BOX OF BONES
by Toni Kief
They dig, scrape and brush with hushed anticipation, they have no idea who this man was. To the team this is one of many skeletons and they can’t conceive the significance of the man the bones once supported. They know the remains are old, and they decipher a few of his injuries, but are unable to imagine his story. They work with ultimate care because a single wrong ed the earth and hunted for meat with the others.
hey need to stop guessing and generalizing long enough to hear his story whispered on the breeze. In the shine of each eye, gazing at this box of bones, is the story of his mother. She who bore him on her back, following his father and his father’s father tracking herds further north. In the everyday struggle the family couldn’t comprehend that they were creators, and he, the beginning of a new race. The experts will guess at a simple life shared and th food eaten, but miss the brilliance of the ancestors who adapted and changed to survive. There will be papers written and interviews given about the bones and the possible causes of his demise. Then he will be forgotten, again.
The Academics will never understand the labor that bound them together in an unbreakable communication of loyalty and love. His tribe all worked into the exhausted night, to rest and work again with every sun. Each member within the small community was respected and important, for the bloodline to live on. The experts cannot know their life was more than the struggle for shelter and sustenance. When there was warmth and enough food there would be stories, laughter and on a few special nights, music.
Only his departed spirit recalls his mother’s tears at his birth. Alarmed at his pallor, she was afraid he would die. She was wrong, he proved to be strong and thrived. The scientists will never discover that he is the first to capture the color of the sky that could change to the cold stare of a glacier sparkling from his eyes. As the scholars poke at his remains, looking for lost DNA, they are unaware of his position as the father of many of their fathers. Their science is too limited to appreciate the first of a race that will prosper and invade every corner of this earth. Every blue eye gazing into this box of bones sees with his eyes, every pale hand calls him father. His bones stayed hidden for more millennia than they can accurately count. That single day he released his bones to them as an honor to his children’s children. They will continue to search for a first mother, unaware that they keep a first father in a box stored in a museum basement. The decomposition is nearly complete as we try to remember his name.