Thomas Doty – Storyteller

Siskiyou Pass

Image.


Away From the Very First War

I walk downcreek from Cottonwood Glades between stereo screeches of red-tailed hawks and the imitative screams of jays and crows. Moving toward midsummer, the creek flows sluggishly, skunk cabbage has burnt to spiny stalks, and the glades blaze with yellow and red and purple wildflowers.

This made-for-a-postcard picture seems worlds away from the "Knife in Belly" Indian name for this place. It was here the first war was fought because a fellow named Jackrabbit cut down too many trees. Now cottonwoods and aspens flourish, birds screech and scream, wildflowers blaze like the summer suns they pretend to be.

I traipse downcreek toward midsummer, away from the hacking blade of the very first war.