Year 4 Day 64

date palm, MorguefileI think last year the gather was longer than usual, because of Storm Cloud’s illness and possibly because of my presence. This year I can see more clearly why they have these meetings, and that not all the scattered bands come. Two are here for the first time in several years, one sent word they were not coming, and three simply did not show up.

Mostly, the business of the gather is arranging matings, formalizing them, and recognizing and welcoming children born since the last gather. Beyond that, it seems a time for meeting old friends, exchanging information, and just plain partying.

Did I mention that they have discovered that certain half-rotted fruits affect them rather strongly? They don’t seem to affect me, and I don’t even care for the taste. Some of the young men, in particular, can get downright wild and irresponsible when indulging. I was pleased to observe that Giraffe was not among them.

I am getting quite spoiled by the cooked food they bring me, and I am doing my best to make returns by presenting them with things they have difficulty in procuring for themselves. Salt and obsidian, I have found, are always welcome, as are foodstuffs from the jungle to the north. I have found a kind of tree in desert oases that produces a fruit even sweeter than figs, and these fruits, dried, last for months. The children love them. The men are adding water and trying to ferment them.

Songbird is quite definitely expecting. Strange — I almost feel like a grandfather-to-be. I hope the birth is not difficult for her, as some seem to be for these people. I suspect their heads have enlarged faster than their hips have broadened. The women of my people broaden far more in the hips when they are fertile, but only then. Songbird would have a hard time keeping up with her band if he hips had broadened enough to have a child easily.

This is part of the Journal of Jarn, a fictional human-like alien stranded in Africa 125,000 years ago, when the climate was much like today’s. As I complete each week’s episode, I add it to my author site. I apologize for the trimmed fronds on the date palm in the photograph. The ones Jarn found would obviously have been much shaggier, and the wild dates were probably smaller.

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