Celeste came out of her tent wearing her daisy duke shorts, and a red t-shirt that stated “Believe” backwards. The old man had to take a double look at her shirt. She loved this soft cotton t-shirt, even if the words were written backwards. When looking in the mirror, it gave her encouragements, and hope to believe in all things in life. Odd as it sounds, it worked for her.
Celeste took note how the old man was not bothered by Wolf. In fact, Wolf laid down, watching every move the man made, while he built a fire for tonight’s dinner. “That sure is a weird shirt girl, you read backwards?” The old man asked her with amusement. She tried to figure out his different kind of dialect when he spoke. Not wanting to reply, she limped her way towards the man, and wolf. Sat down on the ground cross legged, next to Wolf, and began stroking the animal’s fur, while observing the stranger, as minutes ticked away.
“You gonna just sit there and not talk woman? Or are you not done, checking me out?” Celeste was homing onto the strangers interesting aura, when he spoke out sharply. “Old man, I am a wonderin’ why you are high in the mountains trapping? Unless you live here in the forgotten valley of the Sangre de Cristo’s.” The elder looked at Celeste with deep thoughts, not giving her a reply, he just smiled his toothless grin at her.
The man put a small pot onto the fire and threw in a bunch of grounded herbs, while he chanted blessing to the pot, adding water. Celeste really became interested, when he spoke his odd dialect to the funky smelling concoction. “What language you speakin’, and watcha makin’, dude?” she inquired. “Same language you do girl, Indian! What I am making woman, is a poultice for that ankle of yours. It looks pretty angry right now.” Celeste looked at the ring around her ankle. It was swollen, black and blue, becoming infected, she was unsure if she would lose the foot. She lightly rubbed the injury, while giving the old man a dirty look.
The man paid her no attention, while he stirred the mixture of herbs. He set it aside, then put a frying pan on the fire, producing three big raw pieces of meat, out of his large backpack, wrapped in cheese cloth. He gently laid down one piece of the raw meat on the ground. Wolf wagged his tail and licked his chops. “Don’t touch, dog!” He pointed his crooked finger at the canine. Celeste raised an eyebrow at the man, while she watched his aged hands throw the other two raw pieces into the hot pan. The smell of food made Celeste lick her lips. Hunger like no other invaded her senses, while the aroma of meat was cooking.
She watched the man wipe his hands on a wet cloth, then asked Celeste, “Give me that leg woman.” Celeste obeyed. Wolf began to growl at the man for touching her. The man smiled at wolf and spoke with care. “Have no fear, my wolf brother, I will not harm her.” He then pointed at the piece of meat on the ground and said to the wolf…”Eat,” Wolf didn’t hesitate. He quietly ate his meat while the man was able to pack the poultice around her ankle in thick globs. When finished, he wrapped her leg with cheese cloth tenderly.
Peace, calm, feelings overwhelmed Celeste. The poultice sooth the intense pain away, she laid down on the ground taking deep relief breaths, relishing in the coolness of the concoction. While hearing wolf chew on his dinner in her ear. “Oh Jesus, that feels bitchen babe! It’s almost better than an orgasm.” The old man roared with laughter. His laughter echoed throughout the valley. Celeste smiled with relief, while listening to his rich sounds of happiness.
“You will heal in a few days, just don’t get it wet and leave it wrapped. I think you will be able to keep that foot if you obey the rules! Now let me see that cut above your eye.” Celeste sat up, and admired his work, softly speaking while he applied a thin layer of the poultice above her eye.
“Much appreciated, sir; but rules don’t apply to me. Now I know how it feels to be a trapped animal. I wish it upon no creature of Mother Earth.” They both sat quietly staring at each other. Celeste wondered where he got that ugly scar. He was not American Indian, but Indian no less. She centered herself, and looked deeper into his soul. “STOP that, half-breed! I feel what you’re are doing!” he barked at her dangerously.
Celeste wanted to show her stunned reaction, but held firm. This was her first time meeting someone, who felt what she was doing, when she probed into their souls. The old man turned his attention to the cooking meat, not saying a word. When the meat was finished, he handed her a piece to eat. Quickly accepting, Celeste shoved the hot meat into her mouth. Savoring the tender meat, she asked the man what kind of meat it was. “Bear, woman, I like bear meat, good to work with, doesn’t spoil quickly. It makes, good jerky.” Celeste now understood who the trap was set for.
“Your not allowed to hunt bear old man, in these neck of the woods.” The man gave her a blank look, then returned his attention on cutting the rest of the meat. “Why you here old one? Are you by yourself?” Celeste asked. The man replied, “You ask too much questions, girl. Just eat, and we will talk later; because, I too want to learn, why a woman is out in this rugged country by herself, walking around nude!”
Celeste smiled how witty the elder was. This was going to be an interesting conversation, and perhaps a friendship made in heaven. Especially when she got a small taste of his half-breed soul. Oh…what many ghost we hide in our closets…Celeste thought to herself while eating the bear meat with gusto.