Inspired by the memory of Rodger Fred Hamilton 1921 - 2010
I was driving through the mountains with my husband and noticed a sign warning "watch for fallen rocks." My thoughts flashed to my father.
He was a worker and a builder and a hunter and a gardener. He was a dreamer. He was a storyspinner.
Our family camped, and as we traveled cross-country on vacation, he'd tell us tales at night by the campfire. One of my favorites was a story about a renegade Indian chief named Fallen Rocks.
At dusk, the smell of wood smoke drew us near. I remember sitting by a warm fire on a cool night, snug in an oversized red hoodie, dirty toes sticking out of worn yellow flip-flops, antsy with anticipation. My father sat on a downed log across the way, smoking a pipe filled with cherry-flavored tobacco, the scent mingling with the smoke from the fire. Golden light lit his face, and his brilliant blue eyes sparkled with mischief as he spoke.
His story, in brief, with a wee bit of embellishment...
In olden times, large herds of elk traveled from the high meadows of the Wyoming Mountains to graze in the lower valleys for winter. Fallen Rocks was the leader of a great nation of people who followed the elk's migration. One year the snows came in relentless blizzards, freezing man and beast alike. Food became scarce, causing illness and death.
Government men visited the camps, bringing food and medicines. But the offering was tainted and more of the people grew sick and died.
Having been betrayed by the men pretending assistance to the tribes, Fallen Rocks summoned his strongest braves to a council and, adorned in war paint and feathers, the band rode their mustang horses against the pale faces. Greatly outnumbered, Fallen Rocks and his braves were killed.
An indignant Great Mother couldn't allow such an injustice and chose not to release their spirits to the after world but transformed them into Guides. Their ghostly forms are seen riding along mountain passes--even to this day.
So when you travel in the mountains, keep an eye out for Fallen Rocks.
Dawn Marie Hamilton, author of Sea Panther, a 2010 Golden Gateway Contest paranormal finalist.