Saturday, April 9, 2016

The myth of nation and blood. Part two.

What about the people who came before? The people who flattened these fields with their feet and with buffalo, the people who built the dam and filled in the wewa. The people who moved here and used the forest and its wood and its creatures and its wild honeybees? What about these people, the people who were here or somewhere but maybe right in these fields, on these dikelets, before your grandparents. The people who came before your grandparents. The people who came even before them. You know there were these people, like there were people and gods in legends from before. The people had to come from someplace, or they had to be here. But either way. In this place with hot days. Dead hot days and chill nights. And seasons of water and seasons of great dry. Ripening times. Planting times. People had always known these times? And your grandparents? And. What about the grandparents of your grandparents? You are their blood. Are you connected to them? This is hard to think about. It is dark. You are lying in the elephant hut overlooking the ripening paddy. There are stars. It is chilly. There is a sour scent of ripening grain. The grass that holds it dying, yellowing by the day, as it should. The singing that goes from hut to hut has ended, temporarily. It's time to dream. You want to sleep but you must stay awake. Elephants will ruin the paddy if you fall asleep. Your labor and the labor of your brothers and cousins will be lost. There will not be enough to eat or to plant for next season. This can happen in one night. A single mosquito whines near your ear and you slap at it. You drowse and fall asleep. 

You awaken to the sound of that mosquito, could it be the same one? And you open your eyes reluctantly but aware of your duty. You are a protector. The stars glimmer far in the black sky and the air pulses with the sound of insects. There is no other sound, no birds at this time of night, no stealth sounds of breaking twigs that would signify an elephant or some other animal. It is comfortable. You have been in this hut before since you reached manhood. No sounds from the other huts. You are comfortable in your post, in this time. Aware but unaware of voices of ancestors. You are comfortable. But you fold your arms around you in the gathering coolness and adjust your sarong to keep the heat of your body close. You are lying on your side propped on your left arm. Between dozing and awareness. You stay awake. 

You dream in your awakeness. You dream of your ancestors, of their blood, the blood that courses in your body like water that courses from a sluice down to the paddy. That water is clear. That is a water of nourishment. That water provides. You dream in your awakeness about the slots and grooves that hold the rough wood panels that control the water. The water that brings life to the fields. You dream in your awakeness about the sounds the water makes. Gurgling. Sloshing. Pouring. Spilling. Turning. Whipping. Falling. Trickling. Water when it lies flat like at the surface of the wewa. But even that water you think, ripples slightly with an insect or a breeze or a drop that falls to it from the leaf of a kumbuk tree or the leaf itself, falling, landing, pierces but does not penetrate the surface of the water. The water is perturbed and moving in its way but noiseless to your ears. Maybe a dog could hear that water sound. But not you, a human.  

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