The cold December air bites my face as I approach the tree growing in the middle of Muddelty Creek. I’m not sure if it’s technically a delta but I’ve always thought of it that way. It’s almost impossible to see all of the little fingers of water that stretch out in this spot where the ducks and geese rule. I’ve come here on this wintery day to check out the scenery and seek new images and new thoughts to feed my passions. My ever active imagination wonders and in my mind’s eye I can see pre-columbian hunters riding a canoe silently through the water. With them an elder sits in silence occupying the center of the vessel. As they patrol the waters edge they stop occasionally and he mumbles a few words of prayer and gathers medicine growing in mud. A few twigs of willow here and some dried berries there. From the muddy banks they gather a few roots from the arrowleaf plant. These “duck potatoes” will help sustain them during the winter. As they paddle in a little farther they check the fish traps set out the on the prior evening. The traps are empty. They are moving towards the next set of traps when a large ripple breaks the surface of the water. The hunter in the front of the canoe takes notice and cautiously rises to his feet as the man in back of the craft attempts to bring them to halt. With a subtle thrust he sends his Atlatl dart into a spot just beyond the swirl. The stone bladed spear finds its mark and the swirl of water morphs into slashing. The huge alligator gar fish is pinned to the muddy bed of the creek by the shaft of the spear. The large fish barely fits in the little dugout canoe with the three men. The elder grins as heart swells with pride. His grandsons have learned their lessons well and fed the family with their skills.
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