Mila rose early and went with her grandfather, the tribe’s shaman, to greet the sunrise. They stirred the cooking fire and sent the fire tender to bed, and waved to the night’s guard as they scrambled up the narrow path to the top of the mesa. They walked for about ten minutes, to the edge of the butte and looked out across the valley below.
The growing light gave shadows to the rock spires in the distance, and soon it gave color.
Mila’s grandfather started to chant, picking up handfuls of dirt and letting it fall as he walked in a circle around her. Her job was to drum, she remembered. So she unstrapped the small hide and ceramic drum from its holder tied to her back, and tried to keep a steady beat.
The sun gave color to the horizon and the rocks, to the clumps of bushes and sticker plants. She spotted a glider, riding the wind looking for its breakfast. It circled and spiraled upward.
“Grandfather, what’s that?”
Her grandfather stopped his chanting and turned to look at the sky.
“That is a messenger of change.”
“What does it want?” The sun colored it also, turning it purple, and then pink after a moment. It seemed to be wispy, like the mist that came in the winter.
“It heralds a change in the weather.”
“But the weather never changes. The sun rises, dances along the empty sky, and then sets. Sometimes the wind comes to play, and in the winter the mists come. I don’t understand.”
“You will, child.”
The messenger was now a yellow color, fading toward white.