They gave her the name Violet Pushing up through the Snow in the Spring, and she gave them hope.
The year she was born, their group had been pushed north from their winter lands early. A new group had moved in and did not want to share the Abundance. Her people spent that spring on the shore of Lake of the Clouds, so that’s where she was born.
The group also gave her the maiden name Tsewtini, for the sound of the song of the red chief birds who gathered around their camp and sang to them after her birth. And because she would always stand out, like the red bird in the snow.
It had been a long march north, trudging through the snows for nearly two moon cycles, and her mother had had a hard birth. Tsewtini was born coming out the wrong way, and her people rejoiced. They knew she would be able to see what they could not see because she would be always looking inward. The backwards children always faced a different direction, inward, to the Inner World. Her people knew that, while they must of course focus on the outer world of shelter, food, and protection, so the clan would survive, she would be different. She would always be looking inward, so the group could thrive. She could show them what they could not see, and take them where they had never gone before.
These days, the seasons were changing and other groups were becoming afraid. Where once most groups would be content to take their share of the patches of tubers, roots, berries, flowers, and leaves, and leave the rest, now these patches were being harvested without regard for the Balance, without consideration for the next group to come, or the next year’s harvest.
Tsewtini’s people came upon patch after patch ransacked, dying. All the roots were torn out and all the flowers harvested before they could make seeds. The patches would not grow back next year. And next year, it would mean famine. It broke the balance of “take what you need, cultivate for more abundance next year, and leave the rest.” That’s how all the groups in their watershed had done it for countless generations. That’s why they all survived for countless generations. A little hunger sometimes doesn’t hurt anyone. They could always expect that. It made them healthier. It made them strong.
But next year, it would be different. It wouldn’t be hunger next year. It would be starvation. Without the patches of Abundance maintained and cultivated by each new group who took their share each year, next year, there would be less, or nothing. It will mean months with little or no food for anyone, that was what these aberrant groups were doing. And Tsewtini’s elders feared greatly for their people. But that would be next year.
And Violet Pushing up through the Snow in the Spring was their hope. She would see the Path through the winter that no one else in their group could see. The Landscape they knew was changing, and she would be the one who would find new paths so the clan would survive.
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