Saga for a Striver

Once upon a time, not so long ago and very close to here but a world away, in a cave that had its mouth on the wall of a ravine, there was a woman with a heart like the sun, that turned her skin golden, golden with its light. Here she dwelled, and here also dwelled a beast of matted fur and long fangs that sought to devour her. Many times the woman, tired of fending off the beast, would go, while it slept, and stand at the mouth of the cave and wish to leave. But the ground stopped sharply at the cave’s mouth, and fell away to the river rushing by far below, in which she would surely drown if she jumped.
The river was wide, and blue, blue, but not the blue of sky reflected on clear water. Rather, it was a chemical blue, its cold depths stained with the wastes of industry. And the industries expanded, and more sludge was released into the water, and so the river rose, although neither the woman nor the beast noticed, until one day, the waters came swelling up to the mouth of the cave and flooded in.
The woman woke with a start as the water lapped over her at dawn, sitting up and realizing with fear that the cave was flooding and she might drown. But when she ran to the mouth of the cave, she also realized that the steep drop that had previously hemmed her in was gone, gone, and finally, she could leave the lair of the beast. So out into the deep waters she swam.
As the sun rose higher in the sky, she made her way down stream with the currents, into lands she had not yet known. There were bottles and tires in the water, and flowering trees on the banks above her. And though the water was deep, the ravine walls on either side of her were still higher than she could climb, and so she could not leave the river. She tired of swimming, and had trouble keeping her head above the water, until she slipped under and the water entered her mouth. And tainted as it was, it seeped through her, down to her golden heart, which bled into the blue murk, and green, green she turned.
Still she swam, the green woman from the cave, as the sun lowered in the sky. And in the sunset, she saw a rafter paddling upstream towards her. He came out of the distance, and proved to be a pale, pale man from the land of snow, riding a raft he had built out of old truck tires. He stopped when he saw her, and invited her on board, and on she climbed. He offered her fish he had caught earlier that day, and all night they talked, both of them newcomers to this country. They fell in love, and decided to stay together.
They added to their raft, driftwood floors and walls and bedroom, and sailed down new branches of the waterways, though everywhere the ravine walls were high, and the river was tainted, tainted with chemicals. They fished, and caught fruit that fell from the trees on the banks, and had a child.
The girl was born pale like her father, and the green woman took care of her, rinsing off food before giving it to her, holding in her arms at night, and being careful, careful not to let her touch the blue water. But as her daughter grew, the woman saw, to her dismay, that the girl was turning blue as the river. It was too late to keep the toxic water away. Maybe it had slipped in through her umbilical cord.
The blue girl grew older, and decided to leave the boat of the pale man and the green woman. She built her own small raft, and set off one day on her own. She came, after many days’ travel, to a place where the ravine walls crumbled, and the bank eased up before her. She got out of her boat and walked ashore, and found a village nestled among the trees. Here were people from many, many lands, who had come here as refugees from the industries that poisoned the rivers.
Some were as pale as her father, and others were darker, but none were blue, or green, or golden. And when she walked up to them, and they greeted her, she found that she could not speak their language. Then she realized that the people could barely understand each other, for they spoke many different languages. But in curiosity, some of them reached out towards her, for never, never before had they seen a blue person.
And her blue skin, mutated by the water from the chemical river, was thin and porous. And when the people touched her arms and hands, their stories poured into her, long stories, tragic stories, intricate stories, epic stories, unbelievable stories of triumph, risk, escape: all of them, all of them she could understand. The old warrior from the desert knew not how to tell the strong youths from the mountains of the battle tactics he knew, but she understood, and she shared her understanding. The sick families from the east knew not how to describe their afflictions to the healer from the north, but she understood, and she explained, and she stayed and tended to them.
She gathered their stories in her mind like golden, golden threads, weaving them together, sharing them with others in the village. And as their stories wove together, they began to make plans to fight the owners of the factories that had poisoned their homelands. And those who had come here as sole survivors, their friends and families lost, outsiders among confused faces, were strangers to each other no longer.
Do not worry, dear one, that you could not protect those you love from all wounds. It is these wounds which allow us to see parts of ourselves reflected in the injuries of strangers. For we live our lives behind walls of flesh, and it is the cracks in them through which we are able to see out, to understand the world, and which we are able to reach out through, and find each others’ arms.

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About armillaria

running on shoestrings
Aside | This entry was posted in Family, How the light gets in, Mythos. Bookmark the permalink.

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