Year 3 Day 74

These people age.

Stormy skyI know it, but I keep forgetting it. Animals age. My people don’t, but these People who have come to be so important to me age and die of that aging.

I knew Storm Cloud was old – her teeth are worn to stumps, her skin is wrinkled, and she moves with increasing difficulty, but somehow I didn’t realize she might be approaching her end. Until now.

Something has gone wrong in her brain, probably a blocked blood vessel. Her speech has become labored and slurred, and she cannot seem to move her left side. Songbird was sure I could help, but this is something quite different from setting a broken bone or fighting infection. I am no Healer, and I think even a Healer might not be able to help her beyond clearing the blockage.

There is no way she can continue to travel. Her clan recognizes that, and she and the rest of the shamans have already named her successor: one of her sons, Rain Cloud.

Even in this last illness she takes thought for her clan. Songbird, though still a child to me, has become a woman by their reckoning, and has a definite partiality for Giraffe, of Dust Devil’s group. He’s a few years older than she is, but a good lad, from what I can see, and fond of her. Storm Cloud has arranged with Dust Devil that Giraffe (who promises to live up to his namesake in height) will travel next year with Rain Cloud’s group.

I don’t think Storm Cloud expects to live until they leave.