Linda’s Christmas Grove (Part 4)

As Linda drove Euchre Creek Road and climbed in elevation, sleet turned to snow. She parked her car at the cabin, bundled up in a couple layers of clothing, donned the rubber boots, and clomped through the snow toward the grove. About an inch of snow had accumulated and everything was quiet like only a quiet produced by falling snow can produce.

Linda entered the grove and the snow stopped falling on her. She wandered around, making her way to her favorite tree a ragged, lightning-split, half charred Sitka Spruce that seemed to evince wisdom if you stood in front of it long enough.

She sure could use some right about now.

Linda heard a crackling behind her. She turned around and beheld a tall, dark-skinned man with long black hair wearing black from head to toe: ball cap, duster, boots. He was elderly in the face but not in the body.

There were no traces of snow on him.

In all her years visiting the grove, Linda had never met another person outside of the Christmas decoration event. She stepped back, frightened. She said hello.

The man said hello back and reached out his arm to shake her hand. She took it and felt a powerful but gentle grip.

He introduced himself as Albert.

“I’m from the Euchre Creek band of the Tututni tribe. This valley was our home.”

Linda relaxed a bit. “I’ve read about your history and displacement,” she said.

“We’re all gone. But some of what we were is still around.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I can save the grove.”

Linda looked at Albert. She instantly believed him. She told him to tell her how.

“Follow me.”