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You decided to leave your car slightly hidden near a campsite and take the provisions you packed. You hike with Buddy until you find a very nice clearing in the dense Pines a bit off a small trail.
You are now in Yosemite National Park.
You light a fire and decide to camp for the night.
On the more remote side of the mountain you camp on, a large silver wolf trots through the darkened forest floor under a thick canopy of evergreen trees. Silver wolf finds a glowing light coming from a cliff just past the towering Sequoia near its edge. Wolf walks onto the jutting rock. He takes in the aroma of a cold brisk wind. Pine, rushing water, a muskiness….yes, his friends are near. He lets out a deep howl that reverberates across the valley. He pauses with his nose still in the air. Soon he is joined by others…a wailing chorus that soars…delivering to every nook and crevice of the ravine...a song in their key. They are a Vox chamber. They pierce the air like the rays of the Sun that begins to shine through the branches of statue like trees that teem with inhabitants. The silver wolf pauses to inhale the airs again. Each moment brightens the woods around him.
Morning is here.
It has been over a hundred years since a wolf has tread this path or any others in the park. But this morning he and his pack have returned to find a grove of trees, and beneath them the spoils of a protected land that provides them great offerings. Below them, at the bottom of the ravine is a large brown bear. The last Grizzly in the state of California was shot in 1920. It has also been over a hundred years since these bears have walked in these woods, but curiously he is here as well.
There are Sequoia trees older than all the major religions of man, older than all of his nations. Their bark is fire proof, their heights towering and their sacred groves are places of holy communion.
A cardinal flies from a branch of the tree above the wolf. His silhouette small but stark against the kaleidoscope of the swirling sky. Near the tree line of distant pines, a burning golden hue gives way to streaks of orange and purple ascending into a magenta glow. Above that, a deep cobalt. The uppermost black quadrants are freckled with the radiant light of thousands of long dead stars.
Unimaginable eons of time, life, and death are here in one single gaze. But it is as all things are: fleeting, the majesty and grandeur imperceptibly slipping away each moment. This is what the stained glass of the Saint Chapelle tries to capture against the setting autumn sun.
You awake and start to pack up your camp as the light begins to beam throught the dense trees in soft, hazy rays. But before you can finish you hear several whiny motors in the woods near you. You fear they might be Park Rangers and run to the trees with only Buddy and your hiking pack, leaving your sleeping bag and tent. You are a ways off and hiding behind a tree as you see three atvs pull up to your campsite.
They are not rangers.
You see a large man who steps out of a $9,000 Polaris all terrain utility vehicle. He has a bloated face, a short beard. He wears a camoflauged baseball hat...backwards. There is a closeness of his features. They are not broad, but squished; collected around eyes too close together. His face is not so much that of a man but a chimera...he is every diner at Golden Corral... combined.
In all eras of human history before corn subsidies and chemical fertilizer, this man doesn't exist. But now he has incredible power. The source for this power is not his teeth, his muscle, or even his cunning mind. Like most, he is quite dim, mostly he is a myopic feeder...but his power, like all of mankind in this age is that he has the ability to purchase. This is what gives him domain in the age of advanced commerce. He doesn't have to outwit, to out endure, or be, in a word...better. He doesn't even have to work. But he is able to buy and to receive services from the overlords, the apex economic shepherds who tend to all herds in the modern world.
Two Mexicans get off the other ATVs and they chat briefly. You can see they are armed. The pudgy Oakie has an AR and the Mexicans what look like a type of MP7 sub machine gun. They aren't deer hunting.
You go further into the woods but soon hear the high pitched squeal of their engines behind you. You run to the largest tree and jump behind it, hoping they didn't see you.
You watch through the small cracked space between the trunk and the tree next to it. The forest is dead quiet. Was it always this way, you wonder. No, there’s always something making noise. But now there is nothing. You feel a panick as a poorly timed silence will not let you move.
You can make out voices. A couple of light whistles…then the plodding heels of men in boots.
They are close.
You have an unshakeable intuition that they won’t spare your life. You know this because the Ozarkian prepper has criminal physiognomy. He is a deceptively young man but with a flattened, recessive mid face and sloping wrinkled forehead and the other men come from a land where you can only become a folk hero if you murder white people or sacrifice large numbers of villagers or children. It’s the Aztec blood. This is why cartels have patron Saints and old ladies have altars with pictures of El Chapo.
This is why lesbian solidarity groups used to wet their clam diggers over the Zapatistas but in Mexico they only love Pancho Villa. He murdered gringos. Only NPR supporters are moved by the charisma of old Mayan mama sans or consensus meetings about “process”. No one wants it. Least of all the Mexicans. Non-violence and post modernism is an unintelligle insanity to the Aztecs. In many ways they are like you...They love bloodsports, weather girls and belt buckles the size of babies.
But they burn with a righteous inner fire to reconquer. Their 5x great abuelos fought for pink slips over the Southwest and were crushed by men like Robert E Lee whom no one thanks but without him the mountain west ski villages and southwest spa retreats would look like the colonias of Madera. Places like Taos would be Zeta strongholds. Idyllic boutique college towns nothing but barrios filled with sex slaves and child sicarios with uzis guarding safehouses of disappeared campesino girls held by midget bandits.
These men come from a town without laws.
For 150 years, Mexico has been ruled by various small armies. This is obvious to you now when you watch entire police forces surrender to masked men in Toyota pickup trucks but the phenomena of powerful men commanding their own forces at odds with each other and the state is not exceptional there.
They come closer to you.
Your stomach begins to sink and your feet weigh you down like giant cement blocks.You know these men will not reason with you. They saw off people's heads with pocket knives on gore sites.
They are here now….only a few feet away . But you are protected somewhat...concealed by a giant fir pine.
You hold Buddy closely to you to keep him still. You begin to formulate a plan of what you will do to defend yourself, as you know he will not run.
He has large gentle eyes and he looks to you for assurance. But then he tilts his head to the side and his ears perk up.
You squeeze him a bit tighter and begin to shake your head as his mouth opens slightly. He becomes tense.
The footsteps on the other side of the tree suddenly stop.
Sweat rushes down your forehead and begins to burn your eyes.
You stay still as the beagle lets out a loud howling bark.
Your heart beats thunderously and you leap up to run. You remember to run in zig zag movement to become a hard target as you saw this in close combat defense videos. But as you take the first step, the rosecea faced buffet cuck clad in a Cabela's Brush Country bib steps in front of you.
He says nothing but aims his rifle toward you.
You take a step backward and raise your free hand. You wonder if you should close your eyes, so that the last thing you see can be a great memory or some beautiful or magnificent thought. But you can't. You stare straight at his crowded sanpaku eyes.
He raises his rifle to your face.
As he steps toward you you hear cracking branches and then screams of absolute terror. You have never heard such shrieking before. The man looks to his side towards the screams and in an instant he disappears in a massive blur of brown fur.
A Kodiak bear stands over his torso. The bear stands on his back legs. He is at least 9 feet tall. He falls toward the man with his front paws pushed together and lands on his neck, crushing his bones in an instant.
Two men approach from behind you. One calls the bear toward them. You turn to see them. One has a scoped hunting rifle. The other a bag of beef jerky.
The man with the jerky feeds the bear.
He is Dr Roberts, a tanned, regal looking middle age man in a bush shirt and aviator glasses. His salt and peppered hair is slicked back. He smiles and praises the bear as he feeds him. The other man, the one with the rifle is a bit younger, very muscular, and wears a tank top.
He walks toward you and asks if you are okay. You tell him you are.
He says his name is Ron but they call him Bathala. He has the appearance of a certain vanishing archtypal man you remember from the past. A mid-western ubermensch of the European emigres that toiled in America's bread basket. He is well tanned with a bearded face made for large frame double bridge tinted eyeglasses, which he has. He is a young David Allen Coe if he carb cycled and trained under Tom Platz. The type of man who squats farm animals and wears stringers with wrangler jeans into nice restaurants.
He tells you that the men who attacked you grow massive amounts of marijuana in the park and are point men for the cartels. They also smuggle Hondurans for Archer Daniels Midland and the National Restaurant Association.
They are everywhere now.
The demands of America for their drugs allowed them to move operations closer, with less risk of seizure. They followed the model of the Amazon distribution center.
He tells you that there are many of these criminal operations in parks all across the west. There are massive farms hidden by the old growth in Shasta Trinity National Forest, Gila, All over New Mexico and California.
The marijuana itself is an invasive species and the cartels use banned chemicals and the runoff is highly toxic. Everywhere they go, the scenery is pocked with burning cars, clothing strewn about. Plastic bags, cans, water bottles litter any trail they took.
But this is not why Dr Roberts and Bathala are here.
Roberts tells you they are avid hikers and men of nature. They are in the forest for the next few weeks with their close friends who have been exploring and camping together as a group for years now.
He tells you that the bear is his and that he has been raised since he was a cub. That together, they keep many animals that they have found over the years. He tells you he is well trained and you shouldn't fear him, but you must respect his power.
They invite you back to meet some of the others, including Hugo, Roberts best friend, and the man with whom he founded the group some years back.
You agree to go.