Before you tackle this sad story, please read first my post: Ice Age anyone.
Otherwise this here narrative will not make sense.
And a little warning:
This is a tough read….
Luckily you were not there…
But I “was”……
I decided to go on a trance journey to find out about Rhinos.
What we thought of them.
How our Ancestors regarded them, what Medicine they associated with them.
I am in the journey cave. The fire is out. Only Nishia is there,grooming her feathers. One of the feathers, a medium sized flight feather comes loose and flutters in my direction. (Not a good sign. 😦 )
I pick it up, and the minute I touch it, the ground beneath me opens and I sink down.
I followed the sound of the drum deeeeeeep into the sandy ground beneath my feet.
Down and further down.
It smelled of time and – Earth. I am a little sad, that Nishia is not coming with me. But this is not a journey for a client where I need to find a cure for something….
Even Fretty had decided, that this journey into the distant past should only be undertaken by me.
I see light ahead of me, yellowish milky beige light; I move towards it. I find myself to be in a landscape of wide grasslands, tall grass, not the kind people have on their lawns, but hip high pale greenish yellow grass that waves in the wind like waves.
There is movement in that grass. Gray movement. 2 shapes, one humooooongouse and another one, small and light afoot. I recognized a Mother Rhino and her small calf. She is grazing, the little one still too small to graze, still nursing, is nuzzling its mother’s belly. What a peaceful beautiful sight!
I hunker down, covering myself in the tall grass, watching the 2 majestic animals.
Then, there is more movement! Calls and screams too! The mother Rhino lifts her head, ears flicking, tail raised she turns into the direction of the sound.
Humans are coming.
They are running!
Fast through the tall grass. Not the slightest attempt to hide their approach they yell and wave long spears! The Mother Rhino snorts and turns, as if to face these nuisances. A spear flies in her direction, falls short, gets stuck just next to her calf.
Danger she does not need. Snorting she turns and starts moving off, in my direction!
The screams and taunts of the hunters increase, She starts running, the calf by her side.
I have to get out of the way! She is whirrrrling up dust and bits of dirt and grasses and the ever present flies…..
I hear the loud stomping of her massive feet and am engulfed in a cloud of dust. The grunting snorts of the Mother Rhino roars closer, I can smell her, the wave of heat and dust and flying pebbles and bits of grass race by me, make me step back. Then just as the huge gray mass had passed I hear a thunderous crash and an otherworldly grunting roar woven out of pain, anger and frustration.
I am still vaguely aware that I am still holding Nishia’s feather in my hand….
As the dust settled I recognized what had happened:
The hunters had dug out a deep pit and just barely covered it with thin branches and grasses. Now the giant gray mass was caught in it, stomping grunting trying to wiggle itself upright in the tight confined space. -tried to escape. Tried, but did not succeed. The animal woefully tried to rear up, front feet scratching to reach the rim of the pit, finding purchase but not enough to escape the trap. The sound was awful. The stench too. In her fear and stress she lost her water and dung. Farting and grunting mixed with the higher pitched screams of her calf. I had forgotten the little one. But the hunters had not. They allowed the calf to approach the pit, that held its mother and then, as it whimpering lowered its head, nose touching up-stretched nose the spear struck. Blood squirted everywhere. The calf whirled around, wanting to flee, the spear in its throat gurgling whines, gushing red blood. The screams were awful, the Mothers frantic grunts and the babies pitiful wails as it suffocated falling forward, impaling itself deeper into the the spear, its shaft now broken of. Another one stuck in the spine, the little one faltered, legs gave way, flailing in the air in last spasm of nerves.. …. the mother roared, fought the pit with all her might – to no avail, the little one now still, but soon the hunters arrived, struck it once more, the proceeded to break open its steaming body, flint knifes in fist cutting into hot flesh, disregarding the trapped mother feet away from the blood bath of butchery.
I felt my own heart screeeeeeeeeeeaming in horror and pain! But there was no sound – of mine, just the brawly laughter of the hunters as they worked on their kill and the roars from the tormented mother in the pit.
The vision changed and it was night. A small fire nearby. A youngster sitting by it whittling a spear tip in the dim light.
Grunting snorts from behind me. The pit. The mother! What were they doing? Letting her die there? Coming to kill her in the morning?
Again and again she reared up, as much as she could, pawing the rim of the pit.The youngster got up, checked, but returned to the fire, as if all was in order. Next day – or the one after. The light rose in the sky, the heat and the flies – arrived and – as the sun sank again so they disappeared. The Rhino in the pit stomped and snorted and grunted. Then grew silent for hours, just to start yet another senseless attack at the rim of its death trap. Day and day and day and day….. the sloooowly the strength of the animal waned, her attempts at escape grew weaker and weaker….. day after day after day. The rim of the pit was wearing down, but so was she, her left hind lake now broken and useless, she could not rear up anymore… day after day after day. Then – after 12 days it was over.
Her Spirit did, what her body could not:
Rise out of the death trap and flee the scene of the carnage.
The smell told it all. The youngster left to get his Elders. They dug open a sort of slope into the pit and widened it somewhat and proceeded to heave her onto her side and carefully cut her lifeless body, from the center down and out, taking meat out of the pit to be cut into slabs and hung over a long fire pit to dry in the smoke of wet grass. The bones were piled to the side and shortly thereafter transported of to camp. More and more people arrived, baskets on thumb-lines were filled with meat and carried of, others brought twigs and wet as well as dry grasses for the fire. The scene was abuzz with flies…
then the men emerged from the pit with a tremendous burden: The hide of the Rhino mother. In one continuous piece!unblemished by any lance or spear. That was, why they had not killed her, ended her suffering.
They wanted the hie whole.
For what? It was soooo huuuuge, it took 4 men to carry it ?
The scene shifted again.
Bowing wind whipped a nasty freezing rain-sleet mix into my face.
Up ahead near the furt across the river I saw a bump in the landscape and stumbled towards it.
A hut. Sturdy branches, saplings, woven together to erect a low dome, over which – the cured hide of the mother Rhino was stretched. And it was not the only one. It took 2 of these huge hides to cover the hut.
A mother, holding a newborn to her breast…….
I am still holding the Owl feather.
I stick it between the rocks that weigh down Mother Rhino’s hide………