After a restless night I was not prepared to go riding up the trail with Earl who came up to me on the porch, leading a horse for me to ride. He said it was perfectly all right if I had a sleepless night and wanted to go for a walk instead. He turned back to the corral to take the mare he had saddled for me. A little while later I saw him heading away from the ranch alone on his horse. I did notice a dog following him close behind though.
I made my way down to the corral a little later. I thought I would lose my walking ability entirely if I did not do a little physical exercise. Besides I would not have anyone to talk to with Earl gone. I seemed to be the only guest around. I walked around the ranch trails a little bit which seemed to lead here and there. This was truly a beautiful piece of property. I thought it was so pretty it should have been on TV. I mused about what I pictured I would find out in the wilds now I had passed over. I imagined running into wolves and bear who having died might be more aggressive than those in 'real life' who had been taught to fear man with bullets to string them by. The wolves and bears shielded their eyes if you happened to see them in some natural setting like a nature park. Last night I had dreamed that wolves came up to me and looked me right in the eyes. It was such an unsettling experience I was awake for hours trying to calm down.
I intended to tell Earl about my dream when I got the chance. I wanted to know how animals did act once they had passed into the hereafter. I had always dreamed that I was running with horses. I thought of these dreams as 'hereafter' dreams or perhaps 'previous existence' dreams where I had been a horse myself, for how else could I run with horses?
I don't know how many times I had that dream. I was never on the horses. I was always running beside them, and I learned to think of these dreams as warning dreams, too. I was overextending myself, perhaps due to a long ago horse existence. I could no longer really run with horses. I did not have the stamina or the ability, being human, so I must not forget my limitations. I would always think I needed to slow down before something worse happened, but how I enjoyed the running. But not even some horses could keep with the thundering herd. The old ones fell behind and had to drop out.
I had had a number of dreams since of running for miles at a fast clip as a human, which I knew very well I could not do. I would wake up and think, "Oh, you are trying to act like super woman again. You must slow down and act your age."
Well, even here in the hereafter, I still had limitations. Passing had been very stressful. I could see growing old and dying had taken a lot out of me. I was going to have to be patient about getting my strength back.
That is why I told Earl I had better not go. He nodded.
I did not see Earl until along toward evening. He joined me on the porch. I had enjoyed my day alone. Earl was rather stimulating company, too, so I had needed a rest from talking to him. Now I felt that it might be all right.
"I hope you had a nice trail ride," I said.
"Oh yes, " said Earl. "Poppy went with me. My dog. He is always happy when I take a ride up the long long trail."
I smiled. "Did you see any so called wild animals out there?"
"I always see some. I saw a wolf, today. A handsome fellow. He came close, looked at me with more than the usual interest. I had the strangest feeling he had sensed I had company back at the ranch and he was disappointed not to see her."
I was shocked. "I dreamed about wolves last night!" I said. "I dreamed a big wolf came up close to me and looked right in my eyes as though he was trying to read my mind." Even Earl looked startled.
"I see you have a gift," he said. "Animals sense your presence. I don't know as I have actually met a guest who had this gift."
"I didn't know I had it, " I said, "Even though I lived in houses very close to the wilds all the while I was growing up. I was always conscious of them out there. Some of our cattle were half wild from only interacting with humans twice a year, during the spring and fall round-ups. I had pet pigs, pet lambs, pet calves as well as dogs and cats. I still grieve over Tiger, a cat we had with the most wonderful cat spirit I ever encountered. He was found dead in the fields. I never loved another cat the way I did him. I would like to run into him again. I would know him instantly."
"I suppose your history explains the wolf then, all but asking where you were. These animals all sense when someone new has come into their ken."
"I don't know what to think now," I said. "I don't know whether to feel assured or frightened.
"The wild animals in this area are always thinking about man in their midst. Just think, perhaps there could be some hereafters lost in time where the huge dinosaurs still roam. I used to think that some of the men I met when I was in business back east were giant brontosauruses incarnate."
"When the Russians were killing so many of their own people during Stalin's regime I used to think of those men as reincarnated killers like dinosaurs. It was the only way you could explain them without going mad with despair over what murderous depths man could sink to. We had so much killing go on for so long. The holocausts. Blood running in the streets."
"Yes. A memoir writer without knowledge of the criminality of man is not a truthful one."
I looked at him, startled. I realized now why I had been sent to this man. He had evolved. He was no simple book publisher. He would understand why I had had so much difficulty with my memoir. I had given up trying to publish it. It was still sitting somewhere on some family member's computer waiting for a time when the family would not be so reactive if it were published. At least I had finished the first volume and had been working on the second one when I passed. My memoir could so easily be lost, after all that work.
"I was the victim of a crime when I was a child, " I said after a while. "After a great deal of difficulty I was able to write a memoir about it, but I could not bring myself to publish it. I could not find the strength. Now I am hoping that it will not be lost."
"Some very valuable memoirs have surfaced," he said, "about the life of a plantation slave as told by the slave for example. I am sure just as many were lost. People have lived to tell their stories about being caught up in slave camps during the war. And escaping alive to tell the tell the tale, but in the process I am sure a great many precious life stories were lost, burnt up, deemed without value."
"I think women's memoirs are more apt to be lost, deemed without value, than men's. By men themselves."
"You are no doubt right about that," Earl said. "Women are always running behind men in the race to be considered important enough to be paid attention to. If a woman's memoir is the competition it might be dismissed easier."
Earl had agreed with me without a fight. So what now?
"I will be ready to meet Mr. Wolf someday," I said. "It is funny, men have so disillusioned me, I am probably more eager to meet a real wolf in the wilds than I am to meet any men."
Earl nodded. He did not seem at all surprised by my remarks. Perhaps he had known too many women who had expressed similar opinions.
"I am tired now," I said, "but you have made my day. I am excited because you were so intuitive, and that we connected via a wolf who you said you thought was sensing my presence here. In my dream, the wolf walked up to me, and he was looking at me with such a challenge in his eyes, I was sure he was asking me to help the cause of the wolf."
"The cause of the wild spirit of the wolf," said Earl, "which has been subdued in man until it almost does not exist. That is what I found out when I traveled west determined to live in the wilds."
"But didn't you find the spirit of the wolf in the city among the most ambitious and cunning of male writers?"
Earl glanced at me with a bit of warning flashing in his eyes. "No, I told you, some men have not evolved beyond the naked giant predator with a small brain who has killed for eons in this world during the age of the dinosaurs. A wolf is beyond the comprehension of some of these predators. I don't know what makes men revert to cold blooded killing for gain, but it happens. You can do nothing with a man who has reverted to a dinosaur. He will kill you and anybody else who gets in his path, who tries to stop him from getting what he wants. Believe me, I have tangled with that kind of man enough to know that he exists in very large numbers."
"All right," I said, "so now I know what drove you to disappear, surfacing somewhere far away, after taking care to erase your tracks so nobody would know where you had gone."
"It was better than dying," he said. "There were rumors for years that I was dead. Nobody believed I was still alive. I never told them, or somebody would have found me and finished the job of killing me."
"I suppose that is what I did," I sighed. "I made sure nobody thought I was valuable, so someone wouldn't finish the job of killing me."
"Was your memoir that valuable?" Earl asked me
"Well, it was the truth," I said.
"It was valuable then, " said Earl. "If you try to tell too much of the truth people will try to kill you. There are too many people who fear the truth. I had too many fights with too many people. I published too many truthful memoirs."
"Now we are both here. So how can we do any good if we are dead?"
He laughed. "You left your memoir on some family member's computer, didn't you, where it could surface, if someone decided to push it. You have to believe that someone will protect your spark of truth, who will want to emulate your determination to write the truth at all costs. That is all any person can do."
"I got old. I could not hang on any longer."
"It happens to us all," said Earl. "My enemies were pleased when the news finally came that I was finally really dead. I was mourned by some. That is all I really expected. Now I talk to wolves." He laughed. He sounded gleeful. I decided Earl was all right.
This was a good place to be. Someone was looking after my interests. Perhaps my instincts had brought me here, for a meeting with the wolf.