I lay down in feathered sleep where dreams and visions mix with the real world around me. The spirits of the ancestors surrounded me and spoke to me as I floated in the part trance, part waking, part sleep that was so important to the Seeing.
I say the ancestors surrounded me, but that was not quite true. I knew the stories and legends and so understood that our people had moved in from the west and the way east was unexplored. Yes, we have journeyed for days to the east, but never venturing beyond what we knew was safe.
The cold winters have become colder, the glacier has approached. We had moved from the land of the ancestors to the west when my grandfather’s grandfather was a small child. We occasionally met with our kin, but they have grown strange.
Or we have.
No man has ever been to the east. It was not known if it were possible. Our farthest pushes took us to the ice that met the sea.
Would it be possible to use small boats to pass the ice and find land? And how far would we have to travel? As winter closed in, we knew we couldn’t move too far or risk being trapped and dying of starvation.
The spirits of my ancestors suddenly turned into birds and flew off leaving me by myself. I woke from my feathered sleep, no wiser.
I started the journey back to the village, defeated. My only council would be to return to our ancestral lands, lands that we had left because they had grown too crowded, returning to a people who were no longer family, but more like strangers.
I stopped, hearing the honking of geese from the sky. I could see the V-pattern of the birds as they flew over, getting ready for their yearly sojourn to warmer lands.
And then I noticed the cloud. It was shaped like a giant feather but was in all colors, a captured rainbow.
Another flock of geese flew under the feather-cloud.
When I returned to the village, I did not admit defeat.
“Come, all, let us prepare to journey. We will build boats and use them to travel to the south and east, past the ice.”
“But we have tried and the ice goes on forever. There is no passing.”
I smiled as a flock of geese passed.
I pointed up at the birds, who were heading to the south and the east.
“If it stretches forever, where are the birds going? The ancestors have spoken, we will begin the journey before the cold weather sets in.”
Later, during normal night-sleep, our ancestors brought me a new dream. In this, our people were on a new land, spread over thousands of miles.
I smiled. I knew I had made the right choice.
This was written for the writephoto challenge put on by KL Caley. This week the photo was by A Kehas and KL gave us the key words Feather Cloud.
If you didn’t catch it, the idea here is supposed to be the first peoples to cross over from Asia to the Americas. Despite what they used to say, now people think that the “land bridge” would have just felt like new land to them – they would have expanded as they ever had and there would be no line between old world and new. Many also think that they went by boat, not land. Oh well, since all of that land is now under water, we may never know…