Tag Archive: Africa

Year 9 Day 46

Well, Songbird had her baby today.

I’m just as glad I was at the salt lake. Salt is still an eagerly accepted gift, and to my surprise the salt pebbles are very popular – perhaps because they can be carried so easily in skin bags.

Giraffe went out with a group of the men early this morning, as a small herd of gazelles had been reported not far away, and is not back yet. Luckily there are at least two experienced midwives here, though from what they will tell me, this birth went a lot easier than the first.

Songbird and her new baby, a girl they tell me, are still confined to the birthing hut. At least this time the moon is a late crescent, so new moon is only a few days away.

I’d better see what is upsetting Patches.


Thank goodness I responded to Patches’ vocalization and feeling of distress! Songbird’s birth pains had come quite quickly, and she had assumed that the women watching the children would continue to watch WildDog. They did not, and with the men away hunting, the little boy had wandered down to the shore of the lake. When I found Patches, she was trying to drag him away from a crocodile which he apparently wanted to approach! So Giraffe had quite a greeting when he returned with a gazelle quarter over his shoulder – news of a new daughter and a good deal of teasing that his son didn’t seem to know that a crocodile was dangerous. Most of the latter seemed to slide right off him; he was far to relieved to get the news of a new daughter. He may not know anything of biological paternity, but he is turning out to be a good father.

At least I should not be needed for the naming ceremony this time!

Jarn’s Journal is the fictional journal of an alien stranded in Africa some 125,000 years ago. The journal to date is available on my author site.

Year 9, Day 34

I don’t know why I even spent time wondering whether I should tell the People about the northern hunters. I’d asked Little Gnu about the spear tips.  I had Rainbow trying to tan fur and make me warm clothing. And I unthinkingly assumed that only those two knew?

I might as well have stood up at the most populated part of the Gather and announced everything I knew or had surmised about the hunters. It probably would have taken longer for word to get around. Everyone seemed to arrive knowing of my explorations. They may call themselves the People, but I have to say the Gossipers would be a better name!

Granted, it was fresh news to most of them, and the salt pebbles and stories of the salt lake were of far more interest than the northern hunters. The exception, of course, was Songbird, who was rather obviously pregnant again. The soft-tanned furs and my tales of skiing the mountain snowfields fascinated her.

“If you took me to watch the women preparing furs, I might be able to learn by watching them,” she said hopefully.

I looked at her protruding belly. “I can teleport you, yes,” I said. “But right now there are two of you, and I cannot teleport both of you together.” I wasn’t really sure, but I did not want to take the risk. “Besides, the season for the best furs is past. It is getting warmer, and the fur animals are beginning to shed their winter coats.”

“Winter coats?”

“Here we have rainy and dry seasons. In the far north, they have warm and cold seasons. In the cold seasons, the animals grow thick coats. When it becomes warm, they shed them. Right now there is shed hair caught on every twig. The skins would not make good furs.”

She thought a minute or so. “My child will be born soon, probably before we leave. How soon will it be cold again there?”

“The cycle of seasons – warm to cold to warm again – takes about as long as the time from gather to gather. So it will always be warming up there at the time of a gather here.”

She frowned and thought a little. “So the furs would be getting thick again when the new baby has teeth?  But before it can walk?”

I was stunned. The People simply did not think ahead that far. At least, the men did not.

Songbird looked at my face and giggled. “I am a woman,” she informed me loftily. “We must think ahead, for our children. So can you take me to see the snow and these northern hunters when I begin to chew food for my baby? I know you can find me.”

I sighed and gave in. “Yes. But remember we must stay hidden. They do not know of my existence, and I do not want them to find out.”

What have I gotten myself into now?

Jarn’s Journal was supposedly written by a human-like alien stranded in Africa some 125,000 years ago. This is part of the very early back story of the universe in which I have set my science fiction. Jarn’s Journal to date is on my author site.

Year 8 Day 112

The northeastern extension of the linear sea ends even farther south than the northwestern branch I checked out earlier, but it is in a valley that continues north-northeastward. Could it reach the tideless sea with only a narrow bridge of land separating the two, as does the western branch? I needed more height!

Photo Credit

Photo Credit Wood’s Hole.

I foresaw two problems with getting high enough to see far ahead. The first was getting enough oxygen, and the second was balancing the air pressure in my inner ears and sinuses against that of the atmosphere. Oxygen debt takes time, so I could probably look for about as long as I could hold my breath. Air pressure was actually more of a problem, but with some practice I have found that I can hold a sort of second skin over my body that prevents my eardrums from popping and my blood from boiling. I’ve never done it at more than mountaintop height, but I have the principle and I was confident that for a short time I could manage to survive and look around above about nine-tenths of the atmosphere.

It had not occurred to me that the desert heat would feel so welcome when I got back down; it’s cold up there!

I also got my look, and as I warmed up I tried to make sense of what I had seen.

The tideless sea is indeed where I expected to find it, ahead and to the left as far as I could see. To the right, sand and mountains. But straight ahead, bordered by steep sides and even higher mountains, is what I can only describe as a trench in the land, . I think I saw water ahead, separated by higher ground from what lies below me, but I saw no sign of any connection to the tideless sea. Neither can I see an end to the trench.

I’ve wondered before if the continent on which I crashed might be rifting apart, and indeed if the lake on whose shores I now live might be part of that rift. Is it possible that this vast linear trench is part of the same system?

I am going to have to investigate this rift.

Jarn’s Journal is a part of the back story of my science fiction universe. Jarn is a human-like alien, a Ril’nian, who was stranded in Africa by a starship accident some 125,000 years ago. His story is being added to each week on my author site. In this episode, he has just discovered the Dead Sea Transform.

Year 8 day 106

Blue QuailI’ve decided to map the northern shoreline of the tideless sea, as a first step toward exploring the continent to the north. I already know that there a a strait to the west connecting the tideless sea with the tidal ocean that surrounds this continent, so the logical place to start was the great river delta to the northeast. Besides, I wanted to see what Rainbow could do with the rare clones of sweet dates I have discovered.

I think part of her problem with her mate was that she is too intelligent. She is, for instance, one of the very few who has some fuzzy grasp of what a map means. She can’t quite get her mind around the idea of something as big as the continent we are on. But when I zoomed the computer map out until the local area was visible, and showed her where the landmarks we can see were located on the map, she was able to figure the direction to one she hadn’t seen. Compared with those who cannot understand a map I am not standing on, this is genius.

I get the impression, however, that she considers my mapping a harmless diversion that she is quite willing to put up with as long as it gets her food and skins. Especially dates. She has devised a way of stuffing a local bird I am fond of with those, and the result is almost enough to distract me from my mapping. She is thrilled to get the birds, a rather stupid type of ground-dweller that competes with us for plant food. I find them fairly easy to trap.

Jarn’s Journal is the story of a human-like alien who was stranded in Africa some 125,000 years ago. His story is part of the back story of the civilization in which my published science fiction is set.

Year 8, Day 90

crude basketLittle Gnu and Gazelle may have started it, but I suspect it was Songbird and through her, Rain Cloud, who spread the word to the shamans. The People want to serve me, to keep me placated, I suspect. But a year away from everything they know is a major sacrifice. (Well, it would be for most of them, though I am not so sure of Torch Flower.)

Materials for Rainbow to use in making and repairing clothes and food, however, are a way of showing me honor without much pain to any one person. Surplus tanned hides, furs, sinew, linen thread, tools, fish traps and storage baskets have been pouring in. It’s a good thing I designed my home with a number of extra rooms!

Torch Flower had not taken good care of the building I originally built for Songbird and Giraffe. I had designed it, like my own home, with a warnoff to keep small pests from moving in and multiplying, and both Songbird and Gazelle had kept it clean. Torch Flower had unthinkingly assumed that scavengers would clean up any dropped food, and the place was beginning to stink.

Rainbow took one look, or rather one sniff, and began cleaning. By the time she had the place spotless down to the fused walls and floor, which she regarded with delight, a new sleeping mat had been left on the portico. Then she tackled the roasting pit, and soon had it in better condition than when Songbird initially supervised its construction. In fact, now that people have started to leave for their treks following the herds, we are in the best condition I have ever been in at this time of year.

I will definitely extend my mapping to the area north of the tideless sea this year.

Jarn’s Journal is part of the back story of the Jarnian Confederation, in which my science fiction books are set. Jarn is a human-like alien wo was stranded in Africa roughly 125,000 years ago. His story to date is on my author site.

I stopped by to watch Rainbow prepare a hide this morning, and found myself wondering what she got out of the relationship with her mate. Her scraper was little more than a rock, and while she used both the scraper and a cutting tool with skill, the tools were scarcely more than chipped pebbles. I could do as well, and I am hardly an accomplished flint knapper!

new arrowOne of the things I have done over the past year is collect various types of stone for Little Gnu, so this afternoon I went by to present him with my finds. I hadn’t intended to bargain, but when I mentioned the state of Rainbow’s tools, he smiled. “Then I will make her new ones,” he said. “It is little enough return for such fine stone, but if she is to make your clothing and prepare your food she should have tools of the best.” He picked up a dulled scraper, and it took him only a few blows to blunt the back and sharpen the edge. “Here,” he said, handing me the resharpened tool. “Give her this for the moment. It is better than what she has, but hardly a finished tool. Have her bring what she has to me, and I will see if any can be saved. If not, her tools will help me design what she can best use.”

“And if she is to prepare your food,” Gazelle said firmly, “she will need tools for that, too. I know you can provide salt and fruit, as well as meat, but she could use a better fish trap. Songbird is still the best at that, and you, Gnu, must make her a good gutting knife. And awls, for sewing. Sinew – who is best at preparing that, I wonder? Perhaps some flax? And porcupine quills for decoration ….

I have a feeling that the whole camp is going to see that Rainbow is better equipped than when she was living with her mate.

Year 8 Day 35

They were so late leaving last year that I persuaded myself they would be late arriving this year, but about half of the People are already here. Haboob, who is named for a dust storm, arrived with a much diminished group. In fact, his mate, her sister, and their children are just about it. The rest of the group arrived today, led (at least nominally) by Gray-crowned Crane, the older sister of Torch Flower’s mother. Keeping the peace between those two groups is even more of a problem than being treated as a god!

At least Torch Flower’s mother knows something about delivering babies!

I have seen several who were part of Stillwater’s group, including Rhino’s parents, come in with other groups. Has this group dissolved completely, or split into two or more warring factions? At any rate, it appears that Gray-Crowned Crane is willing to take the couple in as a part of her group. Now I just need to find someone who can cook and make clothing.

Year 8 Day 1

Venus of Willendorf, from Don's MapsThank goodness the groups will be back soon! Surely I can find some couple as acolytes who can hunt, cook, make clothing, and do not have and are not expecting a very small and inquisitive child. Rhino and Torch Flower are already borderline on the food and clothing, and I can only hope that Torch Flower waits until Meerkat or someone of similar experience returns before she has her baby!

It has not discouraged her efforts to seduce me. Indeed, by the standards of the People she is at her most desirable when very obviously pregnant. Not by the standards of mine! Broad hips and full breasts, yes, but actual pregnancy …. How shall I put it? It elicits protectiveness, care, but not physical desire.

In the case of Torch Flower, even the protectiveness is muted.

At least Rhinocerous, though he has very little more intelligence than his namesake, is able to learn. I have finally gotten across the idea that if he is to hit a moving target with a projectile, he must aim at where the target will be, not at where it is. And that when it is a living target, he must use his imagination to tell which way it is going to move.

Nor is there anything wrong with his stamina, and we are eating much better. Or would, if Torch Flower were up to cooking.

At least I’ve gotten a lot of mapping in this year. I have a very good feel for this continent now, and may look over the one to the north next year.

Jarn’s Journal is the record of an alien stranded in Africa 125,000 years ago. I tells the earliest history of the Jarnian Confederation, in which all of my science fiction is set. The Journal to date is on my author website.

Year 7 day 110

gazellesIt’s amazing how quickly the seasons fly by. I’ve come to count them in part by the coming and going of the People, and begun more and more to realize how brief their lives are. Many of those I first met as elders are gone, while many of the children are now adults with children of their own. Little WildDog is thriving, with a new brother or sister on the way, Little Gnu’s daughter is happily enjoying every opportunity of meeting others of her own age. Especially boys. Not that the boys of her own age are taking much notice yet!

I am being urged to choose a new acolyte for the coming season. Little Gnu has amassed an unequalled store of fine blades, and the women in particular are eager to get them for hide working. With his skills, I do not think he will have any problem keeping his family fed, even though his leg has never healed quite straight. He will be more comfortable back with his own group.

Of course that leaves me with the problem of choosing a new acolyte. I wonder ….

Jarn’s Journal is the (fictional) journal of a human-like alien stranded in Africa by a starship accident some 125,000 years ago. The full journal to date can by found on my author site.

Year 6 Day 329

Victoria FallsI’ve been using the waterfall for four years now, but I have only seen it once. I understand enough of the seasons here to know that I saw it in the dry season, and it was more than impressive then. It should be in its rainy season now, and since I am remapping all of the teleport coordinates I found earlier, I thought I would teleport there today both to get the latitude and longitude, and to see what it looks like in the rainy season.

All I can say is magnificent. The river above the falls is now a barrier to animals such as elephants that were formerly able to wade it. The hippos have spread out, and are in much better tempers. The river is alive with birds. The falls themselves?

I knew that the mass of water dropping into the gorge was greatly increased, and that the water actually running through the gorge was far more turbulent – I could feel the change in the energy. But actually seeing it was awe-inspiring. And to think I’d been using this beauty as an energy source!

Jarn’s Journal is the fiction journal of a human-like alien who was stranded in Africa roughly 125,000 years ago. His Journal to date is on my author site.