Myths

I wrote this myth when I was an instructor for Outward Bound in the summer of 2007.

*A quick note about dates: Whatever date I include with a piece is the original day it was written. I may have edited since then, but many of these posts will be from old journals or assignments that turned out well.

1.27.08

On a sickeningly hot day this summer after a hike which ended up being twice as long as anyone was expecting, we sat in front of some ancient Fremont Indian petroglyphs and I wrote the beginning of a myth while scrounging shade from a half dead scrub oak.

Before the world was young, when the earth was dry and just beginning to think about starting to grow up, there lived a young goddess on the top of the loftiest peak of the greatest mountain in the world. Of course she was a beautiful goddess, but she was also a lonely spirit. The other great beings all lived over a thousand reaches away across the dry and dusty world. They did not welcome her in their great gatherings because she always wept. She lived and wept every night and every day. Near unceasing tears poured from her lovely eyes and the other gods and goddesses could not bear her constant sorrow. I will call her Elloranda because we have now forgotten her true name, and she was the goddess given charge of the all the sorrows and all the joys of this life.

Below her, people struggled in the dry earth. With all the water still locked in the deep places, they toiled endlessly to seek their food and raise their families. The people of the earth suffered deeply and Elloranda heard their sorrows and wept for feeling their pain. When lovers quarreled, when crops died, when a child lost their favorite toy, her great heart ached for them and so the tears could not stop. There may have also been joys in the world then, but they were few and very far between because of the harshness of life. She, however, could not hear their faint laughs for her weeping, nor could she see their brief smiles through her tears. For all the many ages before the first she did this, always weeping into a great green jar which stood upon her windowsill. Sometimes for just a few minutes in the night, she would find peace as the dry world slept, but when a boys dreams turned ill or a mother became sick, her heart would break again.

As the earth finally become young, there was a tribe of people who lived in the plains at the feet of the grand mountains, and they found their life in the gigantic land turtles who roamed there. They were mighty hunters all and the young and strong roamed far from their hearths seeking the life giving beasts. Their ancestors had befriended the many antlered hooved beasts and now their descendants would ride them, swift and tireless as the arid wind, hunting, always hunting. At the time of year when the cold released the earth, a great and handsome hunter named Arin lead a group of his kin on the first hunt of the year. He rode one of the most powerful Hooved Ones which had every been made and the two were true friends. The hunting party found old traces of the land turtles moving towards the feet of the mountains and so it was this way that they rode. On the ninth day, they found the huge herd on the peak of the lowest hills and claimed enough to feed their tribe for many months. They were joyful and glad and prepared to return to their people, victorious. Just as the party was ready to move, Arin said he would follow in a few days, because his heart yearned to knwo what lived in the high up places which he had always seen in the distance. Because his kin knew he was strong and that his steed was good, they wished him luck and parted ways.

For many days Arin and his beast rode up. They passed peak after peak, each time finding a grander one just beyond. After two weeks of this grueling journey, his hooved one finally grew weary, and just before they entered the clouds, Arin dismounted and left his friend to rest, moving into the strange, cold greyness on his own. His feet carried him up and up as darkness fell and his eyes could no longer see the way. The silence was as deep as the clear starlit sky of the plains and he began to fear that even the sound of his feet, soft on the rocks, was not welcome here. Standing still, breathing silently in the darkest hour of the night, Arin heard a sigh. A simple sound and far above him. It captured his heart, sounding as it did of sorrow and loneliness. Moving in silence and slowness, he steadily crept toward the sound. Finally his feet were not stepping up and he walked on flat ground, just above the clouds. Moonlight shown on a house of rock with a single window and a green earthen jar. Peering through this window, Arin saw, sleeping in one of her precious moments of peace, the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He passed through the door and stood beside her as another gentle sigh escaped her lips. Just as his heart was about to burst from her beauty and sadness, the wind swept up to that highest peak and danced through the house, through his hair, across her sleeping form, and it began to sing. The air itself, rushing between them, made a song so beautiful that Elloranda awoke with a smile on her lips for the first time since the earth was thought of. With this smile in her eyes she beheld the handsome face of the hunter, and her heart felt love. In this new love, it was still and quiet and as mother gave birth to her first son somewhere on the dry plains her heart soared to feel the joy rising up. She stood and as the wind continued it’s song, they began to dance. They danced the first dance of joy the world had ever known, moving in each other’s arms, and neither could see anything else. Their feet passed smoothly over the floor and as they turned they brushed the great green jar on the windowsill and it dropped to the ground. They were so wrapped in the peacefulness of love they did not see the tiny crack which appeared in the jar, nor the streams of sweet tears which began to cascade down the great mountain, filling the valleys and basins and finally escaping into the plains. Water flowed across the whole surface of the earth and the people rejoiced! Their crops no longer failed, and the nights became cool, and the world became green. Arin and Elloranda danced out into the night and their laughter filled the canyons and can still be heard today as the sound of the water splashing and dancing over the rocks.

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