TALE OF TWO PEOPLE ~
Hills have a strange way of talking to Goats. They tell them things only they hear and understand. ‘Climb, climb,’ they seem to say. ‘This rock, that, there,’ they urge. Watching these Goats play on their ancient ancestral rocks tells a story of a people and their land, a land they lost and still own. Jumping, leaping and running, the Goats wander the hills; always covered in early green grass, tender and short on the sparsely set grown rocky hills of the vast plateau’s plains.
All ridges, hills, and mountains must have grown out of their surrounding grounds because their summits carry the distinct texture of the soil top of the ground beneath them. The hills retain every bit of the texture that makes up the grounds they stand upon. It is here these Goats are found, right where their ancestors’ modesty had bred life into them with all that makes them of the place. Their ancient history is as old as the rocks, the hills and on the very rich, fertile, high cold plateau.
So many times over, it felt like the Goats have exiled themselves from the rest of the plateau beneath the hills, they had been ouster by their very own de facto consciousness. They remained sheltered, hiding and breeding on the hills. Even though they do roam down the hills from time to time, they only do so to luxuriously eat and drink off the vast plains below.
They move together more like a family than a herd and in the same close oneness they stroll to the streams, taking time along with them. As natural epicures they eat the longer grasses that came with the heavier rains and bask in the shimmering moist warmth of the mirage on the bare grounds that briefly symbolizes the shorter windless dry seasons.
The seasons dissuade them from being too comfortable as they blurt out their muted consent. When they return shortly after, they return with time and it is like they never left as briefly as they did, without the spot of blame they always show when momentarily venturing away. It feels wrong to them because cautioned by their conscience, they are wary to take fewer risks than they could. For even the radicals are also conservative in the sense that in their indignation to query the status quo, they still seek to maintain their natural lively agitation for change.
Such is the Goats’ timeless romance with the rocks, the hills and the rich, high, cold, beautiful plateau that is indeed their true home, for the death of culture literally executes origins.
Do Goats know God? Did they inherit the concept of some divine entity that created and maintains their entire being, its constituents and its entire sustaining environment? Did they know of faith and it’s withal to humbling and sanctioning indecencies? They worship the skies, its clouds that pour rain and its dew’s foggy mists which hide their hills at twilights. They worship the sun when it shines and lazily spread their brown oily shiny hides in its light and warmth. They worship the moon on full night as it appears close, watching over them as they play in its glow, under a warm humid night sky.
They worship the rocks that house them in its damp gaps’, in shades of various breath taking formations; rock formations that were weathered by their myths and stories. Time ensured the Goats explained answers to every creation with a story, such that they have a story for every shape and its set position too. They worship a world they are confident is theirs; set aside by the force that make it all happen. Such is their faith and their God. But keeping to a way of life is easy. Decisions made long ago are easily copied and applied to solve today’s challenges as soon as they are interpreted to suit older ones.
But solutions do not fit into every similar situation. Custom and culture is simply courageously inherited, natural to all and not the cumbersome and complex livelihood it forms. They sought and sort, they ate and wait, they met and mate, they help and slept. Their stark life is as ancestral as the hills, yet new as the grass and their young kids playing the same old games their fore-fathers played on the same old rocks. Their languages share the same tendency to be inviolable as does their relationship with their land, which seemly nourish their very ripe crimson blood with reason and purpose.
Morality is established with natural norms inherited and life lived with all its simple ramifications; which in contrast are simple and harsh, sweet and bitter, clear and hidden, living and dead. The same mothers, sisters, brothers and fathers become mothers, sisters, brothers and fathers, reverting over and over again. Their need for their old ways hedged them in and made them defiant to change, full of pointless bravado. Their adapted bigotry had imprisoned them, making them less competitive and only as reasonable as their grudged needs allow them to be.
Only the winds carry the stench of one hill’s community across to another community. This is not often the case, but sometimes. This is because a renegade could incite or a mate would disapprove of a perceived injustice. The reason might be a pathway to the stream was breached or food forcibly taken away from its rightful owners.
Then the difference is sought or fought out till found. A solution made workable by all means. Then the current victors will flourish as their vanquished nourish them. Such were the rare and simple battles on the plateau. They were, though fatal but almost novelty in nature as revealed by the swift reconciliations and prompt re-cooperation that follows them every single time.
The oneness of their common and uncommon dialects aids this timeless escapade. It is mysteriously clear in their desire for a broad based peaceful existence, whatever the reasonable human circumstantial cost may be to them.
They didn’t have to face that possibility in their comparatively young modernized literacy; they merely had a generous amount of compassion to spare. This was so evident when their ego driven growth and necessitated development became so one-sided that it became an insolvent problem. They misunderstood change to be made up of an identity, with a visage they couldn’t scrutinize.
Then time went away on one of its numerous trips and returned with the Sheep from nowhere. Why the sheep came with time, at that time, was not hard to tell at first because of the Sheep’s apparent civility and common simplicity. Cotton white the Sheep appeared, coming from northern sandy plains far away. Yet they reveal to be more of creamy coloured sponges at close sight, soaking up their different surroundings of current abode and still not changing. They friendly took residence on the plains and were allowed to go about their ways with such ease. They sheltered in the shades of the hills and lived under the few trees, staying outside the Goats’ homely cacti fences.
The Sheep have always led a squatter’s lifestyle by their faithful orientation; it wasn’t visible as their trip is paused, not by their needs for necessities but by their initially hidden desire to dominate. Disguised as a lone caravan, trading and well journeyed, they were accepted in good faith. They are indeed well traveled and they did actually trade. The Sheep established a life of their kind in pockets around the rocky hills and bred and fed and stayed and remained. Everyone has a home of origin. Some place, somewhere they began; where they fell and had hit the ground from where ever they believe they dropped or emerged, or simply had faith they came from.
Everyone has a place they name as theirs. The Goats point at the plateau with the boastful ease and claim that they own it and run it as they stand on it. The Sheep also started to point at it as theirs too, with a legal shield but not the same historical ease. They show that they acquired it and will run it as they stand on it too. The Goats had borne their continuous indigenous identity without the regret most thought they should have for letting the Sheep stay. The dominance of any people is allowed. Growth flourishes in a hospitable setting and the Sheep developed.
Comfort dried in lazy sunlight as the rains park their clouds away on the rocky hills daily. The choices of the Goats had been made in an era that harmlessly allowed it. Literacy comes with harsh discernment and this can subsequently hurt the knowledgeable candidate. It makes favour cruel, good food poisonous and culture archaically crude in its established nature. The Goats grew knowledgeable and realized the Sheep had remained and over stayed. The Sheep are of a well known sacred order which was established so vastly in all the far northern lands under economic, cultural and military duress.
The Sheep are religious nomads, robed in an external purity which has been forcibly trusted all over the region as in the ancient deserts it originates from. Sheep is a dumb animal and this is essential in faith. They are a kind that don’t question faith but accept it; root, trunk, thorns, branches, leaves and buds. It made them the most selfless faithful converts ever. Faith and religion prospers thus, unflinching, steady and sure. These stupidities of illiterate disciplines feed a course and develop it to an enviable height; the Goats lacked this. Unlike the Sheep, the Goats did not venture out or seek change. They only sort their community based on the immediate clan and endlessly they stay hidden in their rocks, on this high cold plateau.
Then change found the Goats out, unschooled and unready to accommodate it, just like pressure and its steady alteration of all elements outside a fixed state sucks out the fixed state and inevitably scatter its particles. They were doomed for lacking that unconscious absorption of knowledge and ideas through continual exposure rather than deliberate learning. They know they must change their ways or only their relics will be scraped off these rocky hills as fossils. Then the Sheep will be pointed as indigenous and sought for their tenaciously gotten self worth.
There is no changing a past but there is shaping the revealing future. The past can not physically hurt anyone now, but the present can and does. The present has physically brought its pilgrims along to do the job for it with the legal right they have; change has always had unusual catalysts. Patient in their stupid poise, crafty in making the smallest meal last; re-chewing their cod, the Sheep are settled and had become old on the land, with rights that can’t be given, or taken again. To Goats and Sheep alike, home is common and none can move even if they wished. Their world doesn’t need reminding and none argues their origins or their current loud ownerships, and not tenant-ships.
Yet the debates and fights for dominance would grow and would not abate. It is now a huge carnivorous integral monster, firing up their rage poised state with fear, hate and greed. The beneficiaries of this legacy will not enjoy it too and such will be the tale of both these beleaguered two people. The world thrives on relationships; urging, courting, pushing, pulling and coaxing. Wealth, health and peace spell dominance and are the faces of this war. It is here, where it matters that it is being lost. Right about now, both the Sheep’s and Goats’ future are poised to literally make Esé ewu (Goat-Head peppered soup) and Balango (Barbecued Sheep meat) with each other, respectively. And it has just only begun for a long time yet.
Up on the plateau it reigned,
Its own old clans so formed.
Hidden on the height’s plain,
Living in plenty’s much rain.
They welcome guests well,
As prosperous strangers tell.
Soon dominance is so evident
And for the sold they want rent.
Wherever time is so kept,
Such a place has it since left.
Two is never again one unless
One is expunged and no less.
Identity established so firm,
Fights a war not for its farm.
Bullying its co-farmers’ yield
With a poised spear and shield.