The old sage sat on a rock in the desert. Underneath and above her the earth danced. Far above, stars twinkled in divine joy, and far below, sparks flew from the great forges in the core of the world.
Lizards lay basking on the rock beside her with throats that swelled out and in with desert breath and the woman matched her heartbeats to the rhythm. At her feet lay a coiled snake and the woman wrapped her body in its many skins.
There she sat under the sun and watched the wind make patterns in the sand. She saw and she learned and she was quiet.
Birds came to tell her of distant lands: of woe and strife and suffering. She knew what advice to give — how if waters were rising, to learn how to float; and if trees were dying, to remember their songs and fill ruined places with their seeds. How if one crop was winning over soil and water, to till it back into earth and let flowers grow. If unending wars were being fought, then fill the air with song and let soldiers be reminded of the life in their blood. And they would know their tears at its beauty to be shared by all man, no matter what God.
The wise old sage thought the solutions simple. But the birds were too tired to fly back with the advice and they knew nobody would listen for her words in their song. So they sat there looking longingly at the sky and their feathers dried out and their bones glowed white in the sand.
The wise bone woman and singer of the shifting sands stacked the bones of the birds that kept coming. Day and night, the wind swept past them with broken-hearted whispers. The wise old sage listened and learned to believe.
She sat with the hopelessness and sorrow of the bone song in her ears knowing not of the love that spurred mankind through all the days of the week and the months and the years, of the joy and yearning for life and beauty that clung stubbornly in their hearts for all of time endured.
This the woman did not know, for the birds had never brought her tales of goodness or kindness of love. And the sage woman knew the answers in the stars and the sand but did not think of their beauty.
And there under the sun she sat with the lizards and the snake and the bird bone cage she had built for herself.
And there she withered with the pain of untended knowledge until her bones were bleached by the sun and made sad hollow noises when the wind blew past with the scent of distant lands.
Contact Aliya Haas Blinman at [email protected].