The glint off the aircraft’s wing, much like the menacing flash off a Colt Peacemaker, wakes me. I am actually travelling Eastward Ho! Leaving home, in the East Bay, at 4am, it has been a long haul, across three time zones, from San Francisco, via the Mile High City of Denver, to the heart of the storied old ‘Indian Territory’, the very stuff of myth and legend.
A grief-maddened mother desperately reaching back to the stone cairn under which her small child is buried, while her heartbroken husband tries to gently urge her away. The soldiers will not let them tarry, even to grieve, and their best consolation is the thought that they will, almost certainly, join their child in the next few days, anyway. This heart-rending sculpture, in the Trail of Tears diorama at the Cherokee Heritage Museum, is the most searing image branded into my brain - my gut-wrenching memory of Tahlequah.