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Bird's younger brother had driven to El Rito earlier that morning to visit, and the two of them were out on the huge prairie field, picking wild onions, potatoes and other green vegetables to be used in the stew, and Cease and Natural Suzanne were already boiling down the deer's bones for stock over the wood-burning stove in the kitchen.

Emmett pulled on his dungarees and went out back to take a good, healthy shit in the outhouse and get some well water to wash himself awake. As he splashed the water on his face and scrubbed the sleep from his eyes, the sensation got stronger and stronger, pulling him away from the dry New Mexican earth where he was standing and setting him down on the concrete sidewalks of San Francisco. It was a powerful feeling rather than a stubborn thought, which was priming his instincts and telling him to move on, to leave the country for the city, to get back to the place he came from. The towel flapped against his face, as the energies he acquired the day before joined with his old primal instinct to overwhelm him with a force that made his whole body tremor and understand that it was time to go. To go to the place and the people that were flashing in visions behind the lids of his closed eyes. The place and the people he left to come to the mountain by himself. The mountain where Little Bird showed him all there was to see and where Emmett Grogan, for one split second of eternity, became a magnificent, buck deer.

He spent all the time he needed to spend on the mountain and had learned what he needed to learn. Now it was time to return to the valley where the earth was covered with cement and where the people lived their lives hoping for a moment's relief, and show his brothers and sisters what he saw, simply by returning.

The women were still busy in the kitchen, and Natural Suzanne poured Emmett a large tin cup of strong, black coffee sliced with chicory when she saw him coming. But Emmett didn't stop to drink it after he entered the back door. In fact, he wasn't conscious even of having crossed through the kitchen on his way to the section of the cabin's main room where his belongings were neatly stacked. There was nothing in his thoughts but the knowledge that it was time.

He moved like a man possessed but unfrantic, and within a few minutes he had packed his few things into a knapsack, sleeved his bow in its case, bound his arrows together and strapped them onto the side of the pack. He decided to leave the .~22 in the corner of the room where it was leaning against the wall next to a couple of boxes [end page 377]

 

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