far back as I can remember, I've always been afraid
of heights. I remember visiting a lighthouse on Lake
Erie. As I reached the top of the lighthouse, I was
attacked with a terrifying sensation of falling to my
day when I was about 12 years old, I had a vivid and
frightening dream that haunts me to this day. In the
dream, Images of the western plains came to me and I
heard little boys laughing and horses nickering. It
was dark, but I felt the wind on my face, and I could
smell the scent of sweet prairie grass.
the cover of darkness, I caught a glimpse of an Indian
boy about ten or twelve years old, riding a pony. He
had paint on his face and was laughing. I couldn't really
see him, but I knew that that was because his soul was
mine. And so, I laughed back. I knew we were on a mission,
one that was dangerous and against the rules, but I
followed because the lure was too exciting.
rode out across the prairie, with the wind at our heels
and bow and arrows at our backs and we were free, young
boys on the verge of proving our manhood. I knew he
was my brother; I could sense the special bond. Laughing,
I encouraged my mount to outpace him, pulling into the
lead, as we headed straight toward our objective.
the full moon, we could see them. Hundreds of buffalo.
I could hear the rush, the pounding of hooves drowning
out my voice. The exhilaration unbelievable. The dust
rose thick as the buffalo drew in around my mount, trapping
me within the herd. Looking back, I saw my brother.
He shouted at me, waving his arms, an alarmed expression
on his face. I watched him fall back until the darkness
covered him. But I continued to laugh. How could I not?
I was happy and completely free.
It's a funny thing: one moment, hearing the sound of
the monstrous rumble of the hooves, and then next, an
instant silence as you sail through the air, still happy
and free, falling to your death.
on in life as an adult, I shared my dream with my brother.
I was telling him about the two Indian boys hunting
buffalo when he gasped in amazement. He had had the
same nightmare, but in his dream, he watched an Indian
boy ride over a cliff.
helped to explain my fear of heights. Other things began
to make sense. I was born into a nomadic military family.
My brother and I look very similar. If you see his profile,
he looks native American. Incidentally, just recently
I went through a box of old school pictures and artwork
and came across a picture I drew in the third grade.
In the picture, there are two Indian boys riding spotted
ponies, while shooting arrows at buffalo.