a.k.a., Stalking Bear
Kier Wintripp is three-quarters Tilok Indian, raised by his grandfather,
Stalking Bear, a "Spirit Walker"
and Tilok mystic, to understand the wilderness and live by his instincts;
raised by his mother to succeed in the brick and mortar jungle of academia,
to live by his intellect, to understand science. He became a doctor of
veterinary medicine, a research scientist and an associate professor,
before returning to the mountains where he practices as a country vet.
Kier is a man who lives with the natural tension between a world of science
and a world of mysticism. In the mountains of northern California between
I-5 and the ocean, there are vast forests and snow-capped mountains that
in the dead of winter are primeval.
In the isolation of this place, Kier is the kind of man who is able to
build a house with his bare hands, make a knife from a bone, and survive
to create a home. He knows how to find food, to fight the cold, to turn
a pile of brush into a living space. He can look at the ground and read
a saga of each creatures passing. He knows what grows in each microclimate
from the rock and ice covered heights to the verdant valleys and everything
in between. He knows when things bloom, what you might eat and what you
would not, the resident birds and migratory visitors, the mammals, the
invertebrates, the tracks of all, the habits of each, and their place
in the order of things.
At 6' 4" and 230 pounds he is what some would call a forty-one-year-old
exercise fanatic. When he isn't treating animals, he teaches survival
and Indian lore to kids, teenagers and on occasion adventuresome Anglos.
While in academia Kier married a white woman from a wealthy family. It
didn't start or end well. He moved back to Wintoon County and has since
avoided entanglements with white women. Kier has a native girlfriend by
the name of Willow, whom he believes he will one day marry. But he's unsettled
about it, viewing any such union as a marriage of cultural convenience
and not knowing quite what to do about it.
Kier figured that he had things pretty well worked out except with respect
to the opposite sex and in regard to his grandfather's view of the Universe.
In his head he believed in the scientific method. His heart wanted something
more but there had never been a happy union between what he thought and
what he felt. So he quoted his grandfather and lived on bio-chemistry.
Reared in a culture that adores the stoic man and hasn't quite discovered
a liberated woman, Kier ponders the disquiet in his own soul about such
matters. And then he meets Jessie Mayfield….
Copyright 2002 David Dun, All Rights
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