Friday, February 11, 2011

Chief Joseph


Original Photo - Chief Joseph Canyon
I had another dream. Our family was on vacation, traveling through a mountainous region of steep, timbered hills. It was beautiful country and I remarked it looked more like a park than a wilderness.

After several hours of winding road we needed to stretch. A sign announced a historical site and we pulled into the wayside. The large parking area was unpaved and edged by a low stone wall. It did little but warn the visitor of the thousand foot drop on the other side.

Danielle, aged six, ran up from behind, dodged around me and headed toward the wall.  I yelled for her to stop, but she ignored me and kept on running. Just like in a horror movie, she tripped and fell. I threw myself forward, but was too late. Only the tips of my fingers brushed hers. For a moment, she hug suspended in mid air, her eyes clearly reflecting her terror. Slowly she fell away and disappeared into the rocks and trees thousands of feet below.

I collapsed in tears, my body shaking with grief. I heard a noise and looked up. An old Indian man walked toward me, carrying my daughter. He broke her fall and save her life.
******
A year later, while on vacation, we drove through  the Wallowa Mountains of northern Oregon. The steep hillsides, timbered and without the usual underbrush, were some of the most beautiful country I had seen. I commented it looked more like a park than a National forest.

We passed a sign announcing a historical site. After hours in the car we all needed to get out and stretch. Ase we pulled in and parked, I felt a chill as if I had suddenly been plunged into a tank of cold water. The spot was the same one I had seen in my dream.

I grabbed Danielle's hand and held on tight in spite of her ardent protests. With her in tow, I walked over to the historical marker. The cold feeling intensified. Chief Joseph was born in a cave below where we stood.

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