Radiant Days: Writings by Enos Abijah Mills

By Enos Abijah Mills

Booklet through generators, Enos Abijah

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Off I started down the sand hill for camp. It was dark before I had gone a mile. I had to travel slowly for these hills were cut with deep gullies. Twice I had to go around a long, deep gully. If ever I could get down on the level plain I could go straight to camp, even though blindfolded, I thought. There was no fear in my mind of getting lost. And I did not. Out into the level prairie I walked at last, and made my way easily to Kingfisher Camp. By blazing cottonwood camp-fire I marked my day's trail, its loops, reverse loops, circles, zigzags, and twists upon a whitened buffalo skull.

In "The Forest Fire" (from The Spell of the Rockies, 1911), Mills accepts the mystery of life as personal, organic, cosmic reality. The fire's "eloquent death song" is followed by fierce explosions, an ominous, elemental silence, and a stark feast. In "The Love Song of Little Blue" (from Bird Memories of the Rockies, 1931), Mills describes the "barbaric sport" of a boy who later brags to "proud parents" about his destructiveness. Mills feels the loss as a deep personal tragedy. Still, out of it comes new awareness and renewed exuberance.

I tied the raft, thinking I might come that way again, and went on. When evening came I was a long distance from Buffalo Camp and the river with an empty canteen. I had not seen any water since crossing the river, about twenty miles back. A map that I carried indicated a small stream a little more than twenty miles off to the north. As I was northward bound I concluded to travel on through the night. It was a perfect evening and off I walked across the lonely prairie, heading for the North Star.

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