The Devil’s Paint Pot

     Riding still further west; chasing his vision, and escaping the terrible violence at the trading post, old cowboy rode straight for the Rocky Mountains. Following canyon and stream, climbing higher and higher, he rode steadily on. He was following faint trails now that belonged to the ancient peoples of this land.

     Soon grasslands were far behind, and surrounded by forests of birch, aspen and conifers he continued to climb. God had blessed this place with game of all kinds. Where he had seen buffalo and antelope in the grasslands, he now saw wolf, elk, moose and deer. Peace once more descended on his soul as the high country brought him ever closer to God.

     Twice he passed the elevated burial platforms of the peoples of this land, careful to pass widely with the respect his Choctaw training had instilled, and although he continued to see small parties of Indians; they, like him, seemed to respect the beauty of this magical place and to leave him alone. He first heard the roar, and then passed the marvel of a giant waterfall in his climb. The mustangs never slipped or missed a step.

     Finally he toped out in a wonderland which could not have been created in the wildest imaginations of man. The soils were of all colours, with steam vents and even the earth bubbling all around. With geysers, steam vents and bubbling pots of coloured mud, surely this must be the devil’s own paint pot. And standing in the middle was a large grizzly bear!

     Windy began to dance and side-step, the pack-horses started to buck, and fear ran through the old cowboy. But like a miracle, his vision seemed to descend upon the scene, the image of his true love materialized between bear and man. The bear went back to all four, and then turning with what looked like a glance at the vision, he quietly walked away to the northwest. Once again the vision of that beautiful and haunting face had come back to lead the old cowboy’s final quest.

© 2003/2010 ~ David L. Griffith

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