As Darling sat atop the trunk of old Cottonwood, she looked over those gathered in the face of this latest crisis.
Old Blue, the strident jay, was the representative for all the flying creatures inhabiting the swamps and high ground of the island. Blue had a warrior’s heart and would scream about everything. Present as well were representatives for every clan that called the island their home.
Of course, Chatter, the gray squirrel that narrowly escaped the day before, was also there representing the squirrel clan, which included the grays, the reds, and the flying squirrels. Also included in his clan was the chipmunk and gopher population. He intended to use this council to full advantage, his narrow escape still fresh in his mind.
Ring raised up on his rear legs and extended his front legs forward.
“Listen to me!”
The animals turned again toward the raccoon.
“We can move our families . . . but where will we go? We can fight back . . . but there is no way we can win that battle. We don’t even know what we are up against. I do know that they are now measuring the entire island. We need to discover what the men planned on Crane Island before we can take steps to stop it.”
Chatter responded, “Well, that’s just great. We don’t know how or when we will be destroyed, and we can’t fight back because we don’t know their plan.”
Ring spoke,“Quiet, Chatter! There is a third choice. Just be silent and listen to Darling.”Ring stepped back.
There was absolute silence. All eyes turned to the soft-spoken cottontail.
“We can do what hasn’t been done for over four hundred years,” Darling began,“we can offer the Wild Ways to a human.”
“Ain’t happening,” muttered Chatter, his arms folded in utter defiance.
“As you all know . . . when we pass the Wild Ways, many things can go wrong. The question is . . . can we trust any human with this knowledge?”
“No, no, no,”Chatter spoke aloud. “If that person is bad we will die, and we will have brought it upon ourselves. Let’s just move deeper into the woods.”
“The woods, in all directions, will likely be destroyed.”
There was the slow movement of heads as each animal looked at the others. Their eyes showed the fear in their hearts.
Chatter was becoming increasingly uncomfortable.
What followed was a debate like the woods had never seen, each council member stating a viewpoint to the council and each listening to the arguments of the others. There seemed to be agreement on one thing: without knowing what the humans planned, the animals were helpless to stop the destruction. The obvious answer was to enlist the help of a single human, and that was what frightened them the most.
At the exact moment the sun reached its highest point, the vote for passing the Wild Ways was called for.
Perhaps a truly pure heart can only exist in a child. That was the decision they arrived at, and several clans offered names for discussion. Stories were told as the behavior of the named humans was examined.
After much give and take between clans, they selected ten-year-old Oscar; the choice was based on past deeds—deeds of kindness toward them—and the belief that inside this boy beat a pure and gentle heart.
To discover the mystery that involves the FBI and bad things done 30-years earlier, visit click here. To learn more about Dale Swanson and his writing,
At seventy-six, I’m at the beginning of a new chapter in a life filled with blessings from above, adventure, love of family, and kinships reaching into the heavens and to God himself. —AND— I love to tell a story.