Dark clouds hung low enough to brush Blue Valley with their melting fingertips. Slow steady rain pelted the oilskin covering of the one window in our log cabin. I watched for my husband to return from the trading post.
I could have gone, but for my righteous indignation. What do you know about Indians? They’re repulsive savages! I can’t believe you want anything to do with them...
I hated being alone, but I crossed my arms and turned away from the window to tend the fire. A sigh escaped as I stirred the embers and added another log.
So far from home... I missed the busy streets of Boston, where I had once shopped for anything my heart desired, whenever I wanted, among civilized people.
Why did I have to fall in love with you, Matthew Hollister? And why did you have to move me all the way out here to Casper, Wyoming?
"I named the valley after you," he had crooned. "The larkspur in the spring, are as blue as your eyes, Emma."
I wasn’t sure I believed him when we arrived last fall to a valley as brown as the logs of our primitive home.
“Just wait,” he had promised. “You’ll see.”
With my belongings left behind to make traveling easier, he had taken me to the trading post at Fort Laramie. It had everything I needed to set up housekeeping, and I’d convinced myself all would be fine until I had my first real encounter with savages.
Why couldn’t you have prepared me, instead of trying to force me to meet them? Seven months. Still you pray for your Indian friends and this, Brock, whoever he is. As if God cares...
I looked around at the remodeling Matthew had done through the winter. This trip he was going to get real glass for the window, along with our much-needed staples. He didn’t chide me for not going; he just had me make him a shopping list. Then he left, assuring me the spring rains had melted the snow enough he’d be able to go and be back by the next day. That should have been two days ago.
I shivered with worry and peered through the window again. The rain had subsided into a soft mist. I saw a shape outside and flung open the door.
"Matthew!" Only it wasn't my husband sitting in the wagon seat of our buckboard. It was one of them.
The Indian nodded behind him, and a shudder ran through me when I saw Matthew's mangled body. The savage sprang from the wagon seat, catching me as I swayed. He lowered me to the porch, saying he’d get water, but I pulled away.
He ignored my accusing tone and knelt beside me, and for the first time I looked into his dark tear-filled eyes. Like the spring rains, the warmth of his concern chipped away at my icy heart.
"Bear marks. Everything gone. Matthew...friend."
Weeping, I watched as the Indian buried my husband. He led me back to the cabin, stopping at the door.
"Matthew tell me you fear Indian. You make list. I go trading post...get supplies."
“You would do that?” When he nodded, I remembered something he’d said earlier. "What is your name?"
"Black Hawk, Warrior of Night Skies. Lakota. Matthew call me Brock when I believe."
Guilt and shame washed through me, setting off a new flood of tears. Oh Matthew... How blind I’ve been to the scope of God's love for all humanity, but especially for these Indians.
Not wanting to stay by myself again, I made a quick decision, one that would have made Matthew happy. "I want to go with you."
I made myself a list and got ready. While we cleaned out the wagon, Brock revealed more of how my husband had befriended the Sioux and some members of the other tribes. By his life, he had demonstrated God’s love for them.
How like you, my love. I only hope I can carry on your work as I get to know these people better.
We headed to the trading post, traveling in the warm embrace of the spring sunshine. Gone were the rains. Along the way Brock pointed out the emerging blue flowers on the hillsides, and then he pointed to my eyes.
"The larkspur in the spring, are as blue as your eyes, Emma."
You were right, Matthew...about everything.
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