Discovery (from Time Is A River)
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Discovery (from Time Is A River)

Willow stood on the white sandy beach scanning the eastern horizon. He looked down and scuffed his barefoot in the sand. He wasn’t wearing his usual gear. In fact, he stood naked under the Caribbean stars and wore only a few ornaments including the amulet he called Blue. - He had also adopted the local hairstyle and painted his face red with the pigment from the local achiote dye. He placed his right hand over his brow again and scanned the horizon once more just as he had done for over a month now calculating this with the passage of the moon. He was getting impatient. It was the fall of 1492 according to his stick calendar, still the three ships had not appeared. There was something terribly wrong with this, or something terribly good.

It would be this encounter that would forever change life in what would become “the Americas”. He came to these islands months ago wanting to be at this critical moment in history, the beginning of the end. The beginning of an exchange that would not only kill millions of his own people, but begin the dispersal of native plants and herbs out to the rest of the world and the transfer of gold and silver to Europe which brought untold wealth and power to these people that he called the “Euros”.

It had taken months for Willow to arrive here. He had started this journey, this whim, in the south of Florida in the early 2000s. He stopped at times and worked on his tan so that he would fit in with the world of people more exposed to the sun and the sea. He started growing his hair a little longer. Sometimes, he stopped for days just to have a grounding time, time to rest, time to feel. Then he slowly began to slip into the past, moving backwards on a daily basis. Acclimating, he called it. It was a process that he developed for most long-term movements forward or back. First leaping days, then weeks and months and finally decades into an unknown and former world. Near the end of this leaping of these great gaps of time, he slowed again to months and weeks and days. He sped just past October of 1492, found a wrecked canoe on a beach and washed himself ashore onto the island of interest, where the locals found him and took him in as a victim of the hurricanes that were in season. He knew little of the language and pretended to be dumb, speaking nothing and slowly picking up remnants of the language. The children took him into their charge and began to teach him the ways and words of these people. The children also fed him and led him around by the hand as if he were an empty vessel that must be filled.

“Cay”, they would say and point to the ground and then sweep their arms around to indicate this world, their only world. Inside the walls of the village they would make the same gesture for “Batey”, the village. They would point at [End Page 61] the big rectangular structures and say, “Caneyes”, the home of the chief. Willow had already learned some of these words as he prepared to come here. Listening to the children was different because they spoke with the accent of their people and made the language more real and absolute. He would smile at them and make a thumbs-up gesture and nod his head trying to indicate that he understood. They began to call him, “Buya”, Good Spirit. He returned the gesture and called them, “Dudes”.

Willow did not know the exact date of the historic moment to come, or if this cay, was the correct location. October 12th, 1492, meant nothing to these Taino. He was on his own out here living in the moment and entirely from the perspective of these people. He had no paper to write on, no pen, no pencil, and no devices to keep track of time. He just knew that it was coming. Columbus had logged that...