The First Mornings of the World 3 & 4
Inspiration being too big a word for this I will only say that I am encouraged in this project from two sources- A Nova series called The Roots of homo sapiens, and Tolkien’s Silmarillion.
Two things might be interesting. First, both my re-reading of the Silmarillion and my viewing of the Nova series were/are simultaneous. The idea of a kind of human pre-history thing grew out of this synchronicity.
The second thing is that my idea is to write about a people (Cro-Magnon? Neanderthal?) who are one step before Homo Sapiens. The use of language has been suggested for a species known as homo ergaster and there is strong evidence that Cro-Magnons knew the science of weapon making and weaving.
Nehot, especially Kitas, and some others I may introduce are, as I see them, a bridge between separate species and are meant to be slightly transitional, while the People are from that which is transitioned.
I am assuming anything that flows from this supposition will be less novelistic in form than it will be way to explore and order my philosophy of what life should be.
However, I am moving ahead of myself (again). We both know I am better at setting up hypotheses than I am at following through on them.
Edited from a note to a friend.
I would like to add to this that, while I am trying not to write out of the time, I know this will happen. Anyone following is wholeheartedly invited to point these instances out. The only exception I will make is in my use of dialog and abstract concepts. It is very unlikely that Kitas and his kin spoke in anything more than a basic one word idiom but I need my dialog to explore my own philosophical wanderings.
Kitas, when he reached his fifteenth winter, became of the age when the urge to mate consumed most of his people’s males. He was considered fairer than most his age, at least by women. His forehead rose straighter to his hairline; his light brown eyes were less deep set into his head; generally, his features presented a more pleasing symmetry.
He had, too, less body hair, where some males almost looked as if they were wearing fur, and what body hair he did have was finer. Seeing him, his mother saw a glimpse of a far off future and grieved for not understanding what she had seen.
In the times of their heat, many females sought to couple with him, but he showed no interest in any coupling and often withdrew until the time of mating was over. This caused some of the females a sense of offense, of being rejected as a too spoiled and voiced, loudly, their displeasure. Those males who mated with those Kitas refused, though they had won their prize, felt bested. Anger took root in them, an anger they were hard put to name. Once named, it would become a cause of grief in all ages to come.
In Kitas’ eighteenth year, when she had saw he had not yet shown an interest to rut, Nehot was troubled. Her ferocity, regarding her son’s safety, had waned, but unlike the other women of the People who gave no thought to their offspring after a certain time, her watchfulness regarding her own, remained. A small difference from the custom of the group may be tolerated, but too many in one being and they were isolated to a point of danger. Custom does not abide challenge well, and a constant flouting of it invited penalties even unto death. She had seen this among her own People before her rape to this group. It was because of this knowledge of danger that she had hid her own gifts, revealing them among the women snail slow over the passing years. It was by Nehot’s cautious teaching that women withdrew during their bleed times and during their birth times, surrendering to the ministrations of other women.
Nehot was determined to counsel with her son and speak of the dangers he was unknowingly courting. She set off for the dwelling place by the sea he had chosen for himself.
This is the fashion of the environment within which the People live. The furthermost boundary, on the east, was the Sea. Except for Kitas, the tribe did not much wander on its shore. The vastness of it, and its fickle temperament, made them uneasy.
To the west, south and north, a year’s distance, or so away, the land was ringed by mountains, edifices of stone that would, over time, be whittled down to a mere whisper of their former glory, However, the people could not know that. Occasionally, the people, following the game would find themselves at the foot of one or the other of them, but would not venture beyond. Beyond, was the edge of the world.
This valley, supplemented by not infrequent rain, was watered by a number of rivers and streams. It was an over lush Eden almost to the edge of the sea. The people were more comfortable with the rivers, for there were places where they could see the other side.
At either end of the years, there were days of uncomfortable heat and cold. On the worst of the hot days, the people would gather by the riverbanks and cover themselves in mud. In the coldest of winter, they would huddle around fire wrapped in skins sewed together by themselves or more likely by women and children too young to hunt.
Game being less plentiful in the winter, the cold days were known as the empty time because stomachs were rarely filled. Winter was a test of group integrity. To share a mouthful of food with another when your own stomach lusts…it may be thought the lesson is that charity is easier out of abundance, but this was not charity. Though the People had no word for it, sharing was an act of prudence. He who leans on you, today, may be needed to lean upon, tomorrow.
The land, like the People, had always been. Though their species would last thousands of years more, they did not know they were already diminishing. The People will not live to see, or understand, that even what is unchanging, changes, that what always was, was not, nor will ever be.
Though the People have learned to glean of the roots and berries to supplement their diet, they will not live to know how to seed as well as harvest. They will not learn the concept of property, of owning.
Those who will come after will invent the idea of heir-ship and thus, the concept of marriage, to provide it. They would not understand that a man could own a woman and her issue. Those who come after will be another race of beings not entirely unlike themselves, but not exactly like them. The People will not live to leave Eden.