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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:49 pm
 


I know there are people who can trace their ancestry right back to Adam and Eve. The traditional Creation story is appealing to some, but I’m a skeptic. I believe in the beauty of the evolutionist story and this is how I think it happened:

Six Million Years Ago

Og and I had just awakened on that hot African afternoon when Og looked over at me from his nest high in the acacia tree and said, “You know, it seems to me that the trees we nested in when we were young were a lot higher than this and we didn’t get all scratched up every day trying to build nest in these damn thorny acacias! What happened anyhow?” “Well Og”, I said as I put on my sage face, ”When we were kids, there were a lot more trees, and bigger too. Why, I remember granddaddy Hu saying…” Og wasn’t the most well mannered Ape around so he interrupted my story with, “Listen, I don’t wanna hear another of your granddaddy Hu stories, lets get our skinny butts out of this here thorny tree and go on walkabout, I’ve got a mighty hunger for fat, juicy, termite grubs and I see a mound yonder that looks promising…”

When we got on the ground, we were on all four feet and we couldn’t see anything for all the tall grass and weeds, so I stood up to get my bearings and to locate the termite mound. All of that talk about fat juicy termite grubs had me drooling! Og was a little nervous ‘cause he had seen a leopard prowling around the neighborhood last night and we both felt a little apprehensive about being on the ground, but a termite mound was worth it! We figured the thing to do was to stand upright and walk over there so we could see all around and watch for kitties and keep an eye on that termite mound too. It was a little tough walking on our hind legs like that, but it was worth it.

When we got there, we found that mound to be hard as a rock! How in the hell are we going to break into it? Og had the bright idea of getting a big rock and trying to smash it, so we tried that for a while. All it did was to chip off some sharp corners here and there and we still hadn’t broken in and while he was doing that, the rock bounced off and mashed my toe! Damn clumsy Ape! I found a long sharp rock splinter on a rock outcropping nearby and stabbed the mound a few times and that seemed to be working! Soon we had dug a big hole in the side of it and feasted on grubs ‘til we dropped! Well, not really, but we were full and the sun was getting low, so we raced back to our tree.

I learned a valuable lesson today, standing up for what you believe in and carrying a sharp rock, is the key to success!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:25 pm
 


Fast Forward 2 Million Years

Our family left the kraal that morning for the daily hunt, the women for tubers and seedpods by the river and the men for meat. We weren’t fussy, grubs, bones from carcass, eggs, whatever. About midday, I spotted a female ostrich on a nest. We talked about this for a bit. The rainy season was coming soon and this is the time of hunger for us and the ostrich are laying eggs now. If we could snatch a few of those eggs, there would be happiness around the fire tonight! The problem is, there are several females laying in the same nest and then there is the male to consider…Any of these birds can kill us! Very dangerous to fool with ostrich! But the eggs are very good, maybe worth the risk. We are a big family, lots of men and boys, so we decide that Uncle George and I and cousin Hugh and my little brother, we will be the egg snatchers because we all have good legs and can run very fast! We have four big carry baskets that will hold three eggs each and we will take those with us. The rest of the family will draw off this female and try to distract the others when they show up. They will get into that patch of big rocks and brush over there. We will have to be very quiet and camouflage ourselves with brush to sneak up on the nest because ostrich can hear really well and they can see very well too. Ok, now we have a plan, now we have to do it, and boy am I scared!

My other uncles and father and baby brothers go to the rocks. The female is off the nest now and watching everywhere! Uncle Henry runs out of the rocks and waves his arms and she is going for him! We start moving quietly toward the nest as fast as we can. Uncle Henry is back in the rocks now and she can’t get to him then Uncle Joe peeks out from another rock and waves his arms, we are at the nest now, seven big eggs! We start loading them up as uncle Henry and Uncle Joe keep her busy. OH! OH! I see the male, he is coming! We lie very still, maybe he won’t see us, now little Johnny runs out of the rocks and back and the male chases him! We move back very quietly to a brushy ravine with our treasures.

That afternoon we return to the thorn brush kraal with much singing, for it has been a very good day! Seven big fresh eggs for our family and no one hurt! The women and girls are overjoyed too; they also had a good day with many cattail tubers and a few onions. We will feast tonight! Only one is missing, my half-brother ohn-John. He is so strange and he left the kraal after we did without a word to anyone and went north toward the big fire. We are all afraid of fire but not ohn-John, it seems to fascinate him. The sun is nearly down before I see him coming and he is carrying something, it looks like a warthog!

He is so excited and we are glad to see him and a warthog? It doesn’t look right; it looks burned and smells like smoke! He says it is burned, he found it when the fire went on and the earth was black. He said he was hungry and cut some meat off it with his stone flake. He said it is easier to cut and tastes better. So we who are brave and not afraid of anything, we cut some meat off it too and ate it! It tastes good and we are all hungry so we all ate it up until there was no more that was fit to eat. We ate some of the tubers too but we decided to save the eggs for morning.

That is how I came to like bacon and eggs.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 4:05 pm
 


Same Rift Valley, Different Day

Today, by the river, I saw Lucy again! She is so pretty! Let me tell you of her and her family, they live far from us in the foothills, for each family needs a big hunting territory. She comes to the river every morning for water with the other women of her family, but she is by far the prettiest, long, soft reddish-orange fur on her body with such black skin underneath! She is slender with arms nearly as long as her legs, perfect proportions! I’ve seen her reach ripe figs that none of the others could. She is shy and turns her head away when I whisper to her but I know she likes me too because I can see her smile and hear her giggle. The other women tease her about me and she giggles but doesn’t object too much. Her mother or aunts always shoo me off but they wait for a bit before they do. I must speak to her father soon, but what have I to offer?


I’m good at making the stone flake tools we use to cut meat, but that is all. I know! Their family does not have a good flint mine but my family does, maybe I can offer him a big supply of our flint for her hand! Maybe I’ll even make him up some tools to show him my skill! We have something else too; we have tamed fire! We cook our meat and make it tender, that will impress him if I take him fire and show him how to use it and care for it, for I know he has bad teeth and the cooked meat would be easier for him to eat. Maybe I will take him a haunch of cooked meat if I can find a fresh kill.

At home, I tell my family of Lucy and they agree that I should talk to her father. Some object to sharing our flint but I tell them it will be good for both families. Now they must be our friends and never our enemies, besides, we have much good flint. Same argument about sharing our secret of fire, what can it hurt to share with them? Later on, when their fire got away and nearly burned us out, I would regret that argument.

Today, my smart brother ohn-John made another discovery; he was poking the camp fire with a stick and laid it down for a bit and then put out the burning end and noticed how sharp and hard it was. He showed it to my father and uncles and now we have a new way to make long poles with hard, sharp points to protect ourselves from the big cats that sometimes prowl around the kraal at night. My father says for sure he does not want to share this with Lucy’s family, not yet anyhow. The women of our family think this discovery would be good for them to make better digging sticks too.

Today, I learned that sometimes being fired could make a good point!


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2005 1:59 pm
 


85,000 Years Ago
On the African shore of the Red Sea


Suddenly two men rush at us screaming and throwing rocks. Amu reacts instantly, shooting an arrow into the shoulder of one and his brother Jared is almost as fast, but his arrow missed although it is enough to stop them short of spear range. Now they seem puzzled by the arrow; one has pulled it out of the shoulder of his companion and they are examining it. Behind them I see their fresh kill, a small pig.

I think we will leave them to their kill and they continue to scream at us but do not charge again. I believe they fear the range of our arrows. I have never heard that tongue before; it is strange to me. They too are strange to me, a lighter color, shorter, more muscular, with heavy faces and big noses. They are people, but not like us. They have heavy spears but do not seem to have a bow and arrows as we do.

We watch them from behind the ridge for we are curious; can we hold this land if we come here? Are these the monsters of the tales told around our fires? For two days now we have wandered this land and this is the first time we have seen any people, or even any tracks. I think they are few in number and perhaps cling to a refuge in the mountains and do not venture to the seashore.

We must know more, so we will wait and follow them to their home. We will do that tomorrow or the next day to avoid an ambush, but today we must find water and something to eat. We have followed this wadi inland from the sea because it comes out of the mountains to the north There is another wadi nearby and we will follow it instead. We are getting close to the mountains now and I think we will find water soon. Where there is water, there will be game animals too.

I remember the speech I made, by the fire to all our people: “I, Raj, will go, and I’ll take my sisters sons. We will go across in the boat that is too small for fishing. We can see distant hills where the monsoons rain, so there must be fresh water to drink and game animals. It is said that there are monsters there; some say they have seen campfires. I do not believe there are monsters there, we will go and see, if there are monsters there, we will kill and eat them!”

“Tomorrow, then, Amu and Jared will go with me. They are young men now, strong warriors and skilled hunters. We will see if this land is good for us. I have listened to the women, I know what they need in the land, I know we need better sea shores to gather shellfish and crabs, we need places to get fresh water to drink. I have listened to our men; I know they need game to hunt and new shores to fish. I have listened to our young men, they need new adventures, not wars with others of our people.”

“It is better that I go, for my wife is dead, my daughters are becoming women and will stay with my sister and learn the ways of women. I am wise in our ways, have the judgment of experience, and yet I am young enough to explore a new land and I am still a warrior! My sister’s sons are strong warriors too and not yet with wives, they need this adventure as much as I”.

Jared speaks now, for we are far enough away that they will not hear us,” Uncle, why do we flee from them? We can easily kill them and have their kill?” “Jared” I reply, “I am sure that we can overcome them because I do not think they have the bow and arrow. Did you see how puzzled they seemed to be by our arrows? We are here to scout out this land, to see if we can live here. If they are to be our enemies, then we must know how many of them there are to fight. If it is only a few, we can handle them, but if there are many, they may overrun us. I do not think it wise for three of us to start a war in a strange land when there may be many to come against us.”

Amu seldom speaks, but in this, he did “ Uncle is right, let them go home and tell others of their kind of our great weapons, then they will fear us. Surely their story will make us seem mighty and to be feared.”

This then, is the beginning of the story of our new adventures on the eastern shore of the Red Sea. We found the camp of the almost-people; people we now call the Others, and indeed they are few in number. They seem to stay in the mountains, seldom venturing to the seashore; they may be the monsters of our stories but we have little to fear from them. We will avoid them for we prefer a life along the seashore, gathering shellfish and fishing. We hunt inland for larger game but I think we can live peacefully with the Others.

When we returned to our home on the African shore, we talked much of this new land and it was decided. Four families will cross The Gates of Grief with me to the new land. Two of the young men from our tribe plan to take wives soon from another tribe up the coast and they will join us soon. My own pretty daughters hope to marry and perhaps will join us too. It will be a small band, but I think we can hold this new land.

I am old now; my eyes grow dim, but I remember those days well! For many years we have wandered the seashores, ever westward; we still do. Over the years others of our kind joined us and my daughters came with their new husbands. Life is good, the sun is warm, and we have plenty to eat. Our young men seek new adventures, ever westward, so we move on. Sometimes, a few stay in a favored location, but most of us want to see what’s down the shore, around the bend.


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