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Monthly Archives: December 2015

The Wild Horses: Today questions must be answered before extinction

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In the matters of so much evidence, that wild horses are indeed Indigenous to North America, it becomes an imperative that roundups stop. As well, the cattle-only paradigm is an insufficient excuse to allow further roundups, as we potentially are speaking about an Indigenous Species to North America, which due to recent information, may be significant in events toward our natural environment. The actual reduction of populations of wild horses, in order to place more and more cattle on public lands, is of questionable standards and ecology, which equates to no Conservation or Ecological efforts what so ever, made toward America’s Public Lands.

The extinction of particular species, by human’s and climate, have been the topic of much scientific debate today. Ironically, the Ice Age may not have been as devastating to many mammals as we were led to believe. There is a majority of evidence, and more accumulating almost weekly right now, that supports the hypothesis of “Pleistocene Overkill” (Martin and Wright 1967, Flannery 2001), or events similar to this same situation, perhaps not as dramatic within a population-kill context.

What we are finding currently is this:

  1.  Pleistocene Horse Bones are being found at Pre-Columbian archeological dig sites in the west;
  2. Pleistocene Mammoth bones are being located in huge bone-piles, with human-made spear tips throughout their skulls and bodies, and within several Pre-Columbian dig sites, as well as Pleistocene Horse Bones — in grassy meadows sites in the west.

What does this mean?  That Wild Horses in the west are Indigenous Species and require protection under the Endangered Species Act — it also means that such agencies as the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of the Interior have been lying all along in the matters of the wild horses not being an Indigenous species.

What is required here?  That a MORITORIUM be imposed on further wild horse roundup and/or birth control and/or sterilization situation be accomplished immediately!  If not, then the present Administrators and Managers of the BLM and DOI will be held accountable, and taken to task for such poor attention to factual science, and their incompetence —

Wildlife Overkill Events

If not in total, it then becomes a significant link to a combination of Ice Age and Pleistocene Overkill – which leads many of us to believe that wild horses did survive, and current overlooked evidence, from the past attests to this situation. The fact is many archeologists and paleontologists of the past, simply took the non-debatable route (career oriented) of non-inclusive animals from Ice Age survival.

The fact is questions are easily answered, in the matters of so many wild horse bones being found along side — of and with – Dwarf Woolly Mammoth bones, as both fed on similar vegetation, and existed pre-ice age as well as post ice-age – as shown at many modern-day archeological sites.

This hypothesis of Pleistocene-Overkill suggested that as humans spread across the two continents, they preyed upon the large herbivores, such as mammoths, ground sloths, etc. Such large animals are more vulnerable to extinction than smaller ones because they cannot hide as easily, and because their lower reproductive rates cannot compensate for the losses due to hunting. Horses are within this categorical situation as well, but being smaller at that time, the question does arise, were all wild horses killed, or were there many left to breed, that is, once the larger prey-animals become extinct?

Before humans entered the picture, North America had an impressive assortment of large mammals and birds. The herbivores of this megafauna included 3 species of elephants (woolly mammoths, giant mammoths, and mastodons), horses, camels, giant bison, giant ground sloths, giant armadillos, tapirs, giant beaver, giant tortoises (roughly the size of Volkswagen bugs), and a peccary as large as the wild boars of Europe.

They also may have had a fearlessness of humans, somewhat like the dodo bird, because these animals evolved without human presence. When the large herbivores disappeared, their natural predators, such as saber-toothed tigers and short-nosed bears, became extinct as well. The large scavenger bird species, adapted to eating the remains of large animals, then followed into extinction. The California condor may have held on because it had access to the carcasses of marine mammals, which did not suffer high extinction rates at that time.

Questions Abound in Realistic Horse Extinctions

Some researchers propose that North American caballine horses did not become extinct, and instead persisted until historical times (Clutton-Brock 1981). This hypothesis has not been previously generally accepted because: (1) No horse bones from the late pre-Columbian era have been found to support the idea, and (2) no indisputable images of horses have been found in late pre-Colombian American Indian “art” — That is, until the Nevada find, the Oregon finds, the New Mexico finds, numerous Alaska finds, the substantial Northwestern Canada finds, etc. All of these archeological finds reported not only late pre-Columbian horse bones, but images on horses within nearby caves, some were considered overlooked in the past, and some misidentified as other than late pre-Columbian America Indian “art.”

Furthermore, when the Spanish arrived with their horses to Mexico in the 16th century, the Aztecs and other educated peoples of that region did not initially understand what horses were. All horses found today in North America are thus believed to be descended from horses brought to the New World from the Old World after the year 1492. Misidentification had plagued proper identification of the horse throughout history, many times, which only now is being questioned as well.

After over 55 million years of evolution and residence in North America, horses became extinct, supposedly. This extinction occurred either in the late Pleistocene or early Holocene. (The Holocene is the period of time we live in now. It began after the Wisconsonian glaciers melted, roughly 10,000 years ago.) But in reality, were they simply left unseen, or around so much perhaps taken for granted? Well, we remain unsure – for example even in the old west, even though not mentioned in many history books or records, we know horses played a part in not only transport, but farming, ranching, building of cities, trail building, surveys, roadwork, et al.

Were the hunters/gatherer’s distracted by other wildlife, more palatable, so the horse neglected in total, or shoved aside? Because explanation still needs to be developed in horse bones next to the Dwarf Woolly Mammoth bones, late pre-Columbian era, that are currently being found at archeological sites throughout the western United States.

Horse Species Survival

When horses became extinct in the New World, some species of Equus still survived in the Old World (e.g. zebras, wild asses and caballines) that portray a hypothesis that wild horses from the Pleistocene era more than likely survived as well. Their ancestors had dispersed there years earlier via the Bering Land Bridge, which connected Alaska to Siberia during periods when sea levels were lower. Many of these horse species are still living, however most surviving species are now endangered. But one significant problem — we have no sense of confirmation, acceptability of how many species were at that time or remain alive today —

The Bering Land Bridge, also known as the central part of Beringia, is thought to have been up to 600 miles wide. Based on evidence from sediment cores drilled into the now submerged landscape, it seems that here and in some adjacent regions of Alaska and Siberia the landscape at the height of the last glaciation 21,000 years ago was shrub tundra – as found in Arctic Alaska today.

And the mystery becomes much more, well, let’s just say either short-sighted or confused, as some questions are answered — The vegetation, i.e. throughout Beringia, was first believed would not have supported the large, grazing animals – woolly mammoth, woolly rhino, Pleistocene horses, camels, and bison.

These animals lived on the vegetation of the steppe-tundra which dominated the interior of Alaska and the Yukon, as well as interior regions of northeast Siberia. Although, the shrub tundra, found up to this point, would have supported elk, perhaps some bighorn sheep, and small mammals. But problems with both the finding of Woolly Mammoths as well as Dwarf Woolly Mammoths later, and throughout the western United States, places this information into serious questions categorically.

“Permafrost horses and what they tell us —- Horses depicted in cave art are generally stocky, mostly tan or yellowish with a white belly, and usually shown with a stiff, dark mane*. They thus resemble Przewalski’s horse of modern Mongolia. Corroboratory evidence that Ice Age horses of some populations looked like this comes not only from living wild caballoids but also from the Selerikan horse (or Selerikan pony), a Pleistocene stallion preserved in Siberian permafrost, discovered in 1968, and extensively described in works largely unknown in the west (Guthrie 1990, Ukraintseva 2013). * It should be noted that not all ancient horses were like this – we have evidence that some Pleistocene horses in North America (and maybe elsewhere) had long, flowing manes.”

Throughout the Holocene, wild caballine horses continued to range across the grasslands of Europe and Asia. Approximately 5,000 years ago, wild caballines were captured at numerous locations in this vast geographic area and domesticated by diverse peoples, as the knowledge and technology for capturing, taming and riding horses spread (Vilà et al. 2001; Bendrey 2012).

Horse’s Today Perhaps Misidentified?

Thus, the domestic horse of today originated not from one local population of wild horses, but from numerous populations spread across Eurasia (Vilà et al. 2001; Bendrey 2012). Only one of these original wild caballine populations still exists. It is known as Przewalski’s Horse – or is it simply the only one we want to accept, because it is the easiest to explain? The fact is we are also finding, through DNA as well as Bloodlines, Pleistocene era attributes . . . in horses across the United States, Spain, and other European areas, i.e. France as well . . .

The supposed extinction of North America’s horses occurred during a time period when many other large mammals throughout the world also became extinct. Was it more comfortable to simply attest to the extinction of wild horses to be included, as a fact; or, just comfort because no explanation available, and who cared about this upstart country called America?

But yes, more problems — It is hard to find agreement in the literature about terminal dates. Kurtén and Anderson (1980) reported a dating of 8,000 years ago for horse fossils from Alberta, Canada, but MacFadden (2005) writes that North American horses became extinct roughly 10,000 years ago. Oh, there is so much more confusion, and this just the tip of the iceberg (pardon the pun) so to speak.

In Alaska, stilt-legged horses became extinct about 31,000 years ago, while caballine horses became extinct about 12,500 years ago (Guthrie 2003). Interestingly, Alaskan caballines showed a precipitous decline in body size before extinction, and vanished 1,300 years before woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) became extinct in the same area (Guthrie 2003). But once again, the Dwarf Woolly Mammoths being found throughout the western United States, turns the theories above into highly questionable information – confused at best.

Because climate change often causes alterations in the abundance of many other organisms, such as food plants, disease vectors, predators and competitors, extinction scenarios involving climate change can be diverse and involve many different mechanisms.

Although still unproven, the “overkill hypothesis” is a plausible explanation and should be given serious consideration. However, the reader needs to be wary of the political agenda of both some of its supporters, and the dubious conclusions that they derive from it, as well as the detractors, and simply not wanting to toss confusion into the game of horse breeding or authenticating blood-lines.

Conclusion or A Beginning

The modern-day American, like humans everywhere, are passionate horse lovers. The fossil record’s revelation to us all, that our very own continent is the ancient motherland of horses, has deepened the already strong emotions that we all feel toward horses, and strengthens Our-Bonds, that we indeed have with these extraordinary animals.

One example is the recent interest we Americans show for saving various species of Old World horses from extinction. This is developed to authenticate and bring concerns that such species occurred in North America, are closely-related to horses that existed centuries ago.

Some people, such as myself, strongly suggest introducing these species back into America, and to set all the wild horses in captivity, back onto America’s Public Lands – and for legitimate reasoning of not only historical nature, supported via current fossil records, but of value to All American’s, and the Iconic principles that do exist, whether or not our government reaffirms such situations or not. It is indeed a controversial proposal that is being studied more closely and debated (Donlan 2005; Oliviera-Santos and Fernandez 2010; Cox 2014; Cox 2009; Simson-Cox 2008; Stenson 2006).

There is no doubt we see a soul mate, a natural symbol of our own love for freedom, with deep and ancient roots in our own America – We are the Owners of America and the Wild Horses, and not the government nor any others that represent our behalf, and certainly not just the ranchers.

At the same time, the older fossil records are sobering, make no doubt of this situation. They had created revelation of the horse’s extinction in North America eight thousand years ago, and certainly reminded us today of the vulnerability of all nature and the need to make environmental protection a high priority. Even though current fossil records are showing us something different, extinction did not take place, even more sobering is the fact of how misinformation played such a roll within the current attempted demise of the wild horses on Public Lands.

Currently, this priority still exists, but now the priority of not only Humane Conduct, but developing the truth out of current Fossil Records, in a time when our own government in America has turned against the very people they are supposedly representing, and pay them to do so – thereby, throwing legitimate science, fossil records, and truthfulness into the wind. True American’s will not allow this façade to happen much longer . . .

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References and Readings:

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Posted by on December 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

America’s Wildlife: Cityward or Landward in 2016 – Have We Learned Nothing?

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“A cardinal whistling spring to a thaw but later finding himself mistaken, can retrieve his error by resuming his winter silence. A chipmunk, emerging for a sunbath but finding a blizzard, has only to go back to bed. But a migrating goose, staking two hundred miles of black night on a chance of finding a hole in a lake, has no easy chance for retreat. His arrival carries the conviction of a prophet who has burned his bridges.” – Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac . . .

Decades ago I worked at a paper-mill, located along the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest. Unknown by me at the time, I was a craftsman, and as artisans often do, we learn from just about everything we come in contact with.  Whether or not it may become beneficial, no matter, as the objective is not of a contrived mind-set what so ever, but of unlimited curiosity.  But it was, within this instance, certainly beneficial and ideological.

I worked in a section called Magnifite. Trees had already been received in another section of the mill, chipped-up in yet another section, four to sixteen tons of chips at a time, and brought to one of four huge chip tanks, 4 to 5 stories-tall, and called Digesters – and myself watching the charts and gauges. Chemicals were then included such as bromides, sulfurs, etc., to break the woodchips down into processable fibers, or pulp, to eventually become a paper product – for example, butcher wrap paper, toilet paper, paper towels, grocery bags, etc. and all at the end of the process.

“It has come to the point we are outsmarting ourselves. Is education possibly the process of trading awareness for things of lesser worth? The goose who trades his, is soon a pile of feathers.” — Aldo Leopold

My job was to receive the pulp, which was sent to a wash, then to several different areas in the paper mill for further processing. The equipment in the mill was old. A couple of the Digesters, in raised relief steel lettering from that era, was “Built 1911” as seen on each side. Some of the measuring equipment for the holding tanks much newer, but not much. But at least the equipment I worked with, Foxboro Capacity Charts mostly, were very accurate for their age.

Often at the beginning of a shift I would make radical adjustments to the input and output of fiber product, or pulp. Of course, this upset the process entirely. But I was young, wanted things to run smoothly, and in my aggressive attempts to do so, in reality, it did not.

I learned over time that since the machinery old, it had a process-pattern all of its own. I simply had to find that acceptable process, then calmly and with all info available at the time, make minor adjustments suitable for different demands throughout that particular day; significant was the consideration toward each subordinate process, completion of the separate parts toward the whole system running smoothly, as it all was connected.

Yes, patients, with minor adjustments, then wait awhile, then another small adjustment if needed. This system worked, and it was a matter of definable patients. I could make life hard on myself, or much easier with forethought, knowing and acknowledging what I was seeing for necessity for the day, and patients – and the observation of others experience, as told to me.

Over Hunting and Persecution

Our previous North American continent had vast areas unsettled and many left unexplored. There existed cities and farms scattered everywhere and held together by an ever increasing network of railroads, roads, and telegraph wires. Also, the sudden settlement of the West Coast (catalyzed by the discovery of gold in California), the Civil War, the disappearance of eastern forests, an enormous influx of immigrants from Europe, Asia, and Africa, and the vast expansion of industry and technology, both growth and population exploded.

“From several references for that time passenger pigeons flew overhead in endless thundering flocks; salmon choked the rivers, to be pitch-forked out as fertilizer; huge herds of bison, antelope, and elk roamed the prairies; whales and seals yielded endless shiploads of oil to burn in lamps.” — Anon 1963

As a result, Americans assumed the supply of such creatures remained virtually infinite, a bounty to be harvested at any time for human use. Local depletion’s of wildlife were noted, but there was always more wildlife over the next range of hills; which, the thought pattern established at that time.

Even today, as odd as it sounds, yes ignorance prevails today, we find hunters, hobby-trappers, and ranchers making the statement that wolves, cougars, bears, and fox’s, wild horses and wildlife in general are “everywhere” — plentiful in the forests and mountains. That is, until we attempt to have them show us on a map, or show us in general where they are located or roam.  Wildlife today, in the forests and mountains — in facts and truthfully (those of us who are in the forests and mountains always see this), is becoming very limited, almost scarce —

But some towns and states in century’s-past did try to impose hunting seasons on selected animals to give the game an opportunity to reproduce, but such laws were rarely enforced. More common was the payment of bounties on predators, such as the bounties of one penny each given for wolves by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. This was an era of local extinctions where forests were cleared and streams were dammed. (References numerous)

This increase in human population, combined with the technology of the early industrial era, and the demands of a market economy, caused wildlife populations to plummet from a combination of unchecked exploitation and environmental alteration. Some examples:

•The vast migratory herds of bison on the Great Plains were systematically slaughtered or died of cattle-borne diseases until only a few hundred individuals were left.

•The passenger pigeon, whose numbers were once reckoned to be in the billions, became extinct in the wild. Both adults and young were harvested commercially. The last bird died in captivity in 1914.

•Heron and egret populations were decimated by hunters shooting them in their breeding colonies for plumes for ladies’ hats.

•The ranges of large predators such as grizzly bears, mountain lions, and wolves became greatly reduced. Mountain lions and wolves were virtually eliminated from eastern North America, as were grizzly bears from California.

•White-tailed deer became extremely scarce in the eastern United States through a combination of habitat loss and over-hunting.

•Runs of salmon and shad disappeared from many eastern rivers, their runs blocked by mill dams or killed by factory wastes in combination with unlimited fishing.

The massive-killing of wildlife is not really surprising, considering the attitudes of most people living in that era, which were largely characteristic of the combined agricultural situations and early industrial society of the times. Nature was regarded as something that got in the way of civilization and “progress”, and a source of goods to sell on the market.

“At one time there existed an extraordinary amount of wildlife in the Midwestern section of the United States. This included many species of unique wildlife, as well as wild horses before the Spanish come to America, seemingly ignored by many Spanish and European historians. The amount exceeded Africa, even at that time. Many we will simply not know about, or of, as they were wiped out, Over-Kill to Extinction.” — Anon 1975 Over-Hunting and Persecution of America’s Wildlife (note i.e. wild horses, currently paleontologists and archaeologist site-digs are confirming this fact of wild horse presence, and indeed never left America’s wilds, discussed further in the following paper, part 2)

Conclusion — Historical Facts Undeniable

The agricultural mindset, not so much different than today, I have found, was often frightened, paranoid, by the abundant wild animals and uncontrolled wild ecosystems. And as today, yesterday and history, they thought nature had to be tamed and controlled. Many popular nature books of those times, and as today in the current media, were filled with drawings of animals doing nasty things to people or to each other – bears clawing hunters, eagles carrying off children, deer goring one another, land crabs attacking goats, wolves eating just about everything and everyone in sight, and much more ridiculous contrivance.

But need we not forget those times, when people also feared witches and burned them at the stake, or drowned them; legends of monsters in the mountains or woods abounded, within remote settlements; and basically what people at that time, as now, did not or do not understand, people fear. Fear is the driving force for wildlife extinction – nothing else, but people find excuses to promote their fears and often within very tragic methodology, or perceptive mind-sets.

To indeed acknowledge that rancher’s and hunters have not evolved into the 21st Century is getting to be an undeniable joke of jokes – a very destructive joke – and needs changed.

Is it possible to have progress with a healthy surviving ecological system, with healthy wildlife as well? I would state as fact, a healthy wildlife system a requirement!

The problem is we have a backward ranching culture; thereby, a backward wildlife management culture as well, and from State to State as well as Federal – for example, one government agency kills 1.5 to 5.8 million animals (wildlife), mostly from rancher’s fears and not based on any type of factual reality, in America currently.

“. . . during this era, attitudes that led to the uninhibited destruction of wildlife and wildlife habitat became established. Specifically, the cattle and sheep ranching and hunters view, that nature needed to be tamed and put to use, allowed the widespread destruction of wildlife seen in the next following centuries to come, and fit in well with the demands of the emerging industrial economy.” — Aldo Leopold

The rancher, hunter, game management lies remain abundant, as the public is simply not out there to see, for example, the coming and goings of wolves, beavers, cougars, bears or much of anything for that matter; whereas, the public is going to hear about it, but only one side of the story, that mostly favors the rancher and hunters 99% of the time, but exaggeration within amplification of detail or a vast amount of misinformation . . .

A typical cattle rancher of today is not knowledgeable of any wildlife, other than the wildlife they want killed, or kill for their barbecues. Ranchers nor hunters are, or ever have been, conservationists nor have they ever been environmentalists, and history is quite clear of this fact. As a matter of point within this paper, both groups have pointedly hated conservationists and environmentalists, for at least the past century or even two centuries.

The fact remains that money, comfort, and a special vented self-proclaimed interest of ranchers, hunters, and industry, do exceed Humane Principles destructively — today, yesterday, and centuries past.

Humans have not learned a thing within the history of wildlife and our presence in decimating wildlife – now we are reaching the end, extinction, of many critical wildlife domestically, and upon an international basis; and yes, this does and will have a proportional effect on our environment and on our very life on this planet. (continued in Part 2 – The Kill-off of Wild Horses and America’s Wildlife)
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1. An endangered species is one whose numbers are so small that it is at risk of extinction.

2. A species is defined as endangered or threatened when it is suffering from these factors: damage to its habitat for recreational, or entertainment purposes; disease or predation of the species; and hazards to the continued life of the species.

3. A species is declared extinct after many years of not being spotted. Because it takes so long to define an entire species as extinct, it is probable that there are many species already gone that we are unaware of.

4. Rangers are on the frontlines of conservation to protect some of the world’s most endangered species like tigers, elephants and rhinos. Send thank-you cards to those who protect endangered species. Sign up for Wildlife Cards!

5. Extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural “background” rate of about one to five species per year. Scientists estimate we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the “background” rate, with dozens going extinct every day.

6. As many as 30 to 50 percent of all species are possibly heading toward extinction by mid-century.

7. 99% of currently threatened species are at risk from human activities, primarily those driving habitat loss, introduction of exotic species, and global warming

8. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) protects registered endangered species by removing them from the “take” list, which makes it unlawful for a person to shoot, harm, capture, trap, or attempt any such actions to the species.

9. Ultimately, the ESA strives to recover species from the endangered list by restoring their ecological health until they no longer need protection.

10. The World Wildlife Organization focuses on saving certain species that help sustain other species. They protect wildlife such as pandas, whales, rhinos, marine turtles, primates, polar bears, and big cats.

11. Freshwater ecosystems are home to more than 100,000 known species of plants and animals, and are now one of the most endangered habitats in the world as a result of human development, pollution, and climate change.

Sources

1. Wildscreen Arkive. “Endangered species.” Wildscreen. Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
2. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program. “Listing a Species as Threatened or Endangered: Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act” 2015. Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
3. Engber, Daniel. “When can you say an animal is extinct?” Slate Magazine, 2005. Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
4. World Wildlife Fund. “Thanking Our Heroes: Rangers Put Their Lives on the Line Every Day to Protect Wildlife.” 2014. Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
5. Center for Biological Diversity. “The Extinction Crisis.” Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
6. Center for Biological Diversity. “The Extinction Crisis.” Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
7. Center for Biological Diversity. “The Extinction Crisis” Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
8. Davison, Steven G. “Alteration Of Wildlife Habitat As A Prohibited Taking Under The Endangered Species Act.” The Florida State University College of Law. Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
9. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service . “Endangered Species Consultation Handbook.” 1998. Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
10. World Wildlife Fund. “About Us.” Web Accessed March 20, 2015.
11. World Wildlife Fund. “Habitats: Freshwaters.” Web Accessed March 20, 2015.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

A Christmas Story for Wild Horses

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Heaven is high and earth wide. If you ride three feet higher above the ground than other men, you will know what that means.

Story by — John Cox

CopyRight 2015

It wasn’t too long before Christmas, and sitting close to the campfire a good idea.  Yip, I was surrounded by snow, with a couple of icicles that hung from the highline where Babe tied-off.  The sky clear, stars bright.  It was cold.

Babe use to the weather.  Me, I could never get use to it. but no place I would rather be than in the wilds.  A person can do a lot with love, understanding, and knowing around every tree trunk, or hillside something different, something to learn; yes, even frozen toes and finger-tips sometimes.

So I got up and walked over to Babe.  Grabbed her blanket and put it on her.  That’s when I heard something odd.  Something I had never heard before out there.

Now, I had been out there many times, about 28 miles, as far as I thought, from anywhere or most anything.  The closest road was near 15 to 18 of those miles.  So when I heard a few horse-hooves clomp and stumble over tree branches, I listened close.

Babe’s head turned toward the sound.  Her look of curiosity, not a threatened-look in her eyes at all; how odd it was indeed.  So with my back to the saddlebags, my eyes riveted toward the stand of trees where the noise come from.  Without looking down, I pulled the old 1812 Winchester out, cocked the bullet into the chamber, and waited.

Ya know, the thing about nature is to wait . . . It’s always the moment in nature, in the wilds, and patients learned.  The gifts many, always, being patient and watching . . .

The brush rumbled a little beyond Babe.  I pulled-up the rifle.  I pulled the hammer back with my thumb, slow, deliberate.  Rifle butt tight to my shoulder.

Suddenly, the branches part and a big-ol horse’s snout peeks through.

My rifle down.  The black stallion, connected to that big ol’ snout of a nose — I was looking at nothing less than nature’s wonder.  It was beautiful.  It’s black, thick mane all the way down to its pastern’s.

Under my breath, “What the . . .” when out popped a little buckskin foal with a black mane, then a gorgeous buckskin mare, with her sparkling gold mane almost to the ground.

All three then turned and ran off, disappeared into the night.  I stood there . . .

“Those were some horses.  Do they range over here?”

I spun around, rifle up.

“Hold on!  We mean no harm,” come another voice.

I looked at three men, unarmed.  There was something about them, a glow or something . . .

“We just seen your fire, from the flat over on the basin,” as the first man spoke while getting off his horse.

“Thought we would come over, heat up a little coffee,” the third man said as he dismounted also.

I walked over and placed the rifle back into its scabbard, “Ya know, we’re some ways further than really anything else.  What the hell you doing over on the basin this time of night? Or morning?”

The last man got off his horse, followed the other two respectfully to the side of my camp, over to the highline.  One spoke while they finished hooking their horses up.  I did notice it was like they done it a few hundred times before.

“To be truthful, we’re searching,” while walking toward the fire.  “We come together a few days ago, started to talk, and we’re all looking for the same thing.”

The other finished with his horse, and come over to the fire as well.

The last man looked at me with the eyes, like someone I knew, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it.  It was uncomfortable, but oddly I felt in no danger at all.  As a matter of fact, I felt very safe.

“. . . so we joined up and rode through some of the most beautiful land in the Northwest.  These Cascades gorgeous, to say the least.  You’re a very lucky man, John.”

The other two come over and sat down.  I was caught off guard, “How did . . .”

“I’m Gabe, that’s Mike you’ve been talking to, and coming up is Leo.”

I sat on my ol’ rock next to the fire and warmth.  I have never felt so, well, once again safe, and in the middle of the woods, and surrounded by people I had no idea who they were or where they come from.  They seemed nice enough . . .

While they were fixin’ their coffee I took a minute to look at their horses.  Beautiful and so well kept they were remarkable; and yet, there was just something about . . . something different, but I found myself smiling . . . comfortable.

 

The still night broken.  Horse-hoof thunder — hundreds.  The sounds surrounded us.  I jumped up.  I looked at the others.  They were calm, as they glanced southward.  I ran over to grab Babe, and  . . .

“John, it’s okay,” Mike said.

The thunder grew intense, the ground shook.  Branches broke all around us.  It sounded like the very trees themselves would burst in half, any second.  I seen horses gathered in the trees, so thick, the horses heads bobbed, their manes swished side to side . . .

Then I saw the clearing over on the hillside beside us.  It started to fill with more horses, then even more yet.  God willing, I never seen so many horses rumble through the snow.  Why, they rolled over the other hills and into, well, right where I stood!

Clustered, as far as my eyes could see.  Everywhere.  Horses of all kinds and colors.  They just kept coming, and rolled across the hillsides, over the surrounding rocks, like a swarm of hundreds of . . . whatever swarms.

I could not believe my eyes.  Within a couple of minutes, which seemed like hours, we were surrounded, in total, by horses – I had never seen so many horses in one place, and as far as I could see, even though dark out, it was tremendous – we were at the very center of them all – surrounded indeed, an understated fact.

Babe?  Well, she just stood there beside me, and never was so calm and comfortable as she was right at that moment.  She knew something I did not.  I could just tell . . .

Then the horses on one side of my camp backed-off.  Clearly, they made a path, and in walked another man.  He was clad in armor, an extremely large broadsword hung off his hip, ready for battle, all in gold.  I had never seen such a bright-white horse, as he led it toward us, in the middle of . . .

“John, I want you to meet Samuel,” Mike said, while pointing toward Samuel’s outstretched hand, to shake in greeting.

I was speechless, and never seen anything like this before, the horses, the armor clad man, Samuel, shaking my hand, the other three and their horses.  To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement.

“Greetings John, I am Samuel.  I wish I could stay longer, John, and get to know you better, as I understand . . .“

Gabe spoke up, fast, “. . . Not yet Sam, he doesn’t know.  We just got here ourselves.”

Samuel smiled at me, went over and shook the hands of the other three.

“. . . first-light is not far away, and I must go, Radueriel and Raguel wait,” Samuel said, in a command-voice.

He stopped to my front, stood to attention, raised his hand, palm forward, his other hand on the golden broadsword grip — as a salute to me and the others.  He spun, mounted his horse, and left.

 

I stood in such a humble state, as the horses surrounding us, cascaded by, and on both sides of my campsite.  They galloped, the snow-dust and mist rose up, their legs hidden; their bodies in confirmation, and heads swooped while high into the air, their manes swooshed and flew back as in flight.

There did not seem to be an end to them, as we watched the spectacle pass.  All of those horses, Wild Horses.  The thunder of their hooves — and with amazement I watched as they all followed Samuel into the valley then up onto the hillside itself; then leading the entire herd, broadsword out and raised, the white horse and he set aglow, soon disappeared over the hill.  The Wild Horses, there were so many, surged and rolled over the hill, a continuous flow that followed their leader . . .

As a matter of fact, we all stood and watched, still amazed at the site.  The last of the herd rolled over the hill.  At first the snow-dust and trailing mist disappeared; then eventually, the thunder of horse hooves, with the horses calling to one another, faded into the darkness toward the west; just as the first sparkle of sunlight started to come over the horizon eastward.

I looked over at Gabriel, Michael, and Leo and for a moment I understood, but just as much as I knew, I remained just as confused.

Gabriel and Leo were getting their horses off the highline, Michael’s as well.  Michael dumped the remainder of his cup of coffee on the ground, walked up to me, tipped his cowboy hat back, and looked me in the eyes.

“You know who we are, don’t you?”

“I think so, but a little confused . . .” I said.

“We’re going to make some Angels right here in your backyard.  And you know why?  Because it was you and the others that worked so hard to save them.  Samuel is meeting the Angel we call the Angel Maker . . . Radueriel,” Michael stated with a large smile, “. . . and ol’ Raguel, well, he’s the Angel that watches over us all.  He’s a pretty good Angel, very likeable.”

“You’re making Angel’s out of . . .?”

Michael throws his arm around my shoulders as we walked toward his horse and the others.

“Yip, John, you have it.  All those horses you seen?  We figured they needed protecting.  Those government people and the others with’em, they just don’t get it – and they’re killing some of the most Angelic things on the face of this earth.  They done that a few centuries ago as well!  And, by damn, as Angels, we’re going to put a stop to it, because no one else will.”

Michael slaps me on the back, grabs my hand and shakes it.  He turns toward Gabriel, who hands the reins to him, and he mounts his horse, while Gabriel and Leo wait.

I stood there in aw of the occasion, “. . . I don’t. . .”

Gabriel laughed, “. . . John, no words, it was all of your prayers’ were heard, and we also seen what was going on — evil.  We heard them, and we heard all the others who love horses as well and their prayers, brother; and these Wild Horse herds are saved because of you all . . . They’ll be here a long, long time . . .  Merry Christmas.”

I watched the Three Angels ride off, with snow-dust under their hooves.  I then heard a Merry Christmas from Gabriel and Leo as well . . . along with a laugh of a job well done.  – Merry Christmas To All with hope . . .   John

 

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Posted by on December 17, 2015 in Uncategorized