Ek’abo Ebi! (Welcome Family!)
AMACHI’S HOPE:STATUS UPDATE:
For those of you who have been following my journey, you should know that the critique group is going very well. If you haven’t already realized it, a second or third set of eyes on your work can really open the door to new ideas or suggestions that you may not have thought of yourself. I know it can be nerve-wracking at first but it is well worth it! I’ll keep you posted J
When last we spoke, I was working towards outlining certain parts of a new idea that bloomed from my visit to the Red Leaf Territories (Canada to be specific). Orun which means “sunlight” in Yoruba is the name I decided on for this story. I have not given my characters names yet, as I’m sure there will be more. But some of them have already asked that I give them a voice. J
The tribe known as awọn dudu, (The Dark), were preparing to meet with their elders to celebrate their once happy past and remember what it was like to be a part of the Light. One of the tribe members, (let us call him Ekundayo, which means “sorrow becomes joy” in Yoruba), is frustrated that he is being forced to share in a time that has never been a part of his memory. He was born under a cold, unyielding sky and that is all he has ever known.
The elders are the only ones who have ever seen this thing they call the sun. According to them it gives light and heat. And even though we can’t see it, it exists! ‘I’m supposed to put faith in and believe in the existence of something that I cannot even see?!’ But the children of our tribe, including my own, believe that there is a sun above the clouds.
It is said that the elders are special. That they have power but it has been weakened since the light was taken away. It is said that they are of the Orisa. But the gods have not communicated with them since the destruction of the path etched into Mount Ase. But each year when we gather to remember the past, the children say that they can see shapes in the smoke that comes from a mystical fire that’s conjured specifically on this night.
We gather around a great tree. It is one of the few things I know of that has been around longer than I have. It stands proudly in the middle of our village and grows high above the clouds that blocks out the light and heat that I’m expected to believe in. I envy this tree as it lives above all of this. It is able to exist in the dark and in the light.
The elders (let us call them, Ayotunde (joy has returned), Folami (respect and honor me) and Temitope (enough to give thanks)) await us as we approach the tree. In the dark, they seem to glow. I shake my head and rub my eyes. I am more tired than I realize and my eyes are playing tricks on me. The children rush ahead and dive into their arms. The elders are well loved by them. And even though it is said that they are hundreds of years old, they look younger than me. Their skin is as dark as the sky that surrounds us and as smooth as lake water undisturbed.
“Children! We are so happy to see you!” yelled Ayotunde.
“And you as well!” Folami bellowed as she hugged and shook hands with most members of the tribe.
Temitope moved from person to person, asking about their health and wellbeing. The elders lived near us but it still took many footsteps to reach their home. It is located at the foot of the mountain.
Everyone sat in a semicircle around the tree; the children at the front and the adults behind them. Folami raised her hand and silence descended upon our group. “As you well know,” she started. “We ask you here at the beginning of every summer solstice,” continued Ayotunde. “To share in the story of what has been, what is and what will be.”
I looked around. Had no one noticed the way they finished one another’s thoughts? It made me uncomfortable and I couldn’t understand why. When they spoke, it felt like they spoke to me alone. Their dark eyes were piercing, intense even. And their voices stayed with me, stayed within my head, long after their words were uttered.
“For hundreds of years, our people were a prosperous one. We flourished in every way possible,” said Ayotunde as she walked among our group. “Knowledge, Trade, Health, Family and Love; we had it all. We grew boastful, we grew unappreciative,” continued Folami. “We forgot our beliefs, put aside our traditions, and angered the High God by not acknowledging all that he had done for us,” whispered Temitope.
“Finally the Orisa had enough. They decided to take away the one thing we did not truly appreciate until it was gone. Sunlight.” said Folami. “I watched,” continued Ayotunde, “as dark, stormy clouds rolled in from the valley.” Temitope went on. “I heard a thundering roll.” Ekundayo jumped. He too could hear the rolling thunder.
“I thought a storm was coming in with the clouds and then I realized that the sound I heard was coming from the mountain. Lightning struck the giant rock, over and over again until the path between two tribes was no more.”
“Time passed and the dark clouds never returned from whence they came.” whispered Folami.
Before my eyes, I watched as images of our story took shape. Even though my children shared their experience with me, I was still frightened by what I saw. I watched as images of our past appeared before me. We were a strong, vibrant and happy people. I saw images of bountiful crops and animals I have never seen before. But most importantly, I saw a bright, round shape. The light it gave off was blinding. I could hear the children gasp with pleasure and the adults yell out with a combination of fear and wonder. I could even feel the warmth from that yellow shape upon my face. I could feel its energy deep within my body and I knew that I wanted to experience such a thing every day. We all did. I wanted to really see the sun.
For all of you who have been visiting my blog each week, I greatly appreciate it. I hope that you’ll continue to do so. But I would really love to see more of your comments. Whether it is today’s post or entries in the past. Tell me what you think of the direction I’ve taken with this story so far or any thoughts or suggestions you may have J
Mari e laipe!
See you soon!