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Later when I talked with Tom Sawyer about the incident, he scolded me for taking foolish chances. "You were lucky. The way you started to go down was the classic way to get a brokenhip and perhaps a shoulder as well. Your guardian angel certainly was protecting you today!" Still later on I told him about the "voice" I had heard and thought was him. He said it was not him. I came home with many things to ponder from that trip. Less than a month later I had a light stroke and I knew that the rest of my life would, indeed, be forever changed. Through experiences we do learnhard lessons. Notches We cut into bone each winter he lived, until the snow buried everything and everything was silent but the ghost of hunger rising in our throats. Dogs starved, Deer; even Crow was silent. Fingers froze to save the fire; hunched in tipis in the thinning smoke, we counted moons until the frost surrendered and Bear left tracks in the thaw. We buried his body in the litter of bones, left feather, bone that bore the legend of his years. We danced for ghosts to come and take us back to the beginning of this world when but for us, all animals were white as snow. —Kathleen Hellen ...


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