I'm not sure why I was using this road, but I loved seeing that gate. No question that something was out there. My horse was already skittish, and too many tracks crisscrossed our way. On either side of the gate, a solid wall stretched unbroken down slope out of sight. As tall as a man, it would keep out the wolves. Securing the latch, I sighed with relief then turned to continue my journey.
Beyond the wall, the scenery changed. No more of the fall prairie colours, it was still green and summer inside, my horse now grazing on wild durum wheat so dense it could be harvested. To the right of the road, a small creek supported lush pastures, with deer asleep in the grasses, and were those wolves beside them, also chewing on grass? As I stared, a bobcat walked out of the bush. It sidled alongside me, demanding to be stroked. Following that, it started to wind between my legs and purr like a train.
Back on my horse, I next entered this giant valley, its far walls lost in blues and purples. The road continued leading me down, meandering under orange-coloured cliffs. Below the road the land fell away in bushes and grasses, a carpet of green highlighted in reds, whites and golds. Trees grew at the foot of the slope, a wall of aspens and maples, and in the valley bottom, a brilliant blue lake reflected the blue sky above. Shadows of clouds flitted over the lake, floating along on a warm summer breeze.
From time to time along the road I'd pass colonies of gophers, or herds of wild sheep, goats and deer. They were all quietly grazing, but grazing beside them, were cougar, wolf and wolverine. That made no sense but there they were.
The road led me down to the lake, then skirted beside a white sandy beach that ended in low crimson cliffs. These cliffs were capped with purple heather, and standing alone, two giant trees, one silver, one gold. In awe of the beauty around me, I left my horse grazing and walked to the trees so I could look out on the lake.
On the ground beneath the golden tree were two apples, both half eaten, both rotted and rancid, and swarming with wasps.