Of Age and Innocence

Reading Time: 4 minutes

‘When did it happen, Ma?’ Rowley asked, and they all turned to hear the old woman.

‘A number will name the years, my son, but no mind can contain the time. The measure is too great. Some say five hundred years, and some say many more, but everyone accept the time as a long, long time ago.’
‘Will it happen again, Ma?’
‘Mercy is not yours nor mine to give, so it rnay happen again. Who knows? The sea can .be a wicked water, an’ lan’ is not reliable. But it happen before, a long time ago, as I choose to describe the time, the lan’ holdin’ us up this very moment, change places with the sea, an’ a total reckon’ take the livin’ o’ the time to a sad end. Scarcely a breath it spare, of animal or bird, on that dark day.

‘Twas a day with a face like today, they say, with the sky unkindly lookin’, an’ the water movin’ silent in a malice no man can watch. These same sands you tread now, my son, slip like ice, an’ the trees forsake their branches an’ the leaves run lawless through the air. They say the rain let itself loose an’ burst upon us like a harvest of thorns, an’ the poor lan’ cry till the tears that cover it like a lake of water, stretch in every direction to shake hands with the sea. The birds forget how to turn a tune, an’ the animals lose their tongues an’ had to die in a wonder at that harvest of water.’

‘You make it fearful to remember, Ma.’

‘Twas fearful before an’ after. When the sea climb every hill until it hide all recollection o’ the living, it settle quiet again into itself, and never stop swimmin’ with the evil confusion o’ corpses on top. Bone an’ branch in a large co¬mingling of tongues that couldn’t talk their way back to the mouth that house them, beaks from their birds, and all manner of heads took from the necks that once rescue them, eyes let loose an’ wanderin’ blind, an’ sockets takin’ water in unlawful possession of their emptiness, an’ the confusion o’ feathers joining their many, many colours with the colour o’ skin an’ skull an’ every manner of dead meat’.

Why did it happen, Ma?’

A secret, my son. Nature which is naked for us to see in grass an’ flowers livin’ an’ dyin’ before our very eyes, an’ the fruit fallin’ heavy an’ ready for our feedin’, that same nature hide a slyness on the inside. An’ I don’ know, an’ no man know the secret that surprise us on that day San Cristobal die in a total drownin’. But men make excuses an explanations, an’ you can buy many reasons which they write in their books, but there is no certainty of sayin’ in a matter so large with surprise. I believe it was the will o’ the Lord, an’ that is a complete reason, for His will can outlast every questio-i which try to corner it. An’ I believe in the matter ’bout our island that part o’ His will was a rememberin’ of all things, hew the) come under His care, an’ no only animals an’ birds an’ men who are so thoughtless, but the earth also which seldom refuse our feet travellin’ at all times an’ in every manner o’ speed across it. He remember that the earth need a rest an’ he put San Cristobal to rest for a while under the sea, so that when the sea withdraw an’ grant a view of the air attain, the resurrection would return a new supply for the needs o’ those who come after. An’ so it was. The islan’ that rise from the water on that Day o’ Deliverance which we come here to celebrate was renewed with riches. So that the water which take against your control and mine will in a time, no man an capture with his wish, return what it carry.

Why did it happen, Ma?’

A secret, my son. Nature which is naked for us to see in grass an’ flowers livin’ an’ dyin’ before our very eyes, an’ the fruit fallin’ heavy an’ ready for our feedin’, that same nature hide a slyness on the inside. An’ I don’ know, an’ no man know the secret that surprise us on that day San Cristobal die in a total drownin’. But men make excuses an explanations, an’ you can buy many reasons which they write in their books, but there is no certainty of sayin’ in a matter so large with surprise. I believe it was the will o’ the Lord, an’ that is a complete reason, for His will can outlast every questio-i which try to corner it. An’ I believe in the matter ’bout our island that part o’ His will was a rememberin’ of all things, hew the) come under His care, an’ no only animals an’ birds an’ men who are so thoughtless, but the earth also which seldom refuse our feet travellin’ at all times an’ in every manner o’ speed across it. He remember that the earth need a rest an’ he put San Cristobal to rest for a while under the sea, so that when the sea withdraw an’ grant a view of the air attain, the resurrection would return a new supply for the needs o’ those who come after. An’ so it was. The islan’ that rise from the water on that Day o’ Deliverance which we come here to celebrate was renewed with riches. So that the water which take against your control and mine will in a time, no man an capture with his wish, return what it carry.