Monday, November 12, 2018

An Executive Decision

The wagon trail was far behind me when I saw ahead, a fort. A fort? Here on the prairie? 

I figured the captain would know all the forts along the trail, but I hadn't heard about this one.

Well, I was the Scout, wasn’t I? It was up to me to investigate. It would give me a feel about the people living here. Was it a military post, or a protectorate for the settlers? Perhaps it was a trading post, but not likely a fur trading post, out here on the prairie. Perhaps a supply post. Or it could be for American and Indian negotiations.

Soldiers and families rushed out to see who was riding into their midst, and I was welcomed. However, a shock-wave descended over the group when they saw that I was female. I heard murmurings from the people who had gathered.  “A female scout?” A woman riding astride? “Who does she think she is?

On man made a lewd remark that made me feel slimed.

One friendly young soldier took my horse into the stable saying he would feed and water it.

I was new to the group, and an oddity, and soon some of the people warmed to me, especially the girls. But within the group, I heard rumors and innuendoes and downright prejudices about people that were not to their liking. I was an American settler, that was okay, however, they were hostile to the red man, thinking he ought to be removed from “Their” land.

I thought of my little four-year-old Apache brother my momma adopted when his parents were killed.  I pray he never hears this.

The people in the fort didn’t trust the influx of people coming across the border either. They felt entitled to this land and the “foreigners” ought to stay out. 

The cattle ranchers didn’t like the sheepherders for the sheep nibbled the grass too short for the cattle to wrap their tongues around. 

Most of the ranchers didn’t like the wild horses which they believed were taking valuable fodder away for their domestic animals.

The people cut the trees and trapped the wild things for food and profit without thanking the Great Spirit for providing sustenance for them. Someone even suggested that the United States ought to build a WALL between our country and the one next to it. 

I couldn’t believe it. I wanted out of there. 

During a moment of calm, I slipped away, ran to the stable, mounted my horse and beat-hoof out of there, hoping nobody followed me. 

I was once again in the open air galloping across a prairie so vast that I believed it would provide for all the peoples who braved coming here. 

But I wondered, should I tell those courageous souls in the wagons, those hopeful souls that believe a new life lies ahead, about the fort?
Those wagoners will endure days in the blistering sun. They will ford rivers, and fix broken wagons, and search for good grass and water for their oxen and horses because without food, those animals, they so depend upon, will not survive.

They believe that making their milk cow walk the distance with them is worth its struggle, for it will provide nourishment for their children. But getting enough food into the animal is a day to day battle.

Those courageous adventurers believe they will find a land ahead to be more forgiving and fertile than the prairie they are trudging through or the land they left behind. The land ahead will be beyond wonderful. Ahead is the dream. Their children will grow up in freedom. Their children will have an education, they will see to that, and their children’s lives will be more illustrious, abundant and successful than their own. 

I decided to divert the wagon train and miss the fort altogether.

There was nothing there for them.

P.S. A covered wagon held about 2,000 pounds of goods. 

People were advised to carry enough food to feed their individual families for at least 5 months. Wagons held dried food and staples like flour, sugar, a substance similar to baking soda, coffee, tea, cornmeal, bacon, crackers, dried meats, dried fruits, dried beans, split peas, oatmeal, vinegar, salt port, potatoes, rice, yeast, salt, and a barrel of water. 

They made their clothes, so they brought needles, thread, pins, scissors, and sometimes even cloth and leather. And they had to be prepared for repairs to the wagons and tack, so they brought saws, nails, knives, hammers, shovels, and string. Tools were important but heavy, so they had to be carefully selected.

Food:  The pioneers created recipes to cook over a campfire. Baking bread was a daily activity. 

Bacon was the second most popular food item on the trail. The most common meat was probably squirrel. There was the milk cow that some families took with them. Some engineering woman invented Coffee cake on the trail, made mostly with dried fruit. 

Clothes: Clothes had to last. The clothing the pioneers bought with them was all they had to wear unless they could buy or trade for clothes along the trail.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Circle the Wagons

Write as if you'll never be read. That way you'll be sure, to tell the truth. LORI LANSENS 

I don't think we have a clue about our fellow man.

After writing about #Negativity Bias in the last blog I still wondered about people. Are we sitting at home in front of our tee vees gobbling up negativity while wondering why we feel like we have been dragged through a knothole backward?

If the media said that 138,000 people escaped poverty last year, as well as the one hundred years before that, that data would slide off us.

Progress is slow.

But an explosion? That's instantaneous.  A powerful brain hit.  

We preserve that explosion like mom canned her string beans in a mason jar. The brain takes out our mason jars filled with jaw-dropping memories and serves those memories for hors d’oeuvres.

On an eight-minute clip of an interview with Steven Pinker on the Joe Rogan show, Pinker said, and gives evidence to support it, that the world is becoming better fewer wars, better education, medical advances, progress on lessening pollution.  However, since 1950, the media has become 70% worse. (Judged by the use of negative words used.) 

Where does that leave us?

Okay, we get up from our chair and poke our heads out the window, and the little birdies are chirping and flying limb to limb.

Hey, look at that! It’s not so bad after all.

John F. Kennedy said.
“Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man.

Ever since I saw the movie Alpha about how dog's (aka wolves) and humans connected I have been intrigued with what the Native Americans called the Sacred Path. 

It is the path laid down by our ancestors in an attempt to show us the way to go, to help us find the big game that will sustain us through the winter. The Scout, the Shaman the Medicine woman, are all there to help us. All point to the physical and spiritual path. 

Recently I have been calling myself "The Scout" as in covered wagon days when a rider went out to search the area, and bring back news of the safest route to take, where to find the narrowest strip of river to cross, if there were hostiles in the vicinity and the best place to circle the wagons for the night.

I'm here to scout the Sacred Path, whatever that might be, and wherever it might take us.

I am neither a Shaman nor a Medicine Woman; I’m a seeker and a self-proclaimed Scout. 

When I lay something by the campfire, be it story or fact, it is for you to pick up or leave. It’s simply something I found on the trail. 

My “Tribe” will find me. 

As I clip-clop along the trail, I think that by innuindo the world is screwy, yet when I get back to the wagon train I notice how helpful people are, how ingenious, how friendly. All in all, it looks pretty good.

And here on this day in November, the world looks rosy, the bird's chirp, the deciduous trees are trading in their pajamas, yellow and red, and magenta, for a naked hibernation. They will hover under a blanket of frost or snow or ice, but come spring they will throw off their covers, and push out sweet buds that become silky leaves that shine with golden drops of sun, and spin in the rays of summer.

No scout worth their saddle soap would leave without adding something of value to the tribe. 

As I was riding hell-bent for leather down a mountain path, I caught this tidbit from Tim Harris. (The Four-hour Work Week) It’s his take of the gratitude list.

Each day put three things on your list.
1.     Name a person you are grateful for:
Not your kids, your spouse, or your girlfriend, you will use them up in a hurry, but someone from history, someone from high school, that teacher who sent you down a different path.
2.   Whatever you want
3.   Something small:
Potato chips, birdies, sunshine.

I am grateful for you.
I am grateful for my warm house.
I am grateful for the iced tea I sip as I write this.

See you after the next ride,

Scout, Tonto's horse--how about being named after him? I wonder though, why is Tonto riding with a saddle?