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Yellow Mountain

By Peter Smyth

A family driven apart by greed and lust. The desire for gold and wealth is overwhelming like the lure of a naked thigh. After the death of old man Hudson many had searched for his gold mine, but none had found it. Damsel Parker, cow hand and drifter, learns of the gold mine through the old man’s granddaughter, Gale.

Damsel Parker is thrust into the middle of a divided family, where he learns that lust and greed is the parent of all evil.



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Part 2




With each painful step forward, it appeared to Parker that the great untamed west changed its mode gradually, from the dusty dun colours of the endless sand and rock of the desert to the dark green-gold tinge of the tall distant pine trees stretching endlessly through the wandering valleys, and beyond, deep into the northern country to the low laying foothills of the Rocky Mountains where the snow lies thick and deep as the soft white fur of the legendary snow wolf.


It was just past noon when he at last reached the Buffalo River at the point where it emerged from the gorge between two large solid stonewalls over looking Grayville’s Ridge.


Parker dropped what remained of his belongings to the ground at the foot of a fallen tree and slumped down beside them. With the weight of his body off his blistering feet the dark depressing thoughts of the last three days seem to lift also. He settled back into the bow of the weathered trunk looking up at the rocky columns that blocked out most of the sky above him. An awesome sight of sculpture carved by the endless drive of time, wind, and rain.


For over an hour he was totally oblivious to the march of time, to the majestic swing of the sun on its endless journey across the sky. His troubles were lost momentarily to its warmth and life-giving rays. A sense of un-urgency had now come over him as he rose slowly to the waters edge, removed his clothing, and slid slothfully down into the cool crisp water. The endless purl of swirling eddies gently massaging his exhausted body as he floated naked on his back, watching a solitary vulture circling in majestic splendor on the unseen currents between the two towering columns like a dark daub against an electric-blue sky.


Suddenly, there it was again, the same uncanny feeling he had had twice before. The unsettling feeling as if being watched; a sudden awakening of the subconscious that stimulates the mind to things that elude the physical eye. He sunk deep down into the water, turning slowly. Then just as quickly as before the feeling passed.


Parker rinsed his clothing, and then spread them out to dry on the short grass beside the river before settling down on a outcrop of rock over looking where the Buffalo River tumbled a hundred feet, through three different stages, down into the valley below. From his position he got his first sight of Grayville’s Ridge. A four-hour march, he reckoned, looking up at the sun. He had no need for the mechanical tick of moving metal arms as did the city folk, their days broken into hours and minutes and some times even further into seconds, as those who controlled the industrial wealth of the country and who now directly threatened the great expanse of wilderness with their tainted charms and promise of wealth for all. Already the large steel horse had arrived, wealthy masters shrouded in death and dishonesty, its large steel hooves cutting endless grooves into the fragile ecosystem of the ever-widening frontiers. All this in the name of progress and the American dream, Washington had told its nation.


For more than a thousand years the natives of America had judged time and season by the ever shifting arch of the sun, and over the years Parker had learnt the art also. Not only had he familiarized himself with the movements of the sun, but with the stars as well.


Grayville’s Ridge nestled comfortably in a shallow basin at the foot of a series of low laying hills that seemed to twist and dance through the heat-haze that rose steadily up from with in the thick blanket of undergrowth that traced the Buffalo River through the valley; distorted elusions of imaginary rivers, drifting on clandestine air currents, clouded in askew colours of metallic bronze and silver blue, and beyond, the back drop of dark blue mountains marching boldly up into the north territories.


Parker dressed  and started down into the valley with the same urgency like that of the waters that spewed out over the cliff. Coming out from the shadows beneath the falls, he paused a moment to take in the tranquility of his surroundings. He was lost for a time in its splendor, his eyes slowly absorbed the beauty of the calm clear waters of the catchment pool that rippled gently as the last of the three tiers of the waterfall emptied its endless flow sensitively into it, and the rich abundance of colour that adorned the indigenous forest that surrounded him, and he found himself wanting to hide this splendor from the world, to keep it safe in all its splendor and virginity, for in his mind’s eye he could already see the destruction that awaited this sanctuary; the forest chopped and cleared for the onslaught of horse driven wagons, the river and catchment pool soiled by the loss of vegetation that devastates the soil into a dying frenzy of endless decay and erosion, and the disgust of human filth.


Already the game was almost gone, a million buffalo slaughtered in less than a handful of years; a creature treasured by the people that once roamed unhindered across this land. Their songs, and tribal tales of its kindness had once drifted freely to the north and south across the open plains and mountaintops, of how, in its death, it had offered up itself to their every need. A great emptiness awaited this land, and Parker felt an immense sorrow fall across his heart.




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