"I awoke today
and found frost perched on the town.
It hovered in a frozen sky,
then it gobbled summer down.
When the sun turns traitor cold
and all the trees are shivering in a naked row
I get the urge for going..."
- Joni Mitchell
Day 111 - Wednesday, October 11, 1995 - Through the day the Sunbow groups slowly converged, all eventually arriving to camp for the night at Aux Arc State Park, Arkansas.
The weather remains warm and sunny through the days, up to 82 F. But it's getting chilly at night. The walkers report that in addition to frost in the mornings they have now, for the first time this season, begun to see the ghostly, cloudy shape of their exhaling breath.
Far to the north at the Kitigan Zibi Reserve in Quebec, Canada, Grandfather William Commanda reports he "didn't sleep at all last night."
He tossed and turned in his bed, finally getting out unrested. He is troubled by what is happening on the walk. He told me he will be flying down to Tulsa, Oklahoma in a few days, to be with the walkers at Talequah, headquarters for the Western Band of the Cherokee Nation.
John Heyman, board member for the Sunbow 5 Foundation, is also going to fly to Oklahoma to see first hand how things are going.
Sunbow walker Dave Reid, who has been missing for several days, has been located. He called his girlfriend Linda West, and told her that he is alright.
Dave fled from the Sunbow camp in Arkansas several days ago. For most of the walk he had seemed so placid and self-contained, remaining unruffled by the events and tirades that threw other walkers off stride. But over the weekend he cracked from the stress.
Dave was already upset that the group was turning its collective back on what he saw as the real issues—anger and abuse. Then, according to Dave, Tom announced to him and others that a small group that Tom had been meeting with had concluded that whatever had happened was "her (Brianna's) fault" for going into the woods alone with him, and that no one should pay attention to Alycia's stance because she's a malcontent who wants to take over leadership of the walk.
When Dave protested that this was a bunch of bull, Tom pointed at Dave and said he could not have a valid opinion on any of this because he was undergoing a mental health crisis, and he had stopped taking his medication.
Dave, already in extreme emotional distress, snapped. He ran from the camp, jumped in his vehicle, and roared off. Driving recklessly, he almost caused Jacki to have an accident in her Jeep Cherokee. Before today's call to Linda, no one in camp or at his home had heard from him for several days.
In a phone conversation, Linda told me "He (Dave) could not abide the group's refusal to deal as one with the sexual situation between the leader of the walk and the young girl. It drove Dave mad that the group would not deal with it, and he had to escape."
"Every rodeo needs a clown to keep the people safe when the bull is charging," Linda said. "I think in part that is what Dave was doing."