“It is the season of Firstwarmth here on Evohe, and while my world has no winter, like Holder’s Earth does–a fact for which I am very grateful–it is still cooler at this time of the cycle’s turning than at any other, particularly in the evenings. I find myself lying longer in my beddings now, in the mornings–some of this, I am sure, is because Holder is there beside me, and I have no wish to leave his warmth so early. Some of it may be because of the bloomling sleeping and growing within me–mine and Holder’s child. His or her presence–we do not yet know which it will be–grounds me now in ways that were never so before, even once I became the Elder Shaper for my people. I feel the potential now, in everything–in the seeds that sleep in the soil, waiting to spring forth in just a short time more; in new songs that wake me in the night, begging to be sung; in new understandings brought about by the things I teach my Circle–and the things that they teach me. And of course, in mine and Holder’s–children. Yes, I am fairly certain there will be more than one. It is a season of uncertainty for us here, but that is not a bad thing–for out of uncertainty can come the guarantee of sorrow–but from it, also, may grow the certainty of new joys.
Category Archives: Annah
“As I am sitting here in the shadows of our camp, just before last-light, and watching Holder brewing coffee–not in a pot over our fire, as he could do, but in the ‘coffee-maker’ in our ship–I cannot help but think how much more complicated human life is from that of my people, and my world. Much of it. I think, has to do with the thing they call ‘money’–their system of exchange of currency for goods, a custom I have learned in my travels is not limited to Earth or to humankind. Many worlds have ‘money’, and the humans have tried to bring all currency under one standard as they have tried to do with language. As yet, it has not worked. I do not think that it ever will, not completely at least.
Some simplifications are good–it is, in fact, easier to brew our coffee in the machine on the ship, and not over a fire. It takes less time, and is, I think, more efficient at actually extracting the coffee from the beans. Even some simplifications of language–I am glad that Galactic Standard exists, for it makes it easier for many peoples to understand one another. But I do not think it right that other languages should not be spoken–or sung, as is the case for the oldest language of my own people. It is not necessary for people to look the same, or speak the same way, or think the same way, so long as there is a common bridge to allow understanding.
Holder tells me that his kind once understood this better than they do now–and my kind once understood it better, too. I think that the simple truth of life is our commonality–our unity. All our different worlds are, when seen from a ship in the Sea of Stars, just small sparks orbiting around brighter fires that we call suns–many sparks, many fires–but all alike in life, and light. As we let our lives grow more complex, more complicated, we sometimes lose sight of this simple truth. Maybe we all should have spacecraft to lift us into the stars, so that we could see how tiny our great fires are, from out there. I am glad I have had the chance to see it, and to know.
Our fire is warm on my skin, and the touch of the coffee cup as Holder brushes it against my cheek–silly man–is warm as well. Simple blessings, like the simple–and yet not so simple–blessing of this man, and our love for one another.
Truth is simple, yes–but it can be complex as well. And that is not such a bad thing.
But, speaking of humans and how they complicate matters–there was once a human device called a ‘banana slicer.’ It did not last long, Holder tells me. Even humans know when things have, at last, grown too complicated. But, although we do not often have bananas, for they are rare even on Earth these days–we do have a banana slicer in our ship.
It is called a knife.”
“One of the ways my people are different from humans is that we may, from time to time, go back to the soil, or become one with a tree or plant or some other growing thing, and take rest there until we are ready to rejoin the waking world. We do not mourn those who have gone to their rest, as we call it, although we do miss them. When my parents were at rest, I would sometimes go to the Elder Grove and speak to them; tell them about my days, about my dreams, my sadnesses–and my joys. I used to think true death was a different thing entirely–that the spirit-river Essei-Khai, whose great expanse bridges the shore between the waking world and the lands beyond this one, was entirely too large a gap to be dismissed. I was heartbroken when my teacher, Serra, passed from this world. And I know I will mourn for my parents when they, too, go to their final resting–on these shores, at least. But I have heard Serra’s voice many times: in Vision, and in dreams, where, in sleeping, we are closer to those we can no longer see. I know she is not truly gone. I still carry her with me, in my head and in my heart, and one day, we will meet again. Holder believes this, too, although his kind do not go to rest as we do. But no matter our physical differences, he and I both believe–all those we love, all those to whom we are joined by blood or by choice–there can be only a moment’s separation between us, in the First Ones’ eyes. And a moment is small enough a thing to be endured, when we know that, truly, we are one.”
“All peoples, on any world, have faults as well as virtues. I can remember when I thought my people more honest than humans; when my Memories had shown me how they came to Evohe, some of them pretending to be our friends, and then, when we were of no use to them, attempted to destroy our world and our way of life.
The Shaping-lore tells me that our people do not cover our bodies because it is a sign of a covenant of openness between ourselves and the First Ones, and indeed, between ourselves, and ourselves. When you keep nothing between your body and that of another, the tradition holds, inner honesty will follow.
But as I have grown, both in age and in training, I have learned that one does not need veils of cloth to hide the truth. The veils of fear are much more powerful. And there is plenty of that among my people, to this day.
Honesty is important to me–it always has been. I will tell the truth, even about things of which I am not proud.
To do otherwise seems like scattering seeds on rock instead of soil, and expecting them to take root.”
“Holder once asked me if the First Ones were the ‘gods’ of my people. When I did not understand him, he said, ‘the ones you believe made you; the ones you worship.’ I have since learned some of what the humans call religion, and yes, I suppose you could say the First Ones are our gods. They are the ones who sang the Sea of Stars into being, who set Evohe itself to spin in space. That is what the Way used to tell our people, although it is a thing most no longer believe. I believe in the First Ones, though. I do not ‘worship’ them in the way I feel the humans use that word, though, nor do I think they would want that. They gave us life as we might give a bloomling a gift–to see the light in our eyes, and the laughter in our smiles as we used that gift to the fullest potential. I do not believe that the humans give their children gifts expecting them to bow and kiss their feet.
That is not what the First Ones expect of us.
But I do thank them for the gifts they give me: I thank them for the food that I eat, the water I bathe in and drink; the sun on my skin, the love of my family and friends, and of Holder, my mate.
I thank them for the desire to be more than I am.
I look around me, at the humans, and those of my own kind, who think that we should not care about any life but our own–who think that there is no higher cause than our own.
I do not and cannot agree with this. There is a Shadow in the world, and while the Shadow has its place in Balance, it is balanced by people’s knowledge that there is a purpose beyond themselves. More and more, people lose that knowledge. More and more, the Shadow gathers. Yet I know the First Ones still watch us, and I ask them for their guidance–for very often, the Shadow falls so much over the world that it is hard to see how best to cast the light that keeps it back.”
“When Holder and I were first coming to know each other, I do not think he clearly understood why it was that, growing up, I had never felt I truly belonged here among the people of Laughing Waters Grove. I do not mean that he could not comprehend it; he is a very intelligent man (even if it often seems to me that, as males are known to do, he sometimes disregards good sense). I mean that, seeing me through the eyes of his love for me, he could not imagine how both the strangenesses of my appearance–my height, my shape, the shape of my head, the color of my eyes and hair–and my ideas had isolated me. And it was hard for me to explain to him, particularly when I had only a fragile grasp on the language of his people.
What I should have said then–and what I have told him since–is that belonging to one person, or to a group of people, is not something one is merely born to, but something that must be tended like a growing seed, or indeed, like a young bloomling new to the world. This Grove did not seem to want me, so I decided that I did not want it–even though I did. Part of the Shaper’s path is carving out the channels of life through which the river of Belonging may flow–for oneself but also for others. I was still learning this when Holder came to me–and, if I am truthful, I am still learning it. The song of Belonging is one we first begin to sing with the cries of a newborn’s lungs, and which we do not truly learn until we stand on the last shores of this life, looking beyond its horizons to the wide reaches of Essei-Khai, the spirit-river, and whatever new sights lie on the other side.”