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ISSUE:  Spring 1979
For Swift Eagle

Sunlight passes through the mountain as if the stone
were a prism. This is not a fancy of my own, not
something I imagine, even though I can close my eyes
and see the rays of sun in that shadowed land. This
is something the elders know about. Whispered to me
the other night, it was something I had known, just
as I recognized the description of the great maze of
Atlantis, the one the Aztecs copied, the design which
is that of the man in the canyons, the power of whirl-
wind in Pima baskets.

Sunlight is at the heart of it all. Sunlight is love.
Love is a sacrifice, especially when given to those
who do not understand, those who make their decisions
on the basis of surfaces. They cannot feel the sunlight
penetrating the granite of their skins.

Two days ago I was moving stones in the creek. A new
bridge had been made and boulders were pushed down
into the stream where I waded as a child. I pried
out one big stone and saw, there on the underside,
dozens of small round globules, each filled with
a tiny salamander nymph. Sightless, limbless, heads
barely defined, they squirmed within the albumen. They
had never seen the sun, yet had grown because of its
strength. I moved the stone carefully, propping it
so the eggs would not be crushed. Pale as moon they
were. Moon is the grandmother, the one who speaks
to us after we have been created by Sun’s warmth.

We talked late that night, talked of Sun and Moon, of
stories the old ones told and the ways to listen. If
you listen well enough you will hear the sunlight
bubbling up through the earth all the way from the
other side.


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