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The Forest
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Part 1-Buck Hale

He chose to live out here. He is old; not ancient.  He has barely survived a failed marriage and resultant suicide attempt. Barely. Twice he loaded his Remington 870 Wingmaster, placed the barrel in his mouth and his right big toe at the trigger guard and waited for courage. It was the second time, while […]

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Buck Hale-Part 2-The Canyon

The climb down into the canyon was never easy. Even for a young man of, say, twenty-five it would have been tricky. For Buck, and his sixty eight years, there was no pretense of bravado. He picked each step with care mindful that one misstep would quickly and easily send him plunging to his death. […]

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Buck Hale-Part 3-Long Nights

His suicide attempts, like an unwanted guest, slammed into his mind. Raucous and swearing, raising the dead with memories of the lead-up to his attempts. He lay on his side, head cradled in his right elbow, pondering the day when he was jolted to wakefulness. Sleep had almost conquered when the devil of causation reared […]

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Buck Hale-Part 4-Dawn and On

“Lord, what was all that about?” was all Buck could think. “For all intents and purposes, all I’ve been doing is carrying around a stinking turd in a sack tied to my neck all this time.” Then he laughed. Laughed long and hard at himself and how obtuse he had been all these years. Rachel […]

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Buck Hale-Part 5-Felix

Buck had trekked three miles uphill since the Triple Nut Bridge. As he started he was again given the peace of the forest cathedral as it closed in around him on the trail. Sugar Pines and the occasional Ponderosa of massive girth set the table for his emotions. He knew of the Creator by His […]

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Buck Hale-Part 6-Zero Hour

Now Buck was sure the cat was nowhere around. Of course, no one can be sure of such things but Buck had every reason to believe it. He was still weary and figured he would have something to eat and then, maybe, take a nap. Sleep was not a 5 hours only and then action […]

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Buck Hale-Part 7-The Herndons

“What time do you have in there?” yelled Geoff Herndon from the seat of his John Deere. “Just a little after 2:00 pm!” yelled Sylvia from the kitchen. “What shall we have for dinner!” Geoff started to yell back then said, “Oh hell!” to himself and stepped down off the tractor to become a bit […]

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Buck Hale-Part 8-Snow Load

Less than two miles from his picking up the pace Buck was cursing himself. Rather than a brief flurry, soon over, the storm was intensifying and settling in for the long haul. It was becoming all to obvious that Buck just might be in trouble. The cursing came from Buck as he realized he had […]

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Buck Hale-Part 8-Snow Load 2

“You’re gonna catch hell when the rangers find your Jeep on the trail! Can’t you just park it and we’ll walk up and find Buck?” The look Geoff gave Sylvia silenced her. His face was turning red and that meant that he had reached his limit for suggestions. Staring straight into the blowing snow he […]

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Buck Hale-Part 9-Approach

It was snowing much harder now. Buck, instead of making good time, was beginning to struggle against the bitterness he felt from the cold. He had never felt so cold and his breathing was becoming rapid. As it dawned on him how much trouble he was in he started looking for shelter. He was past […]

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