By Nancy Cole Silverman
Read by Shawn Robertson
For generations my people lived in Mesa Verde inside the deep caves beneath sedimentary rock overhangs, thousands of feet above the canyon floor, where we farmed the land, hunted only what we needed to eat, and survived the others. Down the red stone canyon, in more caves another flute softly echoes. A medley gently floats between our villages as we sit huddled together, the women, so close, I can feel their skin next to mine, and their warm breath upon my shoulders. Behind us, the men stand bare-chested with their long, black hair pulled away from their flat, chiseled faces, and together we watch as one of the elders points to stars in the sky. He tells us our people arrived from the heavens, many light years ago, then outlines the image of Kokopelli, the humpbacked flute player, our god of fertility and life-giving water, and we listen as he tells us the story of our exodus. Of how we followed the sounds of Kokopelli’s harmonic flute, escaping the marauding, bloodthirsty assassins, the others, who we fear have followed us from Chaco Canyon to our home here beneath the mesa. Tonight we pray that Kokopelli will come again and guide us to safety.