Thought I’d finish off the Desert Rain stuff with a new voice. In the story, Carol goes to central Australia, into the desert to work with a writer – an old Aboriginal woman called Abigail – on her book of Dreaming stories that Carol has been editing. The heat and dryness overwhelm Carol the first time she visits Abigail and Abigail tells her this ‘women’s issue’ story, as she calls it:
Wigipindari, the oldest woman of the tribe, went to the watering hole to wash. She was old, old like the land. Her skin was like a crocodile, leathery and cracked. It took her long time to get there, her old legs were slow and tired. As she made her way, Gulparwari the lizard, slithered alongside her. Gulparwari was beautiful, the most beautiful creature on the earth. She was a lizard, smooth and young. Sometimes she looked like a rock in the river and sometimes she looked like a rainbow.
All the animals on the earth wanted to be near Gulparwari, just to feel her radiance. Sometimes she got sick of never being anywhere but with big mobs all the time. Sometimes she wished that the other animals might like her for her thoughts as well as her skin. As she slithered along next to that old woman, she stared with big eyes, looking at her wrinkled skin and her white hair. She saw how the others in the tribe nodded at her as she left and paid their respect to that old woman.
Gulparwari wished that she might experience that too. When the old woman got to the watering hole she felt very tired and laid down to rest for a while. Gulparwari felt very brave and slithered right across Wigipindari’s dry hand. Maman chose that moment to take that old woman to that big water hole. He was in a good mood that day and decided that Gulparwari would have Wigipindari’s skin. Gulparwari couldn’t believe it! Her smooth skin turned wrinkly and old and leathery! As she slithered through the bush, no-one paid her any mind at all! She’d never felt so free. Soon other animals were stopping to ask her for advice. Gulparwari cried with joy.
(NB – Maman = Creator/God)
©Simonne Michelle 2006