"Admit it, you old coot! You are afraid." The tell-tale voice resounds in my head like a sharp clap of thunder. Everywhere I look, I find nothing to silence the voice. The wind is blowing out of the north freezing the air billowing between my skin and buckskin leggins. I started the day with yesterday's fatigue unabated. As I look out to the vastness of trees and snow, there is no trail to follow, just an inner sense that exists between man and his prey. And food so scant that a rabbit crossing my path will provide a feast. Night will close in fast and blur the distinction between who is hunter and who is prey. I am alone on my quest.
Any day in the life for a trapper is measured in the distance traveled, the withstanding of the ravages of the weather and the physical stamina needed to see the sun set each day. "Why do I do this?" I ask myself for the hundredth time.
"Why would I, an Englishman, seek out this god forsaken wild, unsettled place to put my first mark on the land?"
Then I remember my father's prophecy, "It is the land, it is our destiny."
And I admit from my freezing head to the bottom of my icy feet, that like him, land is the attraction so ferociously strong that nothing else matters. It is the simple fact that it is here and can be obtained if one can endure. Hardship comes in many forms and each will be experienced with failure succeeding only if fear becomes the forebearer of despair.
The Voice of Fear and the master of all evil, the Black Shroud of Death, are my tormenters. I am determined, yes, destined, to conquer as each day's challenge is but a battle in the war for my existence.
So I respond, shouting lustily into the wind to that voice, "SILENCE, there is no one here to hear you.
--Da "Inglitchmon" and the Pioneer. A Sherrill Family Saga.