Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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A Dweller on two Planets, Interlude 5






By Frederick S. Oliver, Amanuensis


Traveling, southward, miner no more, the youth bends his course. A year agone the golden phantoms died, the mine caved in, and "no man knows that sepulcher" in the wilds of Siskiyou. Winter wet had extinguished the flames and laid the smoky sea. But the succeeding summer saw all aglow again, matched by the lightnings of heaven. Our traveler is at the very base of Ieka Butte, and he and his steed crawl along the slopes and vales in the bed of the fireborn ocean of smoke as do crustacea on the bottoms of aqueous seas. A flaw of wind decreases the denseness of the clouds, and above his head he sees an indistinct shape, lit feebly by the smoke-smothered moon, at its full now, as on that other night, a year ago. Beautiful through the murky air it is not; but when told that the point dimly seen overhead is the smoke-free, gleaming crest of Shasta, fifteen miles away as the crow flies, e'en though we gaze at it from its own base, we feel an indescribable sense of awe. And we liken the mount, with the flaming forests glowing at its feet and its own muffled form rising in obscured grandeur, to a silent sentinel by his watchfire, wrapped around with his cloak, and meditating on the trust he has kept, lo! these many ages, still keeps, and forever!


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