warriors. Mounting the mare, Ben slipped past them and soon found Bear organizing the oxcarts for the night.

    “Six Mohawk coming in for the night with us, Bear. Led by Two Wolves. They look like they are about loaded out with meat and skins and may be headed home.” Ben watched Bear snarl his lip. Bear did not like the Iroquois but only the Seneca were in danger near him. He tolerated the other Tribes, though not easily.

    “I’ll have Hans and the Old Man keep a sharp eye on the horses then. We’ll see what they know. I’ll get some of the trade goods out for them,” Bear said and moved off to find the Old Man.

    Thomas was about to jump out of his skin waiting for their visitors. He watched the trees and saw the Indians approaching. Ben had given him the other pistol to wear in his belt but warned him not to be afraid. The Mohawk were usually at good terms with the colonists and Ben had dealt with Two Wolves in the past and had no reason to be suspicious, yet.

    The crew were all standing apart from each other and all were either holding or standing within arm’s reach of their rifles. As the area near the fire filled the Indians found places to drop their heavy packs and sit. The crew joined them and soon Jeffrey was passing out bowls of meat, squash and beans. The Indians ate without talking and did not look down at the food instead kept their eyes on the crew and the hobbled horses behind the carts. Bear ate quickly and spread out a variety of trade goods next to Two Wolves who looked uneasy as the larger man sat.

    “We have knives and cloth, even needles for sewing. Now that you are filled we can talk of trade,” Bear said. One of the young men leaned forward to touch the items Bear had spread before him but jumped back at a grumble from Two Wolves.

    “Our packs are now heavy so we need little more to add to the weight,” Two Wolves said. Bear told them of their summer and the fight with the French. The two younger warriors betrayed their thoughts with wide eyes and Ben noticed them glance at each other while Bear spoke. So much in the wide world outside of these mountains. Two Wolves sat silently and only nodded when Bear told him of the death of Michele at the hands of his own countrymen.

    “Our enemies are now to be our friends. Our Brothers of the Hills have sent us word of the French and their trail of forts. I see a time of storms there,” Two Wolves said.

    The two younger warriors sat next to Thomas and were very interested in his rifle and the short sword he carried. They spoke quietly to each other and Thomas overheard one wishing Thomas would sleep so soundly that the rifle and sword would wish to leave him and go with them home to their village.

    Thomas let that settle in the night air for a few minutes and then said to the boy nearest him in Iroquois, “Would you like a biscuit soaked in honey before you fall into your own sleep?” Offering the startled lad the treat with a sly grin.

    It took an hour more but finally Two Wolves asked for two of the pack horses. Bear did not directly refuse but made the trade only for some of the goods displayed and then began to pack the rest away. Two Wolves seemed to lose interest and left it to one of the other older men to pull furs from their packs to complete the trade. Two Wolves settled with his back against his load and went to sleep.

    The scene takes place i what we now know as Catskills just north of where the AT crosses New York. Imagine how the woods around you would have looked in 1753 before logging ad settlers changed it. The book is under contract and will be published next year. March on!

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