How Ana Came to the Land

written by Genevieve Stoyak

Long ago, before we came to this land, before the First People came to this land, before this land even was, there was the Great Mother Water and the Great Father Fire. And when they kissed, all life began.

The Land grew green and beautiful. The fiery Sun shone warmly, and the Water flowed freely, and the Land and sky and sea were filled with every kind of plant and tree and animal and bird and fish. And the First People came to this happy place and settled here.

But one day the wind grew cold, and the next day colder still, and colder each day until the trees began to die and the animals went away. Father Sun seemed weak and far away. Mother Water began to freeze and could only move very slowly. Ice and snow covered the land, and the People were cold and hungry.

Father Sun and Mother Water were sad for their children, the People and the Land. They had too little strength to make the Land warm and green again, but they reached for each other, straining to meet in one more kiss.

The Water gathered herself and poured herself upward from the depths of the Land, and breached the ice and greeted the Sun above, and the Sun shone warm and sparkled on her surface. And they brought forth a daughter, whom they called Ana, the child of their great Love.

Ana stood upon the Land and her heart was filled with sorrow for the snowy Land and the People shivering in the cold. "Oh, Mother, oh, Father," she cried, "the trees have died, the animals have no food, and the people have been driven away by the cold. What can I do to restore life to the Land?"

Her Father the Sun shone brightly, and his rays melted the ice a bit, revealing a sharp shell. He said, "Daughter, you must take this shell and go to the Great Tree, growing at the place of the First Union. The Great Tree holds all the power of that moment of creation. There alone is the power of life still abundant. You must tap the Tree and release that power into the Land."

Ana took the shell and said, "Mother, will you take me to the Great Tree as you flow through the Land?"

But Great Mother Water said, "The power of the Tree is very great and dangerous. It would surely overcome should you try to release it."

Ana gathered her courage and said, "Mother, I must do this for the life of the Land, and for the People and the other children of the Land. If I do not release this power, I know that they will all die. My life is a small thing to give that they may live and be happy once more."

So the Water took Ana in her arms and they flowed beneath the Land. Together they flowed, moving swiftly beneath ice and snow. As one they flowed, through crevices deep in the earth.

Ana was one with the Great Water and at last she watered the roots of the Great Tree. Ana followed them up, up, up to the surface of the Land, where she beheld a wondrous site. The Great Tree rose above her, branches reaching far up into the sky. Golden leaves whispered in the breeze, welcoming Ana, and the Tree's roots spread wide around the trunk. As far as the roots spread, there was no snow, no ice, and the earth was warm and fragrant, and as Ana stood upon it she could feel the Power of the Tree humming beneath her feet and reaching up into her body.

Ana was afraid, for the Power was so great, but she looked beyond the boundaries of the Great Tree and saw again the snow and ice, so she raised the sharp shell high and thrust it against the trunk to slash the bark.

Immediately a torrent of sap flowed forth with such force that it swept Ana away. Like flowing gold, like flowing sun it flooded the Land, sweeping through the trees and pouring in the Water, and Water and sap mingled and the deluge swelled so it seemed it would destroy all in its path!

Ana tumbled helplessly in the water, but she knew she could become one with the Great Water once more. And so she felt herself flow into the flood, merging herself with its mighty life-giving energy, and she calmed and gentled the wild flood.

Then the waters began to flow as Ana willed, and Ana and the Water poured into a channel they made for themselves in the soft earth. And Ana called to all the little springs and rivulets to join her, and she spread her waters throughout the Land, watering the newly growing trees and plants, offering herself to the animals to come and drink, and creating at last a peaceful River for the People to come and dwell beside.

All who drank of her water flowed with her spirit, and all were united as children of the River as well as the Land. The otter, beaver, and muskrat, the ducks and geese, they came to dwell in Ana's waters. And the People loved Ana and lived long by her River.

But one day they went away, and other people came and went, people who had forgotten Ana's gift of life and did know that Ana was their Mother. They built bridges across her and factories and highways beside her, and they poisoned the Land and the River. They made Ana angry and sad, but still she loved them.

At last some people came to the River who listened to Ana and felt her love. They spoke to her and offered her gifts, and honored her as their Mother. And these children she honored in return, and told them the story of how She came to the Land, so that it would never be forgotten.

Rob Henderson, SLG Webmaster

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