“Storm in Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rosalie,” Albert Bierstadt, 1869, WikiArt.

Part 6: Erenay, Rushing Waters

From Griz McKinley’s Rocky Mountain cabin,
I, Aaron Ross, struggle to write this last entry
In my prairie diary. Weeks have passed since
Harrowing events. Thunder-awakened, Dane-
Zah took to horse-corralling, distant mountain
Peaks lightning erupting, slate grey clouds
Roiling, torrential rain descending, Galloping
Wind advised, “Threatening sign for prairie
Peoples, Holy Ones angered.” Condemning
Eyes focused on Erenay and myself, as others
Struggled with rearing horses, breaking free,
Ran to higher ground. Hard wind, rain upon
Us, we abandoned camp, fear of flash floods,
Wall of roaring water, debris, crushing, killing
All in devouring path.

Torn from my hand-grip, Erenay camp-returned
For sacred stones, clap of thunder, lightning
Strike, she fell headlong into rushing waters.
Next morning, Galloping Wind and I searched
For Erenay, river shores cut-collapsed, trees
Torn away at roots. Half-buried in sand, I found
Pale, listless body, her face to air exposed.
Breaths I gave Erenay, first of coughing fits,
She awakened, whispered, “I am no longer
Myself, separated from Holy Ones.” Alas!
Divine sight lost, Erenay was transformed
To mortal Dane-zah woman.

All present at washed-out stream, placed blame
On me, loving Erenay, taking her as my own.
Of maps she still wondered, mere line-drawings
Occupying her days. Winter in high-country,
First skiff of wind-blown snow, Griz offered this
Advice, “You must return what you have taken
For Dane-zah to winter-survive.” Yet, Erenay
Sleeps in warmth of cabin hearth fires, clutching
Water-washed stones, faint memories of divine
Sight, when gods of snow-capped peaks guided
Prairie peoples. For now, I close this dairy,
Snowshoes we mend, pemmican, warm
Clothes Griz and I pack.

For now the story ends until Aaron Ross writes more pages in
his diary, leaves mountain  highlands, returns to with Erenay
to Dane-zah prairie Indians. Thanks for reading.

Social profiles