Blogland Lane Logo by our own Tessa Edwards

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Bushman's Tale

A journal was lying on the table next to the teapot and biscotti that are always on the porch overlooking the harbor.  Renee had not yet returned so I sat down to wait, poured a cup of tea and opened the book's soft leather bindings.  I turned the pages and saw a luminous watercolor sketch of a baobab tree at sunset as little golden grains of sand dropped onto my lap.  A note written across the bottom of the page read, ...."evening on the savannah near the tree of the above world".

Turning the page, I found myself smiling at a family of Kalahari bushmen and felt the hot savannah breeze on my skin as I was pulled forward and offered a place by the fire.  Soft laughter and village voices chatter in a language that includes pops and clicks and fills the space with happy sounds.  The smells of animal fat sizzlling on hot stones and smoke from acacia wood embers envelop us.  In the distant reaches of the grassland, sounds of waking nocturnal predators chase the sun loving animals to safe places for the night. 

Khoi, the family head, has just finished a rock drawing that he will place in front of his hut so that his spirit guides, the elephants, will always feel welcome among those who respect and care for the land and all living things.  Time ceases to have meaning.  This is so real, yet has such a dreamlike quality.  I sense that I will see this same piece of rock art that I touch here now, in a museum tomorrow and know that it was done 60,000 years ago.  The village elder places himself near the fire and everyone gathers to hear their beginning story.  This quiet little man still speaks to the animals and is the most powerful among the people, still in touch with creation to the depths of his spiritual being.

He tells the story of people and animals living together in the before time.  This was a place of light and happiness and perfect understanding.  Food and water were always abundant.  This had always been true.  One day, the great master, Kaang, told them he was preparing the above world for them and filling it with all the things they would ever need.  Then the people and animals climbed up to the above ground, under the tree of the world and saw all that was theirs.  Kaang told them the one thing they could never do was start a fire and they bound themselves to this promise.  But later, it became dark and cold and the people could not see in the dark.  They were afraid and built a fire so that they could see, but it frightened the animals and they ran away.  Fear came to live in them and they could no longer understand the animals.  But, the spirits of men and women could fly into the animals and share their spirits.  The elder reminded them that this would always be part of their memory.

Not far behind us, a family of elephants padded closer.  Little dust clouds blossomed around each huge foot.  The ground gently trembled as the weight of so many tremendous animals circled the camp.  Behind me, I could fee the presence of a huge shape and smell the musky odor of sun baked hide.  I looked down to see two huge ivory tusks glide by on either side of me and felt a massive head rest against my back.  With the lightest touch imaginable, a trunk curled around my shoulder holding a thick bunch of white baobob flowers.  I leaned my cheek against the trunk in greeting and turned to look into Indlovu's eyes, a patriarch of immense age and true understanding. I think there is a message I am to deliver, but I can't remember what it is.

Renee is smiling at me from across the table.  Near her teacup stands a multifaceted crystal vase whose prisms shoot rainbow colors in all directions.  Into this she is happily arranging a thick bunch of huge white flowers that I have never seen before.  The scent is like honey and ginger and sunshine.  I will have to remember to ask where she got them.  It may be that I once knew the answer,  but everything is a little hazy.  But, I am absolutely sure of one thing.

 She is the Pathfinder.


  1. That was a fantastic post, Linda. Wonderful photos too.

  2. I know a pathfinder named Renee. :)

    good story Linda. I want to know more

    I love knowing writers on blogland lane


  3. Leigh and kj,

    Thank You! Renee leads the way, thats for sure. And such nice words from both of you are so uplifting and appreciated, really and truly.

    And I have questions I want to ask, but can't do it now. Tomorrow I'm heading for Algodones, Mexico to buy perscription medicines. This is my first time, so if I'm not back and posting a comment by Wednesday morning - somebody send up a flare! This is a sad comment on the American health care system. So, I need to prepare a list with generic names as well.

    I really do have a ton of questions!

    Thanks again for being so kind.

  4. I have to ammend the above post! It sounds as if I am going to inundate just kj and Leigh with questions. Not so. Sorry!

    I would like to open a discussion of writing habits, tips, ect., for all the Bloglanders. Maybe a topic a month? There are so many incredibibly creative folks here.

    When I return, I'd like to post a question and start a conversation.

  5. Lovely post, Linda...your writing takes me away to far away places. I always enjoy your posts!

  6. Thank you Marion, that is very sweet.

    I'm off to a faraway place now, Mexico! Just over the border, but maybe a new post?