Pop, I don't like to hear that things haven't been good health wise because I know you under-report this stuff.  I reiterate my suggestion that you seek some alternative therapies to treat the terrible symptoms--not to try to cure the disease but to make each day more bearable.  . . .

John Salter [Beba]  7/14/05


Painful stories, but well told, touching in your approach to the young guy
with Lou Gehrig's disease.

Keep at it, lead while you can, you give a strong example.

David [McReynolds]  7/14/05


Hunter: After reading your reports, I've decided not to become afflicted with Lupus. The good just doesn't out weigh the bad. Steve

Steven F. McNichols   7/15/05
268 Bush Street, #3602
San Francisco, CA 94104-3503
I am thinking healthy and loving thoughts about you.

And having lots of political up moments of hope in the midst of the ongoing disaster that is capitalism.

sam [friedman]   7/15/05

July 15 2005:

SLE [Lupus] is a strange disease.   About the first of this July,  Maria and I and Hunter [Shelty] walked up into the Hills on a fairly cool day .  Although we didn't get nearly as far as we would have in the pre-Lupus times, we still covered more ground than we would have felt possible.  But that was followed by setbacks.  You never know with SLE what the next bend of the trail will bring. But we will keep walking -- as soon as the now hot weather cools a bit . . .On March 15 2003,  only a very few months before Lupus [of which I had never heard] struck hard and openly, I posted  on our website,  "In The Dark Wilds We Have Many Friends"

Was this a harbinger?  A sign perhaps? Here is a part of that -- but, hear me:  If I don't like Lupus, I do like wolves.


By Hunter Gray [Hunter Bear]

It was completely new -- just a few early mornings  ago.  I jerked to a
sharp, abrupt stop on the rough downward trail. I had never heard
anything like that in the wilds before.

It boomed out in the pre-dawn darkness from a ridge across the valley -- a
half mile or so ahead of us -- a howl, deep and heavy and eerie,  rising far
up and above the very high, steep mountain slopes. The primeval cry flowed
in over the dark green junipers and the brown sage and the thick red maples
in the canyons.

The Great Howl  had been preceded by coyote yelps and cries at some
distance from it -- and it was followed by a few more of those.  But I know
coyotes well, have all my life, and had one as my close companion
in my native Arizona for two years until he left home and got married
on the Apache National Forest.

This wasn't Them.

Hunter, my faithful Shelty, tensed tightly, peering intently ahead.
He's always extremely interested in wild canines but, living with
four house cats and my half-bobcat, pays only polite, cursory attention
to bobcats and mountain lions.

This was a wolf.  I had heard they were coming back. .  .  .

JULY 14, 2005

It was break time for my almost three hour weekly session of Racism and Hate
Groups in America.  Some of those 1993 UND students of mine -- and there
were a hundred or so in the class -- were stretching their legs, others just
chatting.  I was struggling with a VCR machine, trying to figure something
that went well beyond my limited tech know-how. Needing help, I looked for a
nearby savvy kid.

Closest to me was a young guy, wearing a coat -- which was relatively heavy
for the moderate temp in our large room.  He was from British Columbia,
part-Native, and he had two years or so before been diagnosed with the
invariably lethal Lou Gehrig's disease which, in his case, was moving with
destructive swiftness.  In considerable pain, he came faithfully to this

I had to ask him.

"Don," said I in a low voice. "Can you give me a hand with this damn thing?"

He shook his head slowly and his voice was as low as mine.  "I wish I could,
John, but I no longer can."  He paused, then went on, "My fingers just don't
work anymore."

I sensed he was glad that I had asked -- that I hadn't passed him over.

Not long after that, he indicated to his family and close friends that he
planned suicide.  He was firm in his determination, said his goodbyes, and
took a heavy dose of sleeping pills.  In due course, his family took him to
the hospital where he died.

Fred Thompson, the veteran IWW writer and editor and organizer, came down
with Lou Gehrig's disease very late in life.  Peter [Mack] and I visited him
for a full afternoon at Chicago at the beginning of May 1986.  Fred was a
far cry from his traditionally vigorous self -- but he maintained his own
apartment and his mind was just as sharp as ever.  He died early in 1987,
close to 90 years of age.

Today, Eldri and I watched an HBO shorter-film about a young woman who
fought the same disease for several years before she succumbed -- helped by
her sisters and a wide range of supporters.  She worked hard to successfully
develop a broader awareness of the realities of the disease.

Bruce Hartford, intrepid webmaster of Civil Rights Movement Veterans, came
by nine days ago and interviewed me for several good and intensive hours on
our Jackson Movement and some of my subsequent activities as well.  I held
up OK -- no problem with reasonably articulate recall! -- but I did take a
few short, necessary breaks. [We were glad to see him and he seemed

A week later, Eldri and I went to our second local/regional Lupus Support
meeting at the public library.  Attendance was down from the nine of a month
ago [then, six SLE people, two spouses, and a friend of one victim] to six
[four SLE'ers, two spouses.]  These figures include the good lady with SLE
who, with her devoted husband, has come up these past two times from the
Salt Lake setting to help spark this group.  Asked by her if the group
measured up to my expectations, I could only grin and say sardonically,
"Well, I didn't exactly expect a revival meeting."

People laughed -- sardonically.

I was asked if I would take a leadership role in the project.  I dodged
that -- said I'd know next month. It wasn't the fact that I am the only SLE
man [so far] as much as it was my reluctance to become deeply identified as
a Mr. Lupus. Nor did it involve the fact that things on that medical front
have not lately been good with me.  After a lifetime of being called a
retinue of  hostile names, [some of them quite creative], this was a
jarringly New Thing for me to consider.

When I got up from that two hour meeting, I was unable to walk for a few
minutes, had to hold onto the table.  Then the lady from Utah tripped, lost
her balance, and fell -- without apparent injury -- on the fortunately soft
carpet.  [I had lost my balance and fallen a few days before -- but I only
hit my bed.]  But I could barely make it out of the library to be picked up
by Josie in her Jeep and, as soon as I was home, I sank immediately into a
bone-tired, deep sleep.

After Eldri and I had watched the HBO feature on Lou Gehrig's disease, we ag
reed -- as we have before -- that my especially bad variant of SLE, having
failed to do me in at its open onset, is now involved in a longer-term
erosive action [subversion, if you will!] that can, however long  it takes,
have only one conclusion.

As things now stand.

But I claw back.

And, on the other hand, if new and truly effective medicines should ever
come -- and no new Lupus medicines of any depthy consequence have been
developed in more than 40 years -- it's a whole new game of cards.

I've decided [and have now indicated this] that I'll play some kind of
leadership role in the Support
Group -- whatever the group wants.  The HBO feature played no role in this
decision -- but a lifetime [so far] of fighting challenges is a
tradition/habit impossible to discard.

Yours, H

 Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'



Lupus -- a genetic auto-immune disease -- is in any form dangerous.  The
systemic version -- systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE -- can easily be
lethal.  And the extreme versions of SLE are very likely to eventually do
one in.  This sketch of my own battle does include some information that I
have not previously given: e.g., an earlier history of SLE.

The photo of me that is now at the fore on our website
and much on key pages, clearly indicates the Rash on my upper  chest --
which, of course, is properly seen as the Lupus Rash. The interesting fact
here is that this photo was taken, and formally recorded, in October 2002.
This was ten months before my own extreme version of SLE hit in full force
[July 2003] and a year before it was diagnosed. This particular photo went
onto our website in several locations , and then was withdrawn and replaced
by an older one; and then, after I became really ill, by a series of
unflattering depictions of me.  And then, finally, we put on the photo we
especially liked -- my Navajo silver/turquoise bracelet is quite visible --
and we maintained that as our official photo for almost a year.  That
particular one, August 2004, indicates considerable weight which is now
fading: very fast in the case of my face, somewhat slower elsewhere.  Thus
this photo of October 2002 is appropriate once again. 

But until a couple of days ago  when we posted it, we had never noticed the
upper chest Rash depicted on it.  I vaguely remember the rash at that early
time as red and "rough" and slightly bumpy, and I would occasionally run my
fingers across it.  Although the Rash in Lupus situations isn't felt to be
an especially early or late thing, I do draw the impression that, by the time
it's visible, Lupus is quite active.

[However, on 9/09/05, we returned to the older photo as the major website one  -- the one with the visible bracelet.  Basic reason is that I don't like to look at the Lupus Rash.]

What is interesting is that in the Fall of 2002 and for many months
thereafter, I was at peak energy.  Once I made my full long daily climb
twice in one day.  At another point, I tripped and fell hard on icy mud --
but nevertheless continued my full trek.  Although as time went on, there
was an odd problem or two, [and then very late in the game, somewhat
diminished energy], most everything continued normally.  In May 2003,
returning from a speaking trip at Chicago [Ethical Humanist Society], I had
no difficulty driving straight through from Beba's place in western
Minnesota to our home at Pocatello -- in one very long swoop.  The latter
part involved several hours of dark and intricately circuitous mountain
driving via a shortcut in the Montana/Wyoming/Idaho border country.

In mid-July 2003, the SLE struck openly and very hard on a number of
critical fronts.  My appetite disappeared, extreme fatigue took over, our
imported Teton Basin water tasted badly for me, and the Rash spread on my
chest and then onto my upper back as well.  In early September, I bowed to
family pressure and went to the local hospital.  By that time the Rash was
all but gone, my appetite was OK, mountain water tasted fine, but fatigue
was acute and I had some difficulty walking.  All of the hospital stuff may
have been inevitable but my experiences there -- in three substantial
incarcerations -- were just plain negative. I am certainly not opposed to
the judicious addition of non-Western medicines.

During my initial stay in the hospital, I almost died twice: cardiac arrest
in the context of acute anemia during an exploratory colonoscopy. There
followed a myriad of X-rays, a bone marrow test, cat scans, endless blood
tests, other mysterious things. In mid-October, SLE was diagnosed and it was
quite clear that it was attacking [among other targets] my skin, lungs,
heart, liver, kidneys, cardiovascular system, joints.  Once again into the
hospital I almost died and, by this time, the Rash had returned in
spectacular full force and my face [especially my mouth] was covered with
blisters and ulcers.  And then, once more -- the third time -- into the
hospital, I again touched the Edge of the Fog.  By then, heavy doses of
Prednisone [among my daily ration of 20-odd pills] had given me a bad case
of pseudo-diabetes on top of everything else.  [But now, as we have
gradually replaced the Prednisone with other medicine, the diabetes is
disappearing and is virtually gone.]

I think Lupus in general is fairly rare and the SLE version very much so. At
69, I had never heard of Lupus.  Eldri had heard of it only once [1967]
because of two friends: afflicted sisters -- one of whom died -- who were
offspring of the president of Augsburg College in Minneapolis.

Once, long ago in my very early '30s, I developed a kind of rash, heavy
fatigue [needed 12 hours of sleep at night] and sprouted a few other signs
that now strike a note of hostile resonance.  I continued my work without
any letup or interruption and traveled extensively on several occasions.  I
went to no doctors and within a few months it was all apparently gone.  My
physicians of today feel it very likely that this was an early SLE attack.

Although anyone can get Lupus, Native Americans and Blacks and Chicanos are
especially vulnerable. Women are at risk.  Federal research funding for
Lupus, while showing encouraging signs, is still relatively slim.

What am I trying to say?  The Gloom/Doom view is that I am not getting any
better and am damn tired of living as a semi-invalid, with fatigue, cramped
hands, some pain, in a context where there is only very limited physical
mobility of any kind.  Frankly, dreams beyond this house often have a tough
time even thinking about materializing.

Anywhere, that's one view of where I'm at:  perdido / nowhere and lost.

On the other hand, the SLE has not entered my brain.  As far as I know, my
thinking, speaking, writing abilities are in fine form. [Tell me if you ever
feel they aren't!]  And, with a computer, I can sometimes be dangerous.

There are rumours of new Lupus medicines -- Somehow, Somewhere,  Sometime.

As I say, I seem to have had a version of SLE decades ago and suppressed it.
And now there is my fresh thought that, as indicated by this October 2002
photo, I was able to hold off the major thrust of extreme SLE for at least a
year or so after this Rash had signaled.

So maybe, just maybe -- I can kill it or at least hammer it down forever.

The Earth, the Hills and the Mountains, are very close to me indeed. The
spirit of Bear lives within me.  I have a devoted family, many fine friends,
and a great cat -- along with other animal companions.

For me, it's all more -- much more -- than simply a fighting chance.

 Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

Check out Surprise Tribute:

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]


I was a little ambivalent about posting WOLF DISEASE: TRAILING AND
BACK-TRAILING LUPUS a few days ago.  Mysterious Lupus, and especially its
SLE version, is obviously a major part of my personal geography  -- a much
unwanted guest! -- but I don't wish to overdo it for others. [I am far more
comfortable writing about my traditional areas of social justice focus.]  On
the other hand, WOLF DISEASE contains some brand new information about my
own SLE history, considerable detail, my best current assessment -- and an
honest view of the often bleak and dead-end feeling that one gets.  [All of
my offspring feel that I understate the gravity of things. I tried to avoid
that in WOLF DISEASE.]  In any event, I sent it out widely.

And I have received a fair number of very solid and thoughtful responses.
Here is a sampling of seven:

Dear Hunter,  7/27/05
You really do have the spirit of a bear in your fight against Lupus.  I'm so
sorry you have to face this horrible disease.  If I can ever do anything for
you, please count me among your friends.
Our dear Sally fought hard too.  She is my hero. She needed both a kidney
and liver transplant, had severe Sjogrens, bone disease and on and on but
she always smiled.  Her body was ravaged but her spirit soared.  I miss her
so much.  I wish we could get the "higher-ups" to target this disease in the
same fashion as they focus on others.

Take care my friend and keep in touch.   Celine  N.  [New Mexico]

[Note:  Celine's good friend, Sally, died of SLE relatively recently.  - H]

John/Hunter--I did forward your message to a friend who deeply suffers from
Lupus.  I am so afraid she will end her life because of it.   I know that
that happen there is a reason beyond my understanding.  I have never
suffered--at this point of my life--with chronic pain.  It must be horrific
and I know is for her always dragging her down and always painful.   She may
contact you if that is OK.   She, like you ,is a sensitive person who feels
the pain of the Earth.  I think of her as the canary who is taken into the
mines. And know that we are and should be-- an endangered species--it is so
obvious.   But there/here it is.
I wish you well and wish you strength if the face of this difficult time.
Thank you for keeping me on your elist.

Sally H. [Arizona]   7/27/05

[Note:  I immediately sent a long letter to Sally, with our phone number and
much more for her friend. - H]

Dear John,   7/26/05

     I have printed your letter and with your permission will share it with
my physician friend when I see him in late August.  .  . .
      I wish you the best of luck in living with this debilitating disease.
I only learned about it when I was displaying symptoms in the late 1980s
which were consistent with SLE.  Fortunately, that was ruled out and I was
diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.  Although they are
debilitating, they are not life threatening.  I have just had to modify my
lifestyle to accommodate my as if I am much older than I
really am.  It necessitated my early retirement as an educator, but I have
been able to find intellectual stimulation and fulfillment in my work in the
UFO field.
     Hugs to you and Eldri.

Kathy M.  [New Hampshire]

Hunter, 7/26/05

 I read your email and felt for your struggle with Lupus.  You mentioned
the quality of feeling "lost and nowhere" as well as optimism for the
potential to hammer it down.  I felt like sharing a coping mechanism for
what it may be worth.

 Last summer I was dog-tired of my medicine . . . I flushed the pills and
went on a "medicine walk".  This involved a
foot trek from Minneapolis with the destination set for the Black Hills of
South Dakota.  I was seeking alternative medicine, delving into my resources
. . .

When I returned to my usual digs in Minneapolis, I reconnected with the
Tibetan monks in the area.  Ngawang Tenzin, a monk and good friend explained
the dual nature of suffering.  He knew that the illness and the Iraq war
were difficult for me, and said that without these sufferings, our minds
would pick something else up (seemingly more petty) to suffer about.
Ngawang encouraged me to see it like manure for the flowers of nondual
awakening. . .

Your life has already brought many richnesses to our world, both
personally and collectively.   If there is anyone who could die with a
peaceful grin on his face, or send this wolf back to its pack, it would be

 Your student and friend,
 Andrew B.  [Minnesota]

[Note:  Andrew's is a profound illness -- but not SLE.  - H]

Dear Mr. Salter;  7/25/05
Thank you for sharing your battle with SLE . As I told you before I'm
familiar with all the ravages and havoc that this monster can exert ,having
worked in a hospital for so many years - 13 @ Cook County Hospital and now
completing my 24th (8/17/05) @ Rush University Medical Center.I've not known
anyone personally with SLE until you. I lost my boss of 23 yrs. last year to
ALS an equally debilitating disease . He was younger than I am and it was
difficult watching him deteriorate .I can't begin to imagine how your family
must have felt.
Scientists  can place men  on the moon; our government can spend billions on
unjust wars but we can't find the funds to cure SLE, ALS, Breast Cancer,
Alzheimer's, etc. Don't mean to get on a soapbox.
You have lead an extraordinary life . I doubt if you will ever  fully
understand the impact that you had on so many of our lives. My prayers are
with you. WWW.
Love and regards to Mrs. Salter.

Mary Ann W.  [Illinois]

Note:  WWW -- "We Will Win" -- is our slogan from the historic Jackson Civil
Rights Movement.  - H]


Hunter:  I wanted to let you know that I have not forgotten sending you a
book. We're just suddenly in the process of moving back to Nevada and I've
been going nuts trying to make it work. Also, I'm still doing a final, final
cleanup version for the isbn number and want you to have that one.

I'm sure that you are asked this over and over, but here goes anyway: Are
you practicing any nontraditional healing ways? For instance, any of Andrew
Weil's meditations? You are obviously journaling - are you asking yourself
what are you supposed to be learning from this journey? And, of course,
native American healing ceremonies are included in this inquisition.... Most
likely the answer is yes to all of this, but I still feel a need to ask,
since lupus is such a strange disease.

As always, your journaling that you share is very interesting. But I keep
hearing you use words like "hammer." Have you tried embracing this disease?
(Oh, brother - I'd better quit now because I know how much I "appreciate"
advice, but I do think of you and hope that something will soon connect to
give you new hope and energy.)

Susan K. [Mississippi]   7/25/05

[Note:  I use vitamins, creative prayer, Bear parts and special feathers. - H]

Remember, Hunter, you don't go until I go, and I'm not planning to go for at
least another 20 years. Steve  M. [ California]   7/25/05

 Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

Check out Surprise Tribute:

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]



Our own especially good news is that I am walking -- on the steep slopes --
once again.  More on that in a moment, but first:

The attached excerpt from a long obit is from the Quincy, California paper
of just a couple of days ago.  In 1988, right after receiving his M.A. from
UND, Beba [John] became exec director for the Roundhouse Council at
Greenville, in northeastern California for several good years -- not far
from Reno.  The program serves Native people, mostly the Mountain Maidu.
Maria and Thomas went out there for two years, living in nearby Quincy --
where Samantha was born in '91.  Occasionally, Maria checks the regional
news in that setting.

It is quite possible that Mr Smith, with a surviving grandfather at  Grand
Cayman Island, B.W.I, is of African background.  Natives, Blacks, Chicanos
are special risk groups for this malevolently hideous disease -- but anyone
can get Lupus.  In any case, he -- apparently relatively young -- is simply
one more SLE victim.  As far as I know, there is no organic correlation
between Lupus and Leukemia -- but Leukemia and other blood cancers can
definitely result from certain chemo drugs, such as Imuran and Methotrextate
and Cytoxin, which are often used for SLE. A year and a half ago, a pushy
Rheumatologist strongly advised me to use one of those three, I did not, and
we left him pronto.  I take 20 pills or so a day, but we have sharply
reduced Prednisone, replacing it with Plaquenil.  We think it unlikely that
I will take any of the chemo drugs save as a last resort.

Since anything can always happen with SLE, I have had, of course, Last Rites
from the Catholic Church.

Some may recall that, a few weeks ago, in the latter stages of our first
hike into the hills since the really heavy snow and ice faded [major rains
have continued off and on in these parts], my legs completely gave out close
to home and Josie had to bring her Jeep Liberty to rescue me.  This sad
event raised the possibility that I am in decline, so to speak --
"progressive deterioration" of some sort. But as I told the nice young
Mormon "Elders" [19 or 20] who came by some days ago, I believe in fighting
right down to the wire -- I ain't no 'Possum.   And they vigorously agreed,
but did offer to mow our large lawn simply as a helpful service.

 Then, a week ago, Maria and I and Hunter [Shelty] took a very good hike
up -- and down -- with nothing untoward.  A couple of days ago, we went
successfully even further.  This morning, even with Josie and Cameron off to
early church [LDS] at Cameron's home town of McCammon, about 40 minutes
south of Poky, and Thomas' phone more or less inactive for the moment, we
chanced it once again and went the full length we had on that grim day of
the Collapse of the Legs.

And no great problems.  All OK.  We kind of hoped to see a rattler or two,
and I took my snakebite kit for the first time since late fall, but no such
friends under the shady sage or on the edges of the cool mud. With the
reduction in Prednisone, and the walking as well, I am now steadily losing
weight.  My feet continue to be painful and numb and walking can be tough.

And, as I remarked to Sam Friedman during his fine visit here a month or so
ago, my feet -- Size 16 -- may now be getting even longer.

"Damion Smith passed away at Stanford Cancer Center, Palo Alto, after a long
battle with leukemia and lupus. He was born in Santa Maria, and raised in
Lompoc. At the time of his passing he was residing in Quincy. He leaves to
mourn his loving wife, Kathryn Elena (Katie); daughters Mackenzie Danielle,
5 years old and Raygen Leigh Smith, 4 years old."


 Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
 Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'

From David McReynolds:

Very glad to hear you are walking again! We all in decline, one of those realities of life. But between the beginning and the end, the lighting of the candle and its going out, we need to stay the course.

And I think it is just as well you didn't encounter any rattlesnakes. I remember (not happily) encountering one many years ago when I was hitchhiking from Los Angeles to New York. It was in the desert, near Barstow, California, where I'd been dropped off, and while waiting saw a rattlesnake. I attacked it with a rock, killing it - and cutting off the rattles. Why? It was doing me no harm.  I was young. I should have left it alone, in the desert, where it lived and I didn't, where it belonged, and I was only visiting.

David [McReynolds]  5/22/05


Note by Hunter Bear:

Here is a relevant excerpt from an article I published in Against the
Current, January/February 2001.  Full piece is at
My very first invasion of the news media involved a rattlesnake situation.
This, from the Arizona Daily Sun [Flagstaff/Coconino County], late June,
"John Wood, 13 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Wood, residing south of
Flagstaff, got introduced to an Arizona rattlesnake Wednesday of this week
while exploring Grass Canyon, near Schnebley Hill, but suffered no ill
effects because of the quick thinking of John Salter, Jr., his companion,
age 14.
"The snake was coiled within striking distance when the Salter boy killed it
with an accurately aimed .22 rifle bullet.  Wood must have felt he was
carrying with him one of the four leaf clovers his famous song-writing
father composed, "I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover'..."
In that situation, I had to do what I did-and I have no apologies.
I didn't kill every rattlesnake I encountered.  When our wide-ranging high
school hiking club plunged into the Grand Canyon (half a day down to the
bottom) and trudged up (two days), we'd frequently pass rattlesnakes camped
by the trail in the shade of a rock or a bush.  We were far too preoccupied
and trail-focused to take them on.
Then came a very abrupt shift in my generally violent anti-rattlesnake
attitude.  I was 18, my 45/70 Winchester in hand-taking an obscure game
trail down into the vast Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area, southwest of
Flagstaff.  Suddenly I saw a tiny rattler-very tiny, only a few inches in
length, a minute rattle at his tail tip-coiled by a rock, right in the
middle of the trail.  It was so absolutely small that, if it rattled, I
couldn't even hear it.
The still-coiled, near-baby snake looked feistily up-right at me.  His
message was, however telepathically conveyed, sharp and crystal clear.
And I began to laugh.  With my big-bore 45/70 I could have, in a split
instant, eliminated every physical vestige of my brave-hell,
admirable-little adversary.  But how could I have ever done that?
For a long moment more, we looked at each other.  And then the tiny
entity-his point made very well-uncoiled in leisurely fashion and moved
slowly away.  For my part, in a gesture of respect and deference I, too,
stepped away.
And from that point on, I never killed another rattler.  When I encountered
one, I simply gave him his space.  But I never felt the warmth of friendly
empathy with one-until very recently indeed.
Hunter Bear  posted 5/22/05
 From Bill Mandel:

You don't have to worry about dementia.
And maybe, in the very remote future, some archaeologist will
discover your fossilized tracks and produce headlines with
the astounding discovery that Bigfoot ultimately grew cleats.

Bill [Mandel]  5/22/05


Great that you are doing the walks again.  Keep on trekkin!
sam [friedman]   5/22/05


You will be fine, Steve, just as long as you avoid Coors. But if you must
have drink, try Moose Drool beer -- from Idaho and Montana.  Mack recommends
it, always drinks it when he's here.]  Best, Hunter  5/22/05
Thanks. I started working out six weeks ago after a 23-year layoff, and feel
pretty good. But I'll never be able to keep up with you on a hiking trail.

Steven McNichols   5/22/05
268 Bush Street, #3602
San Francisco, CA 94104-3503


Hunter, Good
to hear on the
walkin, and on
a regular basis.
It's good to
Thinking of
you ,
To the core
Tim  [McGowan] 5/23/05


 Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
 Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
 and Ohkwari'