A Tale of the Tahoma Woods
During a recent trip to Tacoma, WA to visit my friend Peggy, we decided to visit Mt. Rainier. (I like to call it Tahoma, the Indian name.) It was Veteran’s Day and the sky was filled with dark clouds and fog. Here is a brief recant of an event both of us will not soon forget.
I stared out of the fogged window as the car snaked its way up through the ice-shaven road to Paradise. Peggy, driving cautiously, remarked in a sighing under breath about the gilded trees splendid in marvelous rime covered branches that melted into the bright white sky only to be suddenly interrupted by a screeching eagle making its way to an aerie somewhere high up that man would not be able to disgrace.
Coming to a vista stop near the top of the mountain pass, I tapped her arm and told her to gently stop while I opened the window to look into the eyes of a Cascade fox sitting on the side of the road. The animal’s eyes were bright and seemed to be directed towards me. Peggy leaned over, and without saying anything, lifted her camera and took many portrait pictures, and the animal simply sat there on the snow covered mound looking wistfully toward us in the random hope that some food would come its way. We both stepped out of the car, she with her camera and me with my native Indian flute. The awesome panorama captured our souls in an instant with merciless grandeur.
It came very naturally for me to begin a spirit-rending melody instantly improvised as I stared into the animal’s soul. As if on cue, the fox began to answer the melody with low guttural sounds that put me, man, into a state of joyous tears.
A camper van approached and with its roaring engine and grinding hill-climbing gears, the fox jumped off into the white woods. I stood watching after the blur of the animal as it ran off. Peggy and I put our arms around each other as we watched him go.
Getting back into the car, I took one last look at the place where the fox had gone back. It had stopped, and for a moment and turning its head back, we locked our eyes into each others essence. Then, he was gone.
Peggy and I embraced, being suddenly drawn closer to each other. Not a word was spoken as the car continued its climb.
Tahoma smiled as the sun broke through the clouds.