The Call of the Canyon (Chapter 7, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 7

The day came when Carley asked Mrs. Hutter: "Will you please put up a
nice lunch for Glenn and me? I'm going to walk down to his farm where
he's working, and surprise him."

"That's a downright fine idea," declared Mrs. Hutter, and forthwith
bustled away to comply with Carley's request.

So presently Carley found herself carrying a bountiful basket on her
arm, faring forth on an adventure that both thrilled and depressed her.
Long before this hour something about Glenn's work had quickened her
pulse and given rise to an inexplicable admiration. That he was big and
strong enough to do such labor made her proud; that he might want to go
on doing it made her ponder and brood.

The morning resembled one of the rare Eastern days in June, when the air
appeared flooded by rich thick amber light. Only the sun here was hotter
and the shade cooler.

Carley took to the trail below where West Fork emptied its golden-green
waters into Oak Creek. The red walls seemed to dream and wait under the
blaze of the sun; the heat lay like a blanket over the still foliage;
the birds were quiet; only the murmuring stream broke the silence of
the canyon. Never had Carley felt more the isolation and solitude of
Oak Creek Canyon. Far indeed from the madding crowd! Only Carley's
stubbornness kept her from acknowledging the sense of peace that
enveloped her--that and the consciousness of her own discontent. What
would it be like to come to this canyon--to give up to its enchantments?
That, like many another disturbing thought, had to go unanswered, to
be driven into the closed chambers of Carley's mind, there to germinate
subconsciously, and stalk forth some day to overwhelm her.

The trail led along the creek, threading a maze of bowlders, passing
into the shade of cottonwoods, and crossing sun-flecked patches of sand.
Carley's every step seemed to become slower. Regrets were assailing
her. Long indeed had she overstayed her visit to the West. She must not
linger there indefinitely. And mingled with misgiving was a surprise
that she had not tired of Oak Creek. In spite of all, and of the dislike
she vaunted to herself, the truth stared at her--she was not tired.

The long-delayed visit to see Glenn working on his own farm must result
in her talking to him about his work; and in a way not quite clear she
regretted the necessity for it. To disapprove of Glenn! She received
faint intimations of wavering, of uncertainty, of vague doubt. But these
were cried down by the dominant and habitable voice of her personality.

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