Get Your Premium Membership

Soul Stance River - 30

The Columbia is a smooth beast that has introduced us to a semi tropic clime
that produces a bewildering humidity even for November
and a panoply of tree types that canopy the mossy turfs
from a sky that is often sullen,
the Flat Head Indians say the sky cries much from missing the ocean's song,
these people tie boards to their infants soft skulls to make them grow conical, 
the more sloped the forehead the more attractive those are esteemed,
the Flat Heads are a shy, meditative people
and are the only Indians we've encountered that collect and value gold
this custom has caught the attention of many but Clark and I dissuade
our men from enquiry or barter for raw, unworked nuggets,
covert gold scouting is a priority that thy he President gave me personally, exclusively, 
no one knows that I've been studying mineral deposits,
charting gold veins in the mountains,  prospecting for the U.S.
like a spider in the night,
up to this point its been a non issue, it must remain that way,
the Chinooks actually build wooden huts, some resemble shacks,
this is probably from being in contact with European merchant ships,
trade abounds on the coast, even the Russians have made periodic landings for furs,
the coastal tribes have been considerably influenced
evidenced by the red and blue fabrics they possess
along with jackets, hats, axes, handguns and curse words they've acquired,
these Indians are very shady, scoundrels with hands and haggling,
stealing is an instinct and seemingly a pathological sport for them
we constantly have things stolen from us as they rove around the camps
yesterday Cruzzatte found a boy attempting to snatch his fiddle
and today Thomas was yanking a teenage ruffian around by the hair
in an attempt to retrieve his axepipe from the culprit's friends,
its a surreal situation,
the Chinook are providing us with efficient foods
and the sugar of their women for those who crave,
the prices for both are extreme but acceptable to keep the canoes skipping,
so their business is welcome
but their justice is seldom
and we can't afford to lose our currency piecemeal in knives, fishing hooks, beads, guns etcetera
if we are going to return through here in Spring to the Mandans and survive,
we want to be patient and kind
but a harsh hand is sometimes necessary to avert loss,
and the mission is always outnumbered, vulnerable to savagery,
we just want to get to the Pacific
every one of us has an epic in our eyes
and the blue blood of that ocean will give life to our glory
it will validate everything we've endured, put success in our mission as soldiers,
hopefully we will negotiate a ride with a trading ship
that will sail us around the continent back into the rituals and routines of civilization, 

J.A.B.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2015




Post Comments
Please Login to post a comment
Date: 12/31/2015 3:41:00 AM
"and the blue blood of that ocean will give life to our glory.." It's beautiful and encouraging that their eyes are set with hope. Always, Laura
Login to Reply