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Mother Earth, Father Sky by Sue Harrison {Excerpt}

Mother Earth, Father Sky by Sue Harrison {Excerpt}

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Published by OpenRoadMedia
A young woman fights for survival amid the brutality of the last Ice Age

It’s 7056 BC, a time before history. On the first day that Chagak’s womanhood is acknowledged within her Aleut tribe, she unexpectedly finds herself betrothed to Seal Stalker, the most promising young hunter in the village. A bright future lies ahead of Chagak—but in one violent moment, she loses her entire way of life. Left with her infant brother, Pup, and only a birdskin parka for warmth, Chagak sets out across the icy waters on a quest for survival and revenge.
A young woman fights for survival amid the brutality of the last Ice Age

It’s 7056 BC, a time before history. On the first day that Chagak’s womanhood is acknowledged within her Aleut tribe, she unexpectedly finds herself betrothed to Seal Stalker, the most promising young hunter in the village. A bright future lies ahead of Chagak—but in one violent moment, she loses her entire way of life. Left with her infant brother, Pup, and only a birdskin parka for warmth, Chagak sets out across the icy waters on a quest for survival and revenge.

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Published by: OpenRoadMedia on May 21, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/09/2013

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!
 
Sue Harrison
MOTHER EARTH, FATHER SKY 
!
ONE
SIX DAYS. THE HUNTERS
had been
 
gone six days, and during that timethere had been a storm—rain and a roaring that seemed to come fromwithin the mountains, and waves that swept the beaches bare.Six days. Too long, Chagak thought. Too long, yet she sat on thelow mound of her father’s earthen ulaq and waited, watching the sea. Shesmoothed her hands over the dark feathers of her suk. Her mother hadgiven her the garment that morning to replace the hooded child’s parkaChagak had outgrown. The gift was a sign that Chagak was now woman, but she knew it was more than that. It was also her mother’s way of speaking to the spirits, a woman’s small voice that said, “You see, mydaughter wears a new suk. It is time to rejoice. Surely you will not sendsorrow to this village.”So Chagak spread her arms in the wind, a silent request for thespirits to see her, to notice the beautiful suk, for her mother had madeit carefully, using more than twenty birdskins, and the cormorantfeathers still held the rich smell of the oil used to soften the skins.“See me,” Chagak wanted to shout to the spirits, to the greatmountain Aka that watched over their village. “This girl is woman now.Surely, in her rejoicing you will bring our hunters back from the sea.Surely you will not let us become a village of women and children.”But only men were allowed to call to the spirits. So Chagak stretched outher arms but held back the words that pressed full and tight between her tongue and the roof of her mouth.A wind blew in from the sea, bringing the smell of fish and acoldness that made Chagak tuck her long hair into the suk’s high collar 
 
Sue Harrison
MOTHER EARTH, FATHER SKY 
!
rim. The suk hung past Chagak’s knees, so that when she squatted downit was long enough to touch the ground and keep her bare feet warm.She drew her hands up inside the sleeves and squinted at the gray-white line between sky and sea where the black dots of the hunters’ikyan would first come into sight.It was summer, but even in summer the skies were usually gray, theair thick and wet with moisture that rose from the sea. The wind that keptwinters warm—with rain coming as often as snow—also kept thesummers cold. And the wind blew forever; never, never stopped.Chagak opened her mouth and let the wind fill her cheeks. Did sheimagine it or was there the taste of sea lion in that mouthful of wind? Sheclosed her eyes and swallowed. Yes, some taste of sea lion, Chagak thought. And why would sea lions be here, this close to the First Men’sisland? Again she filled her mouth with the wind, again she tasted sealion. Yes, yes. And if she tasted sea lion, perhaps the hunters were coming,towing sea lions they had taken during their hunt. But Chagak did notcall her mother. Why raise hopes when perhaps it was only a trick of some spirit, making Chagak taste what was not there?Chagak watched the horizon, holding her eyes open wide, until thewind filled them with tears. She wiped the wetness from her cheeks withher sleeve, and as the softness of the cormorant feathers crossed her face,she saw the first ikyak, a thin black line on the white edge of the sea.Then another and another.Chagak called down through the square opening, both entrance andsmoke hole, that was cut through the sod roof and driftwood rafters of her father’s ulaq. “They come. They come.”As her mother emerged from the ulaq, other women climbed from thedark interiors of nearby ulas, the women blinking and shielding their eyesin the gray brightness of the day.

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Mary Cahill added this note
This is a remarkable book...you can lose yourself in it, and feel the cold, and their way of life..it's like living it yourself...
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