Gold and Ochre

Aurie, first born of the Golden One Solaris, and resident spirit of Australia, gazed upon the land she had received from her father. Gold were the sands, rolling dunes of gleaming particles that glittered under her father’s radiance. But it wasn’t enough. Aurie tried her mightiest to complete the scene, adding golden powdered flowers which she christened ‘wattle’, and branching out into green and blue, with tall, graceful gums and flowing waters.

Still, it wasn’t enough.

Aurie missed her family dearly. Scania, her youngest brother and thus the one least coloured like his father, had only just been gaining an awareness when Aurie had left to perform her duty. She’d had to comfort him, promising he wouldn’t be too lonely without her, he’d still have the rest of their siblings to keep him company. Eventually, she’d left him a braided lock of her golden hair as she crept out while he slept.

The memory gave Aurie an idea: what better way to honour her brother and cure her homsickness than to fashion a race of creatures in his image? Thus, with the rudimentary skills learnt from her father, she moulded the people from sand and water with great care and love, shaping their wide faces and beguiling eyes – eyes that reminded Aurie so dearly of her brother that she began to weep. And as she wept, her tears solidified into golden nuggets that fell into the waters at the top of the highest mountain of Australia, where they flowed down into lakes, creeks and pools.

The people Aurie created loved the land they had been born into, almost as much as Aurie herself did. They praised her father with soaring voices and winding dances where they stamped their brown and weathered feet emphatically, as if restless with the joy and energy within them. Whenever Aurie looked upon them, she felt a warm glow of liquid-gold happiness spread through her core.

Aurie began to grow lazy and indolent. She had finished her job, her country was complete, her people happy. All was well. She stopped visiting her people and started to turn her back on the world more and more often. She took naps, long naps, when she’d dream of nothing and just let her father’s golden light warm her face and body. As she slept, the world continued to turn.

Her people, no longer inspired by the great golden-skinned goddess, stopped creating. They began to oppose change, saying it had brought about the absence of their land’s spirit. Joy disappeared, replace by anger and hatred of difference. Solaris, Aurie’s father, saw this and grew angry at his daughter; his fury sparked fires, raging golden flames that painted the trees black and made the soil grow red-hot.

Yet Solaris was, in the end, a bringer of life – not a destroyer. Green buds formed in the stumps of dead trees and the red soil gave birth to new creatures – snakes and spiders that remembered the pain from Solaris, which still gently throbbed gently under the Earth’s crust.

Finally, Aurie awoke.  There was a nagging sensation that she couldn’t quite place, a feeling of familiarity that distracted her from the great changed land. When she looked, she saw strange contraptions with white billowing cloth that caught the wind and propelled them across her cobalt bay. As she watched, the contraptions stopped at the land’s edge, the last remaining place where the sand was still golden.

Some people stepped out. They were not like her people, though. No, these people looked like her – high, golden cheekbones and golden hair, twisted into braids. They chattered to each other in lilting foreign words, pointing at the regrown trees she had created so long ago, and her curious beings that peered out from the bushes.

Behnd hese new people, a shy presence stood out. With dark brown skin and wide doe-eyes sat in a wide face, he was almost a perfect match to the people of Aurie’s land.

He waved shyly at Aurie, who waved back.

“Scania?”

The man – for he was a man now, no longer the small boy she remembered – nodded. “It appears we had the same idea,” he smiled.

Aurie rushed at him, tears in her eyes as she hugged her brother. It was a golden moment, shared under the golden watch of their father Solaris.


 

Featured image based on “Uluru/Ayers Rock” by Corey Leopold, CC0 2.0

 

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