Winds of Wildfire – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts.
‘Taos Pueblo is home to the Tiwa trib. The first Spaniards named it pueblo, town, because they lived in a multi storied adobe complex. The Pueblo has stood for over a thousand years on its original lands, even though it’s called a reservation or rez for short. These ancient people have never known a forced march to a government imposed location which is the common stipulation for the word “reservation.” Their long history has been preserved mostly by a secret oral tradition. The tribe enjoys an autonomous form of government as well as full citizenship in the United States. They rule themselves through elected tribal officials. Their lands extend to Blue Lake, nestled in the pristine valley high up in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and in various sized patches in and around Taos. No outsiders are allowed to enter the Blue Lake lands without special permission for they are held to be sacred. The pueblo compound is open to the public for a fee. At the approaches to the Pueblo stands a casino, where they have not lost the art of scalping.’
Billy Stonewofl works as a guide for tourists that visit the pueblo. Like most of us he’s possessed with his own personal demons. Billy’s demons consist of drugs and alcohol and have taken him to the brink of suicide. Through the grace of his god, this wasn’t to happen. To live with or hopefully destroy Billy’s demons he has decided to revert back to the ways of his people. He will go to the mountains, find a cave to call home and live off the land. What Billy didn’t expect was to find one more demon to add to his collection. This demon came in the form of gold. Will this add to Billy’s depressing life or will it be the answer to his prayers? I think the answer will surprise you.
Donato Atencio is Spanish American. His demon came in the shape of losing his wife. Her death brought him to the edge of suicide. Even though he came close to his final destruction, he stopped and decided to take one day at a time. In doing so he became a volunteer caretake for the 18,000 acres of land surrounding Taos. He made a stipend of $10.00 a day, living quarters and all the fresh air he could breathe. He owned nothing and owed no one. But he still carried his demon with him wherever he went in his lonely world. Would his living one day at a time finally run out and allow him to end it all?
Amee Brooks brought her demons all the way from Boston when she bought her small farm outside the village of Questa. The man she had loved with all her heart had deceived her. He had turned her away from the desire to love again and turned her into a recluse. To add to her demon was a neighbor who cut off her weekly water supply that was the lifeline for her small garden. Fighting him would be impossible. He was a native and she was a white outsider. Would her demons talk her into giving up and moving back to Boston?
Billy, Donato and Amee have nothing in common yet they have everything in common. The three have to deal with their losses and move on with life but aren’t quite sure how. Will they be able to help each other?
Winds of Wildfire became a book of thought for me. It made me think about things in my own life and how I have handled them and how I might have handled them differently, making me wonder if I made the right decisions when faced with my own demons.