and Bees and Waves
Long ago, there was a spirit woman and her name was Yomumuli, Enchanted Bee. She made the earth: the rippling grasses swaying in the wind and the scarlet mountains floating on clouds of tiny blue birds. And the day was divided into astonished animal faces, and the night was a fountainhead of stars and the slumber of river turtles.
Since that time, the papery husks of stars have fallen into the seas and mothers have grown older. Rosa is a woman who talks to herself. Although she doesn’t remember the first creation, she does, of course, remember the birth of her only child, a son named Natchez.
She made the people and put them in a village. And in the middle of the village was a Talking Tree that hummed like bees.
When Natchez was little, he talked to his shadow, and Rosa talked with the coyotes and ravens and flowers. But now she is old and can’t see very well. Once she caught herself talking to a discarded gum wrapper, thinking it was a flower.
I wonder, she thinks, if my dreams can tell me how to make my eyes better. She knows that her tribe believes in dreams, but since she’s half Yaqui, she doesn’t always know whether the dreams believe in her. Still, she begs for a dream that would speak healing words. One night she dreams the words “unlined cell differential” and has no idea what they mean. I probably got someone else’s dream, she thinks. Another night she dreams about fog, and when she wakes up, her eye is cloudier.
The tree spoke a sacred language. No one could understand it. Not the youngest. Not the oldest. Not the wisest or bravest or strongest. Not even the oldest.
Rosa wakes one morning and remembers a dream that tells her to enter a cave. Grandmother Spider Woman tells her to bring cedar, tobacco, and corn. No walkietalkie. No flashlight. No strings or bread crumbs to mark the path. Just blind faith.