The Visitor

Colorado River Indian Reservation.

Note: I’ve recently been getting back in touch with nature, including visiting an Indian reservation and a few of our national parks. This must be what inspired the following story. Either that, or it was that Native American restaurant, where I ordered the Peyote Plate Special.


The Visitor

 

The visitor strode over the heat haze toward towers of rock in the sky. All around, the spirits of lizard and snake welcomed its presence and thanked it. The creosote bush waved, and the smoke tree bowed. High above, the crow and hawk sang its praises, and the quail below echoed in chorus.

It stood atop a bronze cliff, high above a river of blue, and watched it flowing, winding, dripping away, while a cloud of stars showered its head with gold and silver.

The skin of its feet sizzled from burning granite, so it cooled them in the river. It scooped water from this river, and poured it into its parched mouth, then quickly spat it back out. A cloud of death-smoke stung its eyes and choked its breath, until it sent it away with a wave of a hand. And then it hid in a canyon to shield its skin from the flaming sun.

The earth begged it for relief. The river cried. The sky wailed in misery. And the sun apologized for an imagined sin.

The visitor whispered to the earth and gave it encouragement. It spoke to the river and consoled it. It lifted its voice to the sky, with its sweet breath. And it sang a soft song to the sun.

“You have remained, flowed, blown, and shone since ancient times,” it reminded them. “This discomfort you feel is a mere itch. An itch passes like the shadow of a cloud. Time is your medicine.”

“And what of the humans?” they replied. “It is for them we also beg, cry, wail, and apologize. What of their itch? Will it, too, soon pass?”

The visitor laughed and shook its finger. “Ah but that is your job, to tame the human,” it retorted. “And I see from the scalding heat of this rock, the bitter taste of the river water, the unbreathable sky, and the fiery sting of the sun, that you are learning how to do this.

“The humans are hard to tame. But they are no match for you, their masters. Show no mercy. Spare no quarter. Accept nothing but complete submission. And then their itch shall pass. As shall yours. And then they can once again dwell under your control and enjoy your safe protection.”

Having taught what it came to teach, the visitor left for a stroll down the Milky Way, to other realms and other adventures in this grand universe of strange worlds and phenomena. The humans quickly passed from its mind. It had other, much more interesting things to do.

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