The sun rises as the early birds chirp the morning’s arrival to pull me out of my slumber. The night had been short. I throw some rocks, but my effort to snooze is futile.
“ One day. “ I think.
My legs ache from the labour and hoarding. Winter is at our door step, and the cold is unforgiving. Any resource saved at this point becomes a matter of life or death.
I step outside to cogitate the days ahead. Most of the clan is sound asleep, at peace. They know tough times are coming, but their trust in me as their leader casts no doubt in their minds that everything will be okay.
I am terrified, however. The weight of the world rests on my shoulders now, and every move counts. Many relatives died a few winters back after a dry summer had left the reserves empty. The experience changed the clan forever and made me leader by default at an unsually young age.
The lush paradise of nourishment and fertility awaiting the survivors the following summer was unheard of in our elder’s mythology. Feasts and excess in honor of the departed ensued, we were all in a trance nobody could help it, but as the days got a shorter a collective reminder of the last winter’s horrific incidents snapped us into consciousness and made it clear protective measures were necessary.
The fear had been unusual, it was different than the distress at the immediate sight of a predator or the despair after the unexpected loss of a relative. The voice of wisdom came from a far away world to prepare us against an enemy we expected, yet could not quite protect us from the unpredictable.
I was the first leader to ever hold such insight, and the burden felt heavy.