She wandered aimlessly under the canopy of green. The midday sun’s rays filtered through the foliage, creating peaks of brilliance and valleys of shadow around her as she made her tentative journey. Startled by a gust of wind she hunched lower, fearing the bow and bend of plant life above her.
She had been separated from her family for what seemed like an eternity. They’d all set away from the safety of home just before the sun began to make its lazy ascent into the horizon. The hope had been to spend the day working the land, and bringing back fresh food for winter stores.
She and her family had been so carefree on their way along the well worn path leading from their home. Her brothers and sisters skittering to and fro, excitedly examining every new leaf of grass, rock, and twig they came across. The Elders patiently plodding along, steady for the course with the expectation to be followed. And she: the dreamer, the wanderer, the one with her head in the clouds – she had eventually strayed off course.
As she’d been meandering along the path, trailing behind her family, she’d seen it: the most glorious tree she’d ever seen in her life. Captivated, she moved off the trail, set to get a closer look. She was enchanted. This marvelous tree towered over not only her, but the rest of the vegetation all around. Supported by a long smooth trunk, the tree folded out into the most magical globe of downy white foliage. Each tiny branch wavered in the breeze, filtering the sunlight that hit it into the most calming ethereal glow.
Captivated by the delicate movement of the tree, she’d not noticed that her family, preoccupied by their own explorations, moved further and further away. This, is how she became lost. When she’d finally noticed she was all alone, her world changed. Each previously alluring nook and cranny begging to be discovered had turned ominous and foreboding.
Her reverie was broken with a sudden tremble to the ground. Dancing nervously she looked left to right as pebbles and rocks upon the ground jittered in sympathy with the earth’s movement. Struck in a moment of panic she froze, she’d heard of this before – hadn’t she? A scrap of a story heard from an elder, whipped through her mind:
“… and out of the sky it comes, a creature so humongous it not only towers over the trees, but one cannot even see where the creature ends. Its presence foretold by a great shaking of the earth, followed by a shadow which throws the world into night. A creature of destruction, capable of wiping out a whole community with a few crushing blows. A creature of malevolence: crushing, maiming, and even abducting all that stand in its way…”
Could it be? She thought, as she began to run fearing for her life. She dodged, she zigged, and she zagged around tumbling boulders and dancing rocks. The earth shook like an angry beast trying to throw her from its back, but she persisted. Each time the horrific boom behind her sounded, she leapt with fear becoming a bit more frantic.
Careening through the jungle-like terrain she dodged trunks, stalks, and bushes alike. Caught up in the pattern of the thunderous earth shaking boom of the creature behind her, she’d hardly noticed when the soft shifting soil beneath her feet transitioned into a hot unyielding rough surface. It was the sudden brilliance of the sun’s force shining down that snapped her back to attention. No longer protected by an umbrella of greenery and shade, the world seemed all too bright, garish, and blinding.
Disoriented, she panicked and began running this way and that, with little to no direction. Suddenly, the world fell dark. She froze, and in that moment she knew: the stories she’d heard from her elders, whilst working about the food stores had been true.
She looked up, just in time to see a monstrous 5 legged creature come down upon her. This was the last sight she’d ever see.
Giggling, a small girl of 2 years clutched her prize as chubby little legs pumped vigorously, carrying her unsteadily towards her mother. Squealing gleefully she shoved her hand towards her mother and proudly announced, “Mommy! Ant! Ant! Look!”
Looking up from her book, her mother replied patiently, “That’s nice honey, give it to Mommy.” Taking a tissue from her purse beside her on the park bench, she wiped the bug from her daughter’s hand.