The Great Migration

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Traveling through vast interstellar space will never be as grand

as the mass migration through frozen Hell to reach a distant land.

 

Across a dried-up seabed, they came out of the west,

trudging toward a land of ice to face a harsher test.

 

One hundred times one hundred years and many more ago

shambled creatures dressed in furs through a land of ice and snow.

 

They didnít come in spaceships descending from the sky,

but it was still like an alien planet where they came to live and die.

 

Furs and fire gave them warmth, more than what they needed.

The ice and snow gave warnings that simply were not heeded.

 

The frozen land challenged them, dared them, and taunted them.

They advanced, those Grandchildren of the Tropics: nothing there daunted them.

 

Little more than animals themselves, they came with tools of stone,

with implements made of wood, of animal sinew, and bone.

 

Then the Ice Age ended and the snow began to melt.

Songs floated on the warming air for the joy that they all felt.

 

Wherever they came and set their feet became a sacred ground.

Lovingly they entwined their souls with the spirits that they found.

 

They came into the land and over centuries they changed it.

They found a howling wilderness and carefully rearranged it.

 

In a land of plenty offering gifts, they could not refuse them,

but in their haste to prosper they would carelessly misuse them.

 

They would make great mistakes and arrogantly would vaunt them.

Children of the mistakes came into the world to haunt them.

 

They had striven to create the better world for which everybody yearned.

From the children of their mistakes a better way they learned.

 

Painfully they learned how to avoid the greatest mistake.

Slowly they learned the value of giving more than they take.

 

They made love to the spirits of the land, always singing and dancing.

Everywhere their mocassins trod their actions were always life enhancing.

 

Building strength, they prized endurance over deprivation.

Building wisdom, they came to prize nurturance over exploitation.

 

In the land bequeathed to them a gentle civilization they founded.

And in that beautiful land thereafter happiness abounded.

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