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Soul Stance River - 25

A warparty of 60 Shoshone warriors has just stampeded into the meadow
faces painted red and white for blood and death, all sorts of strange designs,
bows and arrows ready to fly on us, skull breaking cudgels raised up,
the woman runs out to them shouting for mercy, 
I lay my gun down and approach the dismounted Indians who begin to joyfully exclaim
" Ah hi e...Ah hi e..." with arms widened, " Ah hi e...Ah hi e..."
meaning, " I am much pleased, I am much rejoiced..."
they embrace me, one by one with the tribal hug of " brotherly love " ,
chest to chest, hand to back, ear to ear,
the weight of beckoning bloodshed lifting off my soul
like an iron hand from my throat,
this is a miracle of goodwill that shall carry the Corps of Discovery through the horizon, 
together we traveled to the lodging area they call the Idaho,
in a grand leather tepee we sat on sacred skins and lit the pipe,
Chief Cameahwait and his People keeping refering to us as,
" Children of the Great Spirit " ,
in the hours that passed I quizzed Cameahwait about the terrain
the west way, being informed that a tribe called the Nez Perce lived over the mountains, 
that passage was exceedingly difficult,
he told me that the river disappeared into the peaks
that the trails were a maze of timber and rock obstacles to the other side
but every year the Nez came through it to partner with them in small trade and hunt,
the chief confirmed the Columbia River to the west
which led to a large lake of fowl water,
he made me maps in the dirt to emphasize the mountain's jealous division of the land,
I listened like an owl to the moonlight
as he lamented his enemies control of the Plains via access to firearms
which forced his tribe to furtively hunt the buffalo and scavange as mice do
always having to retreat and live hidden in the protection of the big stones,
the Spanish trade no spears of lightning, the English little better,
the disadvantage is endangering their existence, 
I sympathize with him like a leaf deflecting raindrops from the eyes of a sparrow,
before sleep the men and I ate excellent salmon, my first taste of such
along with some cherry bread,
in the morning we will rendezvous with Clark and Sacagawea on the river,

Waking from a slumber deep as oblivion
I've walked out from the tent into the twilight of a yawning heart
reflecting on how we are 3, 000 "river miles" away from St. Louis,
wondering how our families are feeling about the odds of our survival
of all the bodily suffering and exotic encounters we've managed,
some quiet force directs my eyes to the heavens
and I see a burst of meteors pass over a mountain peak
streaks of whitish green in silent glory
alive with the speed of exuberance, 
I am reassured that we can overcome this mighty mountain range
that no other American has ever known,
Clark and the crew have arrived right on the morning's chilled breath,
everything about us is a marvel to the Indians
our camouflaged canoes, style of our animal skin attire,
the weapons, the way our faces speak of voyager virtue,
York, as always is a brute marvel
they wonder of his origin,  what his medicine is,
translation is established by Sacagawea speaking Shoshone then translating into Hidatsa
with Charbonneau converting that into French and Private Labiche
weaving the French into English for Clark and I,
a chain of communication that can strangle the patience out of a monk
yet there is something enchanting about the comingling of culture and concepts,
just as I am begining to express the meaning of sovereignty
I notice that Sacagawea is heating up with hysteria,
with tears of sweet shock pouring from her traumatized eyes
she creeps to the side of Chief Cameahwait
touching his gaunt cheek with fingertips that know weathered sorrow
as they seem to realize simultaneously that they are brother and sister,
they embrace like hearts to life
and everyone cheers the reunion of blood to destiny,
an astonishing blessing of Providence all witness,
this miracle clinches the commitment of the Shoshone to the Corps of Discovery
wherein we promise them the favor of U.S. trade and arms
and they agree to provide the invaluable horses we will need to traverse the Rockies,
trust is breathing in our beliefs,


Copyright © | Year Posted 2015

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Date: 12/31/2015 2:21:00 AM
Ahhh, this just warms my heart, brings tears to my eyes..."I sympathize with him like a leaf deflecting raindrops from the eyes of a sparrow..." I love that line..the metiror shower over the mountain peak was an amazing scene as well...Always, Laura
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Justin Bordner
Date: 1/2/2016 5:59:00 PM
Continued...The arduous translation route, and the unbelievable reunion of Sacagawea and Chief Cameahwait is in the historical record, amazing isn't it Laura...J.A.B.
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Justin Bordner
Date: 1/2/2016 5:56:00 PM
Yeah Laura, sometimes in the quiet nights of my walks I see shooting stars, their speed and light are stunning, magic in the heavens, I always make a wish upon their breaths. When I saw the mountain peaks in twilight the signs just burst above, I knew it was right in this moment of destiny. The way our faces speak of voyager virtue...J.A.B.