September 10

[The talking stick is passed to Star Stalker]

The last of our relatives made their way across the water in the north in skin covered round vessels. With them came the breeds of domesticated animals that have come to be imprisoned in the farming community. Cows, sheep, goats and swine made the passage, as did wheat and flax. The dogs that separated themselves from the Wolf and the Greihound came with them too. The people brought the sophisticated weaving and dying to which we are slowly becoming accustomed. They arrived with a peculiar dependence on pottery and this requires them to live sedentary lives. Clay vessels are fragile and the inordinate weight is impractical for those of us who still hunt and gather.

Their tools are vastly different too. Many had been developed along with agriculture and the foreign crafts. But disquieting are the polished stone adzes needed for efficient tree felling. We live entirely at the blessing of dead wood and the trees given to us by the spirits of wind and lightning. Now, rich forests are being cut down at an alarming rate to accommodate endless fields for farming and grazing. The giants that once sheltered our Mother’s flesh have no hope of returning. Once cleared the fields are burned annually to insure that the woods will never rally.

This country once had a wealth of the finest flint nodules that could be found. Harvest of them was sacred and limited, knowing that the Chalky Mountains couldn’t yield those treasures forever. We had always maintained shrines at those thresholds of caches but ultimately they marked the finest sources for those who would dig and dig until the chalk was played out. Many sites have been relentlessly tunneled and little or no effort has been made to return the land to its former state in order for it to heal. Before the arrival of the new ones we had never considered going beyond gently working the surface. It simply wasn’t permitted. And once we had, everything had to be returned as we had found it. Leaving a hole, no matter how small was regarded as the worst violation of all things sacrosanct that could be committed. Except for spirit hunts the material for points and tools was gathered from heaps of scree, abundant and renewed periodically by the action of rain and snow. Scree doesn’t yield stone that is as beautiful and some varieties are difficult to work. But by using it for everyday circumstances the milky nodules of flint would have remained forever because we thought of them as sacred and irreplaceable.

The people who arrived on the last migration have an even greater ambition and the knowledge to act on it. The old medicine wheels and calendars marked with simple wooden poles and round river rocks have been reconstructed from extraordinary monoliths of stone. So too are artificial tombs and chambers for the dead. Only the old clans continue to use the caves and customs that allow the deceased to return to the Earth as quickly as possible.

The old medicine people have spoken up repeatedly and their prophecies go unheard by those who have empty hearts. Most of those elders have left. Only a few have stayed behind to keep the words alive. No longer delivered in speeches at council fires they quietly make prayers that are sent into the world of the Unborn. There is very little left for them to do.

The beauty of our world and the laws that govern our harmony within it stand to be forgotten. And as it disappears with the Ancient Ones it is prophesied that the sacred with be replaced by competition, famine, and disease. The signs are there, visible and horrifying. The old plants and animals are vanishing, not only because their land is being taken from them but also because their spirits have been displaced. Fewer and fewer remember to take care of them. Many have already left for the Shadowland. The Earth is tired from the toll and slowly becoming too fallen to balance illness with health. The Old Ones have asserted that the animals created to be wild once imprisoned will become vulnerable. The battle against the sickness in them will be lost. The weakness will spread to our people, we falling to disease that bears a frightening similarity to those dying creatures with which we live. Remedies lag behind the rampant destruction and elders warn that they always will. Our people are in deep trouble. After peering into Gobetween’s world, Moondog knows it will continue uncountable decades beyond our lives and we are helpless to stop it so long as thousands push toward it. They know the consequences of their actions, they have been told. Fewer and fewer of us remain behind to keep the stories alive. Ultimately the old clans are destined to extinction. So little will be absorbed and carried. History will become unrecognizable in the shroud of quaint myths of contemporary thinking.  Moondog’s dreamloop was indeed a dark and desperate attempt to float above the relentless attrition of change. It is all he had to offer and many of those willing to lend consent and prayers invested in that hope too.

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Responses to “September 10”

  1. Angela Cheetham Wilkinson September 11th, 2013 - 9:29 am

    Star Stalker makes a sad indictment of his times and all that has been lost, except to memory, and all that continues to be lost.
    I was moved by the way the people used hard-to-work scree, opting not to pick the best of the lovely flint, for their tools thus leaving the best of their beautiful earth intact – and always filling holes, always caring for what they considered sacred.
    It would be impossible, I should think, not to apply Star Stalker’s story to our own lives, ways and worlds.
    I just breathed out a deep long mournful sigh as I closed the chapter.

    • It is a sad indictment of the last 10,000 years of human history. The sad stories, in my experience, aren’t ever left out. Such tales can still be heard; some about inter-tribal conflict, others about the conflict with invaders, the subsequent displacement and final disappearance. I truly believe that similar things were felt when newer groups entered the UK and met with Paleolithic people who had been long established there. The older group had to have responded with shock and dismay while the newcomers were confident in their technology and their intrusive way of life. Its an old story, a common story, and a story about the UK that I felt had to be told.