Welcome to another edition of Tuesday Tales, and more White Moon, Yellow Leaves, a M/F contemporary romance.
This week Dana and her son join Jonah for a walk through the woods that surround Mud Puppy Lake.
Our word this week is 'Bloom'. As always, all comments are greatly appreciated. Make sure to check out all the Tuesday Tales authors great contributions.
White Moon, Yellow Leaves
Jonah and Rhett were lakeside. I ambled over to them. Jonah was trying to teach Rhett how to skip rocks. It saddened me that the boy had to rely on a relative stranger to do things his father should be doing.
“So you like football or baseball better?” I heard Jonah asking as I walked up behind them, my hands crammed into the pockets of my heavy fleece jacket. “Try again." Jonah drew back and released his rock. It skipped several times, making the pristine reflections on the still lake bounce.
“I can`t help it,” the boy replied, his own attempt at rock-skipping ending in a single plunk. “My rock keeps sinking.”
Jonah laughed. It was a rich, warm sound that bounced off the oak and elm. “Hold it like this.” He then showed the lad the proper grip again. Leopold chose that moment to explode from the woods. His barks of greeting had the guys once more finding me behind them.
“Hey gents,” I said then smiled. Jonah smiled back. Rhett threw the rock as far as he could then ran after the never-tiring dachshund. Around the lake boy and dog went. I was exhausted just watching them. “I`m ready for our hike.”
Jonah nodded and we set off, stopping to wait by the lone dock for boy and dog to finish their lap and join us. Rhett would sleep like a fallen tree tonight, which would save me being kicked in the back until the wee hours.
The four of us began the hike by walking behind the line of camps. The grouse path was really nothing more than a heavily used deer path. Why it`s called a grouse path I don`t know. Over the years humans have made the deer path a part of a meandering trail that circles the lake. The path increases gradually at first, levels out, climbs again, and then really takes off. If you`re an intrepid sort you can try to follow the path the deer made up the rocky slope. I`ve never been off the path though and didn`t intend to start now. I`d get enough cardio staying on the lane hunters and weekend hikers used.
We walked in companionable silence for about fifteen minutes. Rhett and Leopold were finally beginning to show signs of fatigue when we huffed our way to the first rise. My son fell face first into the dewy leaves, the dog collapsed at his side, tongue lolling.
“Sweet Mary and Joseph,” I panted, slapping my hands to my knees. Jonah chuckled breathlessly. “I need to do this more often I guess,” I added.
“It gets better,” he teased as he walked past me. “Let`s grab a few breaths."
I straightened. Jonah had found a rock formation that looked down on the roofs of the cabins. I shuffled over, my hiking boots burrowing up wet leaves that released that damp smell of forest loam.
“I`d have to say ‘better’ is a rather subjective word, Mr. Big Deer.”
“True.” Jonah patted the rock next to where he was seated. I dropped down on it gratefully then took in the scenery while my breathing slowed. The air was still and the trees were dropping their offerings slowly. A sugar maple to my right let go of one of the few remaining leaves on its boughs. It fluttered down and I caught it. The ends were dried and curled but the middle held a tint of gold yet. I studied the veins, cradling the leaf carefully.
“When I was a child I used to think that God had gilded the leaves with gold,” I said. “I think I`ve always preferred the yellow leaves for that reason.”
“I always liked the red leaves myself,” Jonah interjected. I turned my hand over. The leaf joined the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of others on the ground. “When I was a kid Andy told us why the trees turned red in the fall.” He glanced over at me. “Would you like to hear the story?”
I nodded for him to tell the tale then called my son over. Once Rhett was situated on my thigh Jonah began speaking.
“Once there was a mighty bear that was making trouble for a village. He would circle the village, scaring away or eating the animals the people survived on. Hunting parties were sent out to kill the bear, as the people were close to starving. The hunters searched for days and days, following the tracks closely. One day they came upon the bear and shot him with arrows but it did not kill the bear, his skin was too thick and the arrows couldn`t pierce it. The bear grew angry and killed most of the warriors.
The survivors returned to the village and told their story. Party after party was sent out. None could slay the great bear. One night, as the bear stalked around the village, three brothers had the same dream. In the dream they saw themselves tracking and killing the great bear. They set off to find the bear and free the people from starvation."
I peeked at my son. He was spellbound.
I peeked at my son. He was spellbound.
"They tracked the great bear for days and days until they were at the end of the earth. The bear saw them coming and leaped into the sky. The three warriors followed the great bear into the heavens. The bear was slow and tired because his winter sleep was coming soon. The three hunters were able to get close to the drowsy bear and shoot their arrows into his body. His blood drips from his body and changes the leaves in fall, but, he does not die. He always gets away,” Jonah explained to my wide-eyed son. “Great Bear becomes invisible for a time, but he reappears in the skies as the Big Dipper with the three brothers still chasing him.”
“That`s a great legend,” I said. Rhett bobbed his head in silent appreciation. Jonah lowered his head theatrically then thanked us warmly.
“Someday I`m going to track and kill a bear!” My son, who had sat still for a whole two minutes, exclaimed, leaving my lap to find a stick to slay something with. Leopold lifted his brown head from his paws, wagged his tail and leaped to his feet to aid my boy in imaginary bear slaying.
“And there goes your attentive audience,” I laughed and waved at the departing twosome, my hand coming back to rest on my thigh.
“Ah well, I had him in the palm of my hand for a couple of minutes,” the man chuckled. The aforementioned palm moved over to rest on top my hand. The smile fell from my face. My head spun to the right. Eyes as dark as night bore into mine, sending my heart into a funny sort of dubstep kind of rhythm. Pink bloomed on my cheeks, the heat of embarrassment and desire searing my nose.
“Jonah, what are you doing?” I asked after swallowing. I did not pull my hand away. His was warm and big and calloused.
“I`m being bold and holding your hand,” he answered matter-of-factly.
“I`m ten years older than you.” I had to say it. It needed to be out there in front of his face. He leaned over to the left just a bit and pawed into the front of his coat with his free hand. I sat there like a bump, scared to turn my hand over and grip his yet also scared that he would let go. From the inside of his shirt he pulled a necklace. It was beautifully crafted and decidedly masculine. Five claws were strung on a thin strip of rawhide. Between the wickedly curved claws were silver and turquoise beads.
“Do you know what these are?” he asked, giving the necklace a rattle. I shook my head. “They`re puma claws,” he clarified, mischief tweaking up the corner of his mouth. “I killed the cat when I was down in Florida working on my uncle`s sheep ranch last summer. She started killing livestock, then attacked the child of one of my uncle`s employee`s. Took five dogs and ten hours but we treed her.”
“So you`re trying to show me that…”
“I`m not scared to tangle with a cougar, Dana.”
The story Jonah shared with Dana and Rhett is just one of many wonderful Seneca legends. If you are interested in learning more about the Seneca legends and folklore, you can check out the following pages:
Copyright 2012 ©by V.L. Locey
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