Both a mariner chant and overland voyager stories, I chose this rendition because I like the tale and background music.
Tiny waves pull away from the bow like the wake of a duck and tiny eddy’s swirl where the paddle quietly enters and leaves the water as the young trapper paddles his canoe effortlessly to the small sandy beach.
White plumes of the village’s many cooking fires rise straight up and disappear into the valley sky. The wispy trails of warming fire smoke rise from the highest spot on the roof of winter shelters.
It’s been seven years since he’s seen the Shenandoah or this village. His father and he were here as fur traders when he was only thirteen, his first trip with his father.
He discovered the chiefs daughter back then. Somewhat younger than he, but very mature. Taught well by her mother and mother nature to tend and survive. Her skin was as clear as the waters, her eyes reflected the blue of that sky and her cheeks the blush of innocents.
He and his father stayed long enough for the maiden and the boy to become melded. The running and laughing, competition and evening quiet brought them close.
When it was time for his father to deliver the hides he’d traded for to the trading post at the end of the river, the boy promised his friend that he’d return someday. With a wave and pounding hearts, they said goodbye on that late spring day.
Here he is, standing still. No one could know what the outcome would be, as the new young of the village scrambled to the water’s edge to investigate the white men.
There was a small bank on the edge of the river, so one could not see far once up on the sand.
He hesitated, building up courage. Not to go over the top of the bank, but to hold himself back from running through the village…….. searching.
It was a perfect pause, as up over the top of the embankment her eyes appeared. She stopped to catch his eye. She hesitated cautiously to catch her breath and slow her heart. Bounding over the drop to the beach needed to be a no mistake move for a princess. She had to be sure, a chiefs daughter had to be certain.
There is in nature an undefined energy when the eyes of two as these meet. There are no words….. it has no name, but it is certain! Nature allows this to happen when the moment is right.
With this energy comes a disregard for status, or in his case, courage. They met so hard on the slope of the embankment, that they tumbled as one back down to the sand.
Seven years for so many things to keep this from happening, yet they did not happen. This happened.
They young man’s father had passed on, and the boy stayed with him until the last shovelful was placed on the grave. It was a good full life.
Weeks later, after all affairs were taken care of, he and his inheritance, a canoe, some leathers, two rifles and some supplies headed down the Shenandoah to a place that seemed fresh in his mind. He didn’t know if it was still something real, but he had to see. He had to pass that spot on the river on his way to cross the Missouri river. His father wanted him to see what was on the other side of the Missouri where they had never gone. Stories of great mountains and rivers, trees and new adventures.
First, the Shenandoah to see if he ventured on by himself, or with a partner.
Her father, the chief, after a few weeks of proper custom keeping, knew what he had to do. He and his wife did not want her to go, and after a time, didn’t want him to leave either. But, he was of the land, they were joined by the heart, so he joined them by the gods. She was his in the tribes mind, and in the young man’s mind, they were one together, partners about to begin an adventure.
Joy and heartbreak all at the same moment. It’s more than a mind can handle without expressing tears for both at the same time. The maiden knew she may never see her parents again. They knew that nature creates many different stories with as many beginnings, middles and endings as there stars. One can only hope that the beginning is good. This was a good beginning!