Big Dan rests thoughtfully in silent scrutiny, a cigarette dangling from pursed lips, with a mind to the packing of the mules and the proper balance of trinkets and toys of little boy campers and fishermen who have pressed their gear upon him once again.
His mind is not upon them for the moment, but upon ropes and ties and stresses and strains in proper sequence, for he detests the thought of a dropped load or even the time to re-cinch one, when a previous inspection could have avoided disaster.
For Dan the Packer Man is a traveler of the trails, and if you are to accompany him, you had best be ready to urge and kick and cajole your friendly beast, with a mind only to keeping up.
Then, if you have been successful, you may take the opportunity to observe him in different repose; the high-saddled and straight-backed leader is he with an upturned hand at shoulder height, dangling a lead-rope of measured length from one animal to the next, even to the excited travelers in uncertain spacing behind.
And he turns to check from time to time, but mostly sits upon his regal perch with an eye to God’s country, the home of Dan the Packer Man.
Picture by Andy Beal, via flickr www.govisithawaii.com some rights reserved