The Still Watchers. What majestic creatures they are. But not creatures so much, at least not in the sense humans are capable of understanding. For you see, they are gods… observers whose every gaze is omnifold and whose individual lives are countless and ageless… gods unlike any we have ever imagined before. One such deity of awesome might stands powerfully near the shore and casts its contemplative stare across the land and water with equal scrutiny. Its dominion stretches across the vastness of space and beyond, and from before time until after time.
When one sets eyes upon the ancient soul, one is filled with a sense of wonder. “How many centuries have you stood there?” one wishes to ask, yet one would be foolish to think gods obligated to mortal curiosity. They are not. One need only ponder the existence of such spirits to realize how little is known… how little can be known.
Sculpted by wind and rain and time only insofar as it desires to be sculpted, it stands near the perimeter of the lake, its skin cracked with age, its limbs bent and reaching for that which cannot be seen by human eyes. It is shaped like a soul if one can even visualize what such a thing might look like.
Waiting silently in a shell hewn by its will from the substance of the universe, the Still Watcher stands beckoning with a soundless voice for life to dance before its hungry eyes. Party to a heritage beyond any physical limits or considerations, it’s companion to all, greeting with branches held in open welcome. Immovable unless it so chooses, all inhabitants of this sphere stand small before its essence.
It lives there where it has stood for centuries, known to the original inhabitants of the land before ships sailed over the eastern horizon to make landfall in a new world. Bending and flowing with the seasons, dancing among the elements, it begs neither for worship nor sacrifice. All it wishes is to know, to learn, to watch. Question the methodology if you must since one cannot help but be surprised that gods want to observe. The reasons lie beyond corporeal wisdom. Nevertheless, were one to guess, it seems almost within humanity’s grasp to see the value in experience over raw knowledge. Yet even that is foolish conjecture.
Rejuvenated year after year, its effortless endurance in the face of nature’s fury is testament to more than can be known. Mindful and serene in all things, the Still Watcher lives on even as life rises and falls in its shadow. To taste such wisdom but once… To feel such potency of mind in even the briefest of ways…
“Be silent or be gone,” its leaves whispered through a gentle breeze.
The young Kä’dohädä’cho warrior sheepishly replied, “Forgive me, Ayimat Caddi. I meant no disrespect.”
“Be silent, Bin’-tah,” it said vehemently as limbs rattled above his head, “for I ask but one simple gift of you in trade for my company and protection: tranquility.”
A brief smile crossed his painted face as he looked up from his perch against the ancient soul’s trunk, its breathing a low murmur echoed on the wind and felt in the ground. He nodded slightly in acquiescence before lowering his gaze once again to the bow resting on his crossed legs. He had not meant to upset the Great Spirit when he spoke, and he felt a tinge of shame at the interruption he obviously had caused. His people felt blessed by Ayimat Caddi, the god of creation who dwelled in the trees and silently provided all they needed. The Caddo tribes knew much about the spirits of the forest, yet they came to understand this one tree better than the rest. The Great Spirit dwelled in nature’s many manifestations, but it spoke to them most often from a single tree hidden within vast woodlands. Bin’-tah had befriended it as a child and he swore to Ayimat Caddi that he would never reveal their conversations.
His embarrassment flushed into his face as he wondered if he would ever have the opportunity to ask the question burning his lips. For many years he had visited that spot, sat beneath the growing tree, and dwelled in harmony with a being of such great power that it could be felt long distances away. Throughout their long-lasting communion, Bin’-tah always had referred to the tree as Ayimat Caddi, the Great Spirit and one true god above all the others who inhabited the heavens and the world. Despite his respect and reverence, the tree had told him many times that he should not call it by that name for it described a being other than itself. Nevertheless, he had seen on a few occasions the great power held by the tree and could think of no other god capable of wielding omnipotent control of the earth. If it was not Ayimat Caddi, the warrior did not comprehend what else it could be. As his eyes wandered the ground upon which he sat, he wondered why a spirit as old as time seemed to have no patience for his bumbling human ways despite the investment of time it had already given him.
“Young one, you misunderstand me.”
The response frightened him for he had not spoken aloud his thoughts. He leaned back and looked up into the reaching arms of a timeless behemoth. Wisdom fell from it like leaves in autumn winds, and he would be foolish to ignore its counsel. “Pray continue, kind tree.”
“It need not be said for one as old as I to hear. We are Still Watchers, observers of life and shepherds of history, and we are the possessors of stories lost with those who came before. You do not understand for your fledgling race is as yet too youthful for such enlightenment. Ancient long before your world came into being, you cannot hope to contain that which we contain, at least not yet. In time, you will grow. With your progeny generations removed from this moment, perhaps we will share life’s secrets. But not now.”
[these are random tidbits from End of the Warm Season; although the manuscript is still infantile as my focus remains intently fixed on Dreamdarkers, these two stream-of-consciousness brain dumps happened a month or two ago; I’ve not cleaned it up at all and know they need a lot of work]