Spring is a beautiful, sometimes violent, time of year here at Red Canyon Ranch. This spring has alternated with a little of both. We’ve had several stunning rainstorms that scoured the creek in front of the house and washed our road down to bedrock. It’s one of the challenges of living in the wilderness. You need to be prepared just in case Nature decides to show you who’s really in charge.
For the past few days, we’ve been fixing the fences along the creek that were torn out by the most recent deluge. It’s hard work, but rewarding in a way that’s hard to describe. While we’re pounding posts and stringing wire, we pull fresh watercress from the crystal clear water to snack on, and watch the flocks of blue herons flying overhead. This morning we had a herd of fifty elk on the slope above us. They are a very vocal animal. They talk to each other all the time and their calls are so melodic, it’s like a symphony echoing across the mountains.
We swear there’s a primal familiarity to the sounds and smells of the natural world, the snowy woods and wet earth, the sunlight falling through the trees, the sounds of buffalo playing in the snow. It’s as though the souls of our ancestors live in our genes, and they know those calls. Because they remember them. There’s a kind of memory that is about your personal past, but we also wonder if there isn’t a kind of memory that goes much deeper, back to the origins of who we are as human beings. The first time you hear a wolf’s howl carrying on the wind, you understand, because in your heart you find yourself running with wolves, hunting with them, your breath frosting in the air before you. Does one of your ancestors, still alive inside you, remember that? Maybe they all do, and that’s what makes it so powerful. Maybe there’s an ancestral echo chamber inside each of us. It’s fun to think about.
By the way, for those who’ve asked, our buffalo bottle-baby, Mia, is doing really well. We just released her with the herd and she’s out frolicking through the meadow with her best friends Sapphire and Cleo, and two cows, Stardust and SusieQ. Raising a buffalo calf on bottles of milk is always a learning experience. Mostly, we learn how much smarter buffalo are than we are.
On the book front, we’ve just begun to write a story we’ve wanted to write for over twenty years. PEOPLE OF THE CANYONS is about the Fremont culture that spanned the Southwestern United States around a thousand years ago. The story begins in a place you are all familiar with from PEOPLE OF THE SILENCE and the Anasazi Mysteries: Talon Town. It’s about a ten-year-old slave girl who steals a pot from the Blessed Sun, the chief of the Straight Path nation, and flees northward to try and find her lost family. Little does she know that the pot contains the trapped soul of a legendary witch. Her true adventure begins when she tries to open it.
We hope all of you have a beautiful and serene spring.
Michael and Kathleen
Most recent books:
PEOPLE OF THE SONGTRAIL came out in paperback in September, 2016, and SUN BORN, the sequel to PEOPLE OF THE MORNING STAR, came out in October in hardcover.