Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Watch For Fallen Rocks

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.

18 comments:

Sheila Tenold said...

Dawn, your post brought back memories. My husband and I, too, viewed Watch out for Falling Rocks as a warning about an Indian on the prowl. I love your father's story. It brightened my morning! You were fortunate to have him for as long as you did.

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Thanks, Sheila. He was quite a character. Both of my parents inspired me to write.

Pat McDermott said...

Dawn, I enjoyed your post very much. You painted a vivid picture, right down to the smell of the pipe and campfire. I'm glad you have such wonderful memories of your father. Perhaps you'll share more of his stories in the future.

Maeve said...

What a wonderful post. You're a fantastic story-teller!

Beth Trissel said...

I enjoyed this Dawn. Your dad reminds me of mine, quite the story teller.

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Thanks for stopping by, Pat. You never know, I might be tempted to tell one or two more of my dad's stories in the future.

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

You're so sweet, Maeve. You made me blush. :)

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Beth, so nice of you to drop by. My dad could certainly spin a tale. Problem was, he told the same ones over and over. LOL. He was great.

Winona said...

Oh, Dawn, this is an amazing story. I choose to believe it's true. I'll always think of this story, you, and your lovely father when I see signs warning of fallen rocks or when I catch glimpses of shadowy warriors on their eternal mustangs. I will follow your blog.

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Thanks for visiting, Winona. I'm thinking I might attempt to twist the tale into a paranormal romance. What do you think?

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

What a priceless memory you have of your father. I could see my own dear father's eyes sparkling with mischief as I read your post. We also did a lot of camping when I was a child. He didn't share the old tales, but he had little tricks and games up his sleeves always. My friends said they could tell when he teased because of the twinkle in those baby blues.

Loved the old myth. As a former Camp Fire leader we spent a lot of time learning the customs and stories. This one is a winner and I will definitely think of you when I see the signs from now on.

Joanne said...

Dawn,
What a wonderful post about your father. Lovely story.

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Thanks for visiting, Paisley. I still love to camp and have converted my husband who never camped as a child. But we don't have kids so I've needed other platforms for the stories. :)

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Glad you liked the tale, Joanne. Thanks for stopping by.

Ciara Knight said...

Dawn,
I noticed your the author of Sea Panther. It's one of my favorite books I've ever judged in a contest. It was a pure joy reading it. Any news on publications becautse I'd LOVE to buy and read the rest of it!

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Oh, Ciara, you made my day. Thank you ever so much. Sea Panther has done well in a couple of chapter contests. Have my fingers crossed. And I will certainly announce it here if/when I get "the call." :) btw: Thanks for being a contest judge!

Clarissa Southwick said...

Dawn, your father must have been a wonderful storyteller and obviously he passed his talent on to you. Thanks for sharing this story with us.

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Glad you liked my dad's tale, Clarissa. Thanks so much for visiting.