The tent was mostly dark, except for the small fire burning in it’s center. The shadows danced and played across the the hide sides of the structure. The air was filled with the scents of countless herbs.
In the middle of the tent, sat a shaman. With a steady, melodic rhythm; he pounded away at his drum while calling to the ancestors of his people. The world shifted, and the shadows started to come out of the walls, and sit besides him by the fire.
“What is it you need?” One of the ancestors asked. The shaman took a deep breath before he answered.
“There is a large decision before our people, and I wanted to seek advice from you.” The shaman said.
“You are wondering if you should follow the path through the ice?” Another ancestor spoke.
“Yes. I have discussed with some of the wisest among our people, and they say that world is changing. The ice is melting, and some think we should follow the path that is opening up for us.”
“The ice is melting, let there be no doubt about that. The world is warming in a way that has not been seen in ages.” An ancestor said.
“How can you be sure? The ice has been there as long as the oldest stories tell, and some of my people think that it will always be there.” The shaman said.
“All things change in this world, and if you doubt us, we can show you.” Another ancestor said.
“It is natural to have doubts, and it is wise to ask questions.” A second ancestor added. The shaman nodded.
“Show me.” He said. The ancestors circled and started to chant. The shaman did not know this one, but soon picked it up, and chanted along with them.
The outline of the tent shifted and fell, and a great hole opened up below them. The shaman fell into the dark abyss, and fell and fell. He screamed out in terror, fearing for his life. He saw light fast approaching at the bottom of the hole, and he knew the end had come.
He fell out of a hole in the sky, and into snow that was deeper than he had ever known. His body plunged beneath the snow, and the snow fell in around him. He struggled for air, but all his lungs found was the bitter, suffocating cold. His chest tightened, and he tried to cry out; but there was no air in his lungs.
Several hands plunged down through the snow, and grabbed his wrists. With one mighty pull, the ancestors pulled the shaman from the snow.
“Sorry about that.” One of the ancestors said.
“I nearly died.” The shaman added.
“Do you think that kind of travel is easy? We make mistakes.” One of the ancestors said.
“Well, he makes mistakes. I told him he was doing it wrong.” Another ancestor added.
The shaman couldn’t help but laugh.
“Where are we?” He asked.
“A good vantage point. Come this way.” One of the ancestors said. The small group crossed the snowy terrain, and came up a high ridge.
At the top of the ridge, the shaman looked out over the land. As far as he could see, the land was locked in snow and ice. The blinding white seemed to stretch all the way to the horizon.
“Now watch.” One of the ancestors said.
The shaman watched as the sun started to race across the sky, and was followed by night. The moon trailed across the sky not long after, and the shaman knew that time was passing at an incredible pace.
After a point, time was moving so fast that there was barely a clear distinction between night and day.
The shaman watched as the ice before him slowly started to melt. Great rivers started to form in the glaciers and ice plains, and these carved great valleys into the ice. Soon, an entire canyon opened up through the ice, and the shaman could see a clear path to the horizon. He also saw green start to appear at the edge of the ice.
“That is where your people will need to go.” One of the ancestors said.
“That will be a long journey.” The shaman said.
“It will be, but that land will be home to thousands of generation of your descendants.” The ancestor said.
“When will the path be opened? It looked to be a long time from now.” The shaman said.
“It is open now. Do not let what you have seen here trick you. You have seen from ages in the past to many winters into the future. You must go soon.” The ancestor said.
The world dropped out and faded to black.
The shaman snapped back to his tent, and he slowed the rhythm on his drum until it came to a stop.
I tried tackling this story from a few different angles, but still came up against the ominous wall of writer’s block. This story just popped into my head this morning, and so I went to town typing it out. I think I am happy with the results.
At first I tried to construct this from the perspective of the Anzick Boy, since that was the topic of the last part in this series. But no matter how I tried, that didn’t just seem right. As such, I created this story as a kind of “prequel” to the Anzick Boy, and how he got to North America.
It is important to note that there are several different “paths” the ancestors of the Native Americans might have taken. Some theories suggest they might have come by sea, following the coast around the North Pacific. Other scholars think they might have migrated through paths in the ice as the glaciers retreated as the last Ice Age came to an end. That was the idea I hooked on here.
I guess that is it for now. Onward!
Thanks for reading!