The Hermit and the Hiker

The hermit sat in his cabin, checking his gear. In the Gila wilderness, he had always been able to find enough gold to keep himself going. But never more than that. At first light he would go and check his sluices.

Gold was not what kept him in the forest. He did a little trapping too. He prepared his own pelts. He did a little carving of the wildlife. There were copies of Thoreau, Emerson, and Audubon’s notes on a rough wooden shelf, and next to them was a photograph of a young woman. She had been lost to him before he came to live there.

In the afternoon he was on the river, and a hiker encountered him. The hiker could see he was alone. “Do you live here?” the hiker asked.

“No. I build cabins when I camp.” the hermit grumbled. Later he regretted his sharp tone.

Copyright 2013 George Lowell Tollefson

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