This is one of the wonderful stories Micah originally wrote on his site caballoblanco.com.
By Micah True
It had been a good winter in La Sierra Madre of Mexico. Caballo Blanco had spent his first winter season in Batopilas canyon, getting to know the people and finding his way around. He had run strong, having had run two races with the Raramuri people, and was beginning to feel that he had found his way home in the deep canyon country of the mother mountains.
It was April; and time to start driving his '69 Chevy truck back up to the states to begin another work season. The peaceful horse had heard that there would be a spring--Easter week protest at the Nevada nuclear test site, on Western Shoshone land adjacent to the test site. The test site was on land that the U.S. government had stolen from the Western Shoshone nation in the 50's in order to test nuclear weapons. Of course, The method used to steal the land was the paper method; paper money and paper words in the form of a legal contract.
Driving his old '69 Chevy truck north through the highlands of la Sierra Madre, Caballo planned his route for the trip. He had always wanted to visit a point on the map called Silver City in New Mexico, and the Gila wilderness area; and more specifically, to swim in the Gila river, where he had read that his childhood hero, the Apache warrior Geronimo, had been born.
Why was Geronimo his hero? He had refused to go onto the reservation.
Crossing the U.S. border at the small village of Columbus, New Mexico; he drove 80 miles due north to the high desert town of Silver City, located at the foot of the Gila mountains. Upon arrival at the local hostel, he bought a bed and was filling out the paper-work at the front desk when he noticed the display of postcards for sale. The White Horse-man saw the fierce face of Geronimo, holding a rifle, flanked by warriors. Without thinking, he automatically bought the last six remaining post-cards, and went to his bed, where he read the back of the card, that said; "Geronimo, flanked by his best warriors; Naiche, Fun, and White Horse. Photo taken in the Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico in 1886."
While not very surprised by this synchronicity, the traveling man was inspired to get a good nights sleep and continue his mission; to drive his pick-up to the Nevada nuclear test site. There, he would sweat in the lodge, participate in ceremony with the people, and play a small part in the planning of the Easter Sunday mass action that would culminate the week of the protest encampment.
Caballo had arrived in the desert of Nevada, sixty miles north of the decadent city lights and wasted water of Las Vegas. Tents and tepees were set up along the scrub covered landscape, across the highway from the guarded main gate that marked government property, the entrance to the little town of Mercury, that was the main facility, where government workers, scientists, and contractors resided during their various work shifts.
The Western Shoshone spiritual leader, Corbin Harney, with the persistence of the bear that is his spirit animal, led morning sunset prayer, which consisted of facing each of the four directions, in prayer, acknowledgment and thanks to "All our relations"--the rocks, trees, crawling ones, winged ones, four-leggeds, and us, the confused ones; the two-leggeds [humans]. The confused ones because we tend to consider our-selves to be separate from the rest of nature.
After running cross-country in the desert, circling the encampment from hill to hill to hill to hill, in all of the four directions, Caballo was standing, facing west towards the setting sun; thinking. A Native American participant approached the contemplative man, asking; "What is your spirit animal?"
"Funny you should ask. I was just thinking about that;" answered Caballo Blanco. "My spirit animal is the white horse."
"I can see that. You should always be aware of, and cultivate the presence of the white horse;" confirmed the native man.
They entered the sweat-lodge, along with the rest of the men of the encampment. The women had a separate sweat-lodge, where all would purify them-selves before dinner and meetings; the meetings educating the campers on nuclear issues; and planning the week of prayer leading up to the Easter action.
Caballo was always sitting on the out-skirts of these meetings, taking them in, but, not really participating in the planning, or the actions of the various groups of eco-warriors
All of the group actions consisted of ultimately getting arrested, and Caballo had no intention of getting arrested; and in fact, had a strong fear of any kind of incarceration; a fear that he had carried with him all of his life, having had recurring dreams in his youth of being held captive, unable to move freely, trapped on a reservation. He was definitely more than a little claustrophobic. Perhaps that was a reason he is a long distance trail-runner!
It was Easter Sunday. The mass action was beginning. All of the campers; Shoshone people, activists, hippies, house-wives, and grannys against war, were marching towards the main gate to the Nevada nuclear test site, holding banners and chanting; the drummers sounding the peace drums.
As usual, El Caballo was walking behind, watching and taking it all in.
He spotted a 250 pound man in a wheel chair that was being pushed by a couple of women; at least, they were trying to push him. The man in the chair had cerebral palsy and seemed delighted to be a part of the demonstration. Caballo was moved.
He approached the man in the wheel-chair, speaking to the man and the women who were protectively watching over him. "Can I push you? I'll take you anywhere you want to go".
"Yeah;" said the man, excitedly.
The women reluctantly stepped aside.
"I'm White Horse; whats your name?
"Bond," answered the man; but, I did not understand what he was saying.
"Bond......007^; confirmed the man.
"Oh.... Bond! Hey, 007; Let's go. I'll take you anywhere ya want to go. Want to go up to the front with the drummers and eco-warriors?"
"Yeah!" exclaimed the excited man.
Caballo grabbed the chair and started running, pushing the big man towards the front of the procession. "Beep-beep....beep-beep," sounded Bond; and the sea of protesters parted to let us through. We were cruising, and Bond was loving it!
We arrived at the front of the long procession, with the drums sounding, the warriors chanting; and the big security guards who were at the gate, issuing warnings: "Go back; do not cross this line onto government property, or you will be arrested."
A group of Shoshone elders were gathered, sitting to the side while the crowd sang songs of protest. I recognized one of the elders as being Bill Rossy.
"Hey Bond, ya want to go over and join Bill and the other elders?" Bill signaled us to join them. Bond was honored to be in the company of the elders.
The whole throng of protesters formed a circle around us; the elders, Bond and I. I was massaging Bond's shoulders and neck. The energy surged through him and into my fingers when the crowd danced in a moving spiral, in and out, around us, chanting; "Si se puede [yes, we can].....si se puede.....si se puede....si se puede; four times for the four directions. They continued the spiral dance and chant for what seemed like hours. Bond was rushing; he had never before been in such a place. I was feeling a contact rush from the energy that was being emitted from Bond, and the honor of having helped him to be in that place, at that moment.
The spiral-circle dance had ended. The crowd of protesters was walking to the main gate of the nuclear test site, to cross the line and be arrested, go limp, and be dragged to a cattle pen that was being used to hold prisoners until they were processed by the Nye county sheriff's office.
I was talking with Bond. "Hey Bond; I'm gonna take a run through that desert. This is for you, brother." I said adios to Bond and walked to the forbidden line, where the guard was addressing me with his often repeated speech; "You are trespassing on government property. Turn back or you will be arrested."
I smiled; "Catch me if you can, fat boy." I counted coup by lightly touching him, then, ran through the main gate, surrealistically running through the desert, headed for Mercury and the mountains beyond; not really knowing where I was running, just running, and praying; feeling released of that fear of being arrested. So what; arrest me!
After a mile or two, I saw that nobody was coming after me, so circled back to the main gate, where all of the protesters who had crossed the line were being held in the holding pen, singing; the women shrilling. I circled the holding pen four times, then stood in front of the main gate, taunting the guards to come after me. "Come on; earn your pay; get some exercise." By the looks of them, the guards could certainly use it.
"Why don't ya get in your dune buggy and come get me?"
The guards were talking among them-selves, discussing the situation. I heard them say that they should send Jones after me, because "Jones runs a mile every day."
"Your gonna have to do better than that, Jones!"
I came close enough to all of the guards so that I would count coup by lightly touching each of them; they, wondering aloud what the hell I was doing. Then I turned to continue my run across the desert. "Adios."
The desert was beautiful; this place of nothingness; nothing but life and spirit.
State patrol cars were zooming up the road towards Mercury. I looked to my right, away from the road and towards the desert peaks that loomed jaggedly above the vastness of scrub, cactus and other relations, who's presence I was acutely aware of, thanking them for sharing their home with me, the cross-country running horse.
I was galloping briskly for those hills, knowing that once I reached the rocky steepness of the mother mountains, I would be safe from anybody chasing me down with motorized atv's or other vehicles.
The wind was blowing through my longish hair, the light of the desert sun bathing me with inspiration; silly and free...free and silly.....like a child that I am, at times. I was in my 40's, going on four; running for no reason but to be a part of where I was running.
Reaching the hills, and climbing; sandaled feet stepping lightly over the loose, scree rocks [chingocitos--little fuckers], that could trip one up. Every chance I had, would step on and spring off a firmly planted helper rock [ayudante], boosting me forward. "Gracias ayudante!"
At the top of the highest pyramid shaped peak, the panorama of this desert 'wasteland' was as stunning at that moment as anything I had ever seen. I stood on top of that peak all day, looking around and praying; the prayer consisting of appreciation of the environment, the moment, the connectivity of all of us. Yes, even the big fat guards!
At the end of the day, just before the setting sun, I scurried back down that peak and across the desert from where I came, in a direct line towards the main gate; the guards lined up to stare at me coming straight at them, with a big, inspired grin on my sun-kissed face. I was calm as the saguaro when i stopped in front of the guards to say; "Thanks for letting me run across the desert. It is really beautiful out there."
"Oh, it is, huh!"; snarled one of the big boys, who seemed to look forward to busting me.
"Have ya ever been up there?" I pointed to the pyramid shaped desert peak. "You should really go up there some time; really incredible views of this beautiful place; might make you think twice 'bout the bombing and nuclear tests."
The Nye county sheriff had long since processed and released all of the protesters.
There were a few who stuck around to see what would happen to me.
The sheriff approached; "Did ya have fun out there?"
"Yes, I did."
"Ya know, ya really hurt the big guys feelings." He gestured towards the beefy guards who I had insulted.
"I'm sorry. I just wanted them to come after me. Are you going to arrest me?"
"Do you want me to arrest you? THEY do." The big boys were drooling for revenge.
"I don't care; do what ya want or need to do."
The sheriff took out his citation book. "I'm going to write you a citation for trespassing."
"Horse," I answered.
"La Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico."
Continued the sheriff; "Ya got a telephone number down there, White Horse?"
"No phones....we send messages by drum."
The sheriff shook his head and handed me the ticket.
"350 bucks!?" I exclaimed with shock.
The sheriff smiled; "Hey White Horse; is anybody ever going to find you? Have a good Easter."
The sheriff had a point there. He was a good guy.