Where Nashoba Walked
Nashoba was tracking deer along the Feshaw River when a snake spooked his horse. Ordinarily, he would not have lost his balance, but lately, he had fallen victim to Head-In-Clouds Disease. He had thrown stones at She Who Loves Butterflies, and she had not responded. The horse warned him, then reared into the air. Nashoba came down hard, hit his head, and his horse was off and running most likely back to the village where maybe She Who Loves Butterflies would notice he was missing.
Nashoba meant “wolf” in Choctaw. His grandfather Restless Wanderer had been a part of the great Choctaw tribe that had broken off and come to Texas. It was hard country, for sure, but the buffalo did come through, and the wild horses pounded across the plains.
As Nashoba became conscious and stood on his feet, he felt oddly out of place. Things looked different; things felt different. The river bank was somehow transformed. He must have gone further than he imagined, now he must be careful and on the lookout for renegade Apaches, fearsome enemies of his tribe. He walked along the trail and ahead he saw a strange board and some sort of enclosure — proof those pale men were about to create their carnage. What was this?
There was a board with futuristic symbols that read: RICOR PARK. Where was the hunting ground? All around Nashoba was brown grass waving lightly in the wind, no buffalo could graze here. The trees were dying too and the river, once powerful like a striking serpent, was low and slow.
Just then, Nashoba heard an unfamiliar noise, he caught his breath and dared not to make a sound. The source of the noise was the fair people! But they did not look like the ones he had always known. He jumped behind a hedge of yaupons that were deftly hanging onto life and watched pale settlers walking around. They were wearing peculiar clothes and kept close along the path.
Nashoba followed the children to an opening where they ran to a husky woman who was also wearing clothing with odd symbols on it. She surveyed the children with her painted eyes as the wind caught wisps of her cropped hair. Three large metal-colored boxes were settled upon a gray rock.
Nashoba had never seen anything like these people, he kept rubbing his eyes. The woman took the three smaller children and put them into the metal box which had the marks: YUKON. The metal box at once became a wagon with no horses like a moving monster. It took them ahead into the distance. How could this be? Another strange emblem ahead was stamped with the drawing: WATCH FOR ANIMALS.
Nashoba had crossed over into another place, a place that was brown and suffering, a place where people no longer looked like any he knew. What was this? Why was he here? Nashoba knew he must turn around and track backward along the river to his village. It must be there somewhere! He had to go back.