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The Truth About Jay
Bill had to find out by himself, it wasn’t just another fairy tale. It was about a deep feeling that just needed to have the truth uncovered. The story behind his grandfather’s military service scene was taken as if he was a fool for many. They told him that his grandfather was delirious when found with his two friends dead. The fact is that he was part of a hero’s mission and that is what really mattered. Here was Bill, a complete adult, aboard on his yacht, ready to discover the unknown.
The yacht bore down on a dock of the Northern Woods, where his grandfather’s story began. Bill was very anxious to start walking, but he made sure that the rope knot was to the bitter end unto the cleat. That yacht was his way out of the forest.
It was the end of the warm months, so Bill was not carrying too many things on him. “Less weight, more movement,” he thought. Remembering his old Boy Scout days, on his backpack he stored: a compass, insect repellent, a flash light, a map, and a water bottle. In the lunch box he had some peanut butter sandwiches, a bag of trail mix and hot coffee in the thermos. As he hiked through the big old trees, the scenery was admirable. His emotions were mixed as he advanced, and as he thought, with anxiousness, sadness, pride, but peace rested in his heart. Finding a good spot to rest, he decided to start a campfire and have something to eat.
Everything was ready when a cute bird struck up an acquaintance. Bill knew that it was not all shy about seeking a handout, because it was a camp robber. Bill smiled as the bird launched into his hand saying: “this is all you get Mr. ‘Whiskey Jack’”. The bird flew away as he noticed that time also had. The moon was offering a mystical touch to the forest and he decided to lie down and watch. Almost asleep he made a tent out of his jacket.
Bill slept like a baby that night, until a harsh and high pitched sound woke him up. It was the bird, but not for food! Bill had forgotten the fire he had lit. Everything he had packed was in flames. If it wasn’t for the safety measures he had taken it would have spread into a brushfire. Now there he was with nothing, after extinguishing it.
The fire left him without anything material, but his mission trip was like an ember inside him, and he restarted his journey through the forest.
Bill walked, walked, and walked without direction; nothing to eat was found and weakness had hold of him. He had fainted so many times as he kept his journey that no record of time or distances were achieved. Snow was covering his body by this time. A frozen body was what he had.
After his long journey he saw a cabin at last, but his legs were stiffened by the cold weather. He couldn’t walk and crawled for hours, trying to dig his way over the cold snow and freezing ice. Stronger than the weather or his body was his will power. That ember inside him helped him be heated inside, gaining the strength that the situation was stealing from him.
When he reached the cabin, he passed out for who knows how long. Nobody knew about his journey. It was one of those actions made in secret to oneself. His plan was to tell about his journey with evidence, exactly what he found when he woke up. The snow had him covered in the old cabin but he was able to wander around crawling like a baby. He knew he would find something there and not necessarily to eat. He was hungry but his thirst of finding out the truth was inevitable. That was the cabin for sure where his grandfather was found. The sensation of knowing that he had at last reached the cabin stirred again his emotions. This time weakness was a hard battle, but under a fallen roof log he found some papers. Some were readable with effort, and others were torn by time. Nothing mattered at this time; it was about starting to read.
Day 13 Jay had spent most of its time during the warmer months collecting food. It was not about robbery, it was about to hide food to survive. Oh, how much pain, I need to stay conscious.
Bill felt that there was something irrelative. The story about his grandfather had other names mentioned, nobody with the name Jay. Bill was in so much pain, just like his grandfather, perhaps, was his thought. Quoting “I need to stay conscious” gave him strength somehow. His eyes were not focusing; he did not have knowledge of time. He kept reading though until:
Day 18 I don’t want pain to disturb my inner peace, I needed to focus on something else and there I saw Jay working. It was astonishing to peak at the way the food was fixed before hidden. Well, what am I seeing here? It is mixing the food with saliva and then making small pellets out of it. I hope someday my grandkid, Bill hears about this. I just cannot wait to see his sparkling eyes as I tell him about Jay!
Bill cried out loud “I’m hearing grandpa, I’m hearing”. He fell to sleep, in tears without being able to keep reading, holding on tight to his grandfather’s writings. A drop woke him up this time, since the snow was starting to melt. In physical weakness and in spiritual strength he kept reading.
Day 0 I will start with day 0.No calendars around, and I know I have passed out for a long period of time. I know it, my beard feels so long! Look at me, what a mess. What will my Captain say if he sees me? Oh, I am a military quartermaster, but how not to cry knowing that my buddy’s bodies are hidden under the barrack. Will I be found alive? Will I be able to… ah, so many thoughts in my mind. Men burn energy thinking in the unknown, instead of gaining strength to stay alive. My lovely wife, I would give anything to be close enough and whisper my love for her. Our children are the pride of our love. My bones, I don’t feel my bones. Am I dead?
Bill was reading words that were like a mirror of his reality.
Day 4 There is Jay again, as Robin Hood. All those pellets which I was fed were full of energy. How dearly is a friend!
Honoring Bill’s Grandfather.
My dear friends, Bill was found alive. The real story was told with dignity. Today a monument is held honoring Bill’s grandfather. Jay was the bird, which as Robin Hood, was seen robbing. It had found Bill’s grandfather and kept him alive. Bill enjoys his grandkids sparkling eyes as he tells them the complete story, hoping that the truth will be kept on generation by generation.
© Maria Magdalena Ruiz O’Farrill and inspired by Bill Holland
Songs of the Forest
© 2013 Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill