September 13

[The talking stick is handed to Bird Chant]

Those who fled east stayed near open water, the creeks, the river dunes, and the bogs, because the dense dark forest frightened them. They fished the coast and ventured up the inland waterways. Soon they made dug out vessels lined with clay so that they could keep warm on long voyages to hunt whales, dolphins, and seal.

The people learned to make weirs of hazelnut sticks and wickerwork traps. They angled whitefish and cod from the beaches and speared smoothound and spurdog from the streams. The people spotted divers and capercaille, grebes and cormorant. Soon they found raspberries and dewberries, strawberries and rowanberries. Before long the women were gathering hawthorn berries, crab apples, and rose hips. The beach and grasslands gave them manna grass and sea beets, nettle, orach, and goosefoot. The people thrived and soon ventured into the forests where they found red deer and roebuck, boar, elk, and auroch. There too lived beaver and squirrel, fox and lynx, badger, polecat and wolf. The people were healthy and had many babies. They made beautiful things from animal teeth and shells. The people even made a special place to bury their relatives and their dogs.

And then they met the strangers who taught them about growing wheat and barley, corralling cows and pigs. The strangers made pottery, even clay lamps that burned the fat rendered from the whales they hunted. The people intertwined with the strangers and had many more babies.

Soon the spirit of anger came to live within the villages. There was much sadness and arguing over who had what and who belonged to whom. It is said that some ate the others as a show of power. So some secretly made small round boats and headed west. But instead of leaving behind that which had led to conflict they brought it here.

Another great wave will sweep away another old land, washing away our stories and our ancestors, engulfing the forests with fields and flooding our world with new memories. We stand here today but we will not be left to stand tomorrow. The tide is consuming the myth of who we are; we will be forgotten.




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Responses to “September 13”

  1. Angela Cheetham Wilkinson September 18th, 2013 - 2:44 pm

    Such a sad moment when Bird Chant tells us that the spirit of anger travelled with, inside those who left, to wreak envy and dispute elsewhere.
    The discovery of all those fruits, vegetables and other foods sounds like it could have been their paradise. Indeed it was, for a time.

    • I felt the same way. Those people could have set aside the havoc they suffered but they didn’t. There is no part of the world that doesn’t have a similar story.

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