The Canyon People

By popular demand, here is an introductory teaser for the coming novella story “The Canyon People.”

The Canyon People are not a proud people. They know not the meaning of the word ‘proud.’ Proud does not exist in their language. That is not to say their civilization entailed nothing to be proud of. No, the opposite would be claimed by any other civilization looking in upon it. In truth, just such comments could be heard spoken of the Canyon People by the Field Giants just beyond the canyon themselves.
Their religion revolved around the idea that one live only with nature and not just in nature. This meant Canyon People did not permit living outside their means. Nor did their culture allow for cultivating the land in manners inconsistent with preservation of the land they lived on and the nature they lived beside. They lived up and down the river that cut the canyon. Taking refuge in the crevices and caves caused by a millennia of water erosion, Canyon People take advantage of their surroundings for safety, shelter from the elements, and food.
During the wet monsoon season, which was usually short, Canyon People would collect just enough fish and vegetation from the rushing waters just below their cave homes to feed themselves and their families. They never stored food. They never overate.
When the long dry seasons came to pass, Canyon People scaled the walls to the canyon basin in search of usable debris. Through complex systems of rope and pulley systems handed down over countless generations, the basin workers as they were called, heaved up sticks and logs for beams, supports, and furniture making. They filled buckets carved out of Juniper trees to lift moist clay into their cities for renovating the caves they lived in and the stairs they fashioned the year before last. Even animals unfortunate enough to be swept downstream by the powerful currents of the temporary river were harvested and utilized for their skins and furs. Not infrequently, these plentiful basins produced more than the Canyon People found necessary for survival. All excess materials they gathered were offered to the Field Giants they lived in harmony with just outside the canyon and over a mountain range.
They lived within naturally created crevices and small caves in the walls of the canyon.The Canyon People never dug into the canyon walls for their own benefit. The walls, created by the water gods of the past, were considered highly sacred. If the gods chose the cave sizes and shapes they did, the gods had their reasons. Canyon People respected their creations. Instead, caves and crevices were cherry picked. Once chosen, material could only be added to the caves in the way of flooring, and only in modest amounts decided by Canyon People Intellectuals.
All this began to end in the year before the year known as ‘the Great Rains.’

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