Creek - How All Things Came To Be
An Apalachicola Story, Common Version
Beings Of Air and Water
IN THE FIRST TIME, which became the beginning, Earth and all that exists, "was." Creator thought it, so that caused it to be. However, all that had come into "Beingness" had no place. All were in a no- where which isn't very pleasant. Aelah! It's worst than being lost.
All were perfect--Creator made it so. However, amongst all was much confusion caused by being no-where. None were very good at being still. There was no order. It isn't very Muskogee to be without order. At this beginning time there was no Square Ground and so none could see their proper place and relationship to each other. None had been given First Instructions, Original Teachings. Therefore, none knew their duties and responsibilities.
This was ONE ABOVE's first time at creating. There was no experience in these matters. At first, Creator was amused by all the confusion until Turtle cried out desperately. (Some say Turtle was the first Being to find her voice). Poor Turtle--all alone in a nothingness. Creator heard her. Suddenly, water was everywhere! And, Water made a place for all things to be. It was good all now had a place. Aelah, it was bad that it was Water. Almost everything was drowning! It takes a heap of experience to be a good Creator. One thing for sure, ONE ABOVE was getting experience!
"All in the Water were desperate. Turtle saw them and taught some to swim. The story doesn't say why Turtle knew how to swim; assume it came naturally. Some couldn't swim; Turtle rested these on her back, on her smooth shell. "All is well," you think. Not so. Tiredness came quickly and there was much anguish. Fear came to be; it was a most important feeling. Turtle did not fear Water; she sensed it was her home. However, the cries of others worried Turtle and Compassion was born. Compassion cannot dwell alone or in nothingness. It dwells only in the breasts of Beings with form and substance. With compassion her companion, Turtle remembered her own cries--Memory came to be. Memory is the tool of learning.
(All things made by Creator can think or reason, each in its own way and according to its own ability. But notice, by the Creek perception not everything has the same kind of reason or the same kind of thoughts. Each reasons according to its own.)
Turtle, hearing the desperate cries of others, knew something had to be done quickly. She dived beneath the Waters, swam about and found some mud. Turtle piled up the mud, and dived again and again. Soon, there was much land being formed all around.
Birds were the closest to the new land and scrambled up, soaked to the bone. They stretched out their wings to dry. Birds didn't know they could fly until they flapped their wings to shake off water and rose upwards to know flight. The fat Duck did not rise too high. She liked Water and returned to float upon it. She did not sink. Her big feet pushed her about. Duck understood Water and her place. She had no fear of Water and happiness was born.
Happiness comes from understanding. It is born a twin to sharing and not lonely by nature. So, Duck went to help Turtle. With her big feet, Duck pushed the mud together and packed it down smooth where it met Water. All other Beings could now climb ashore. And, they did so.
Birds, now airborne, desired to help. With their wings, they dried the land. Some beat their wings very hard and rose to great heights to see ONE ABOVE. Pleased with their work, Creator gave them songs, calls and wild cries so all would know of Creator's pleasure. Of course, the lazy Blue Jay did not help too much--if at all; Blue Jay did not receive a song.
(Say a quiet prayer or "Thank You" when you hear a Bird burst into morning's first song. To say "A Bird is Singing" in Creek is an act of praise, a recognition of ONE ABOVE.)
Creator breathed on the breast feathers of some Birds, those who flew highest. Those feathers at once became soft and delicate. These gentle feathers are called "prayer feathers" or "little prayers." Birds felt at peace and at one with the ONE ABOVE. They came to know fellowship and were thankful. Feathers helped Birds to reach Creator on high. Because of that, feathers became our companions to peace, prayer and thankfulness .
Prayer is the child of thankfulness. Eagles and Hawks flew closest to Creator. They carried prayers of thankfulness from Beings who had not yet learned to speak. While Birds were in the sky, they circled and soared. Calm and beautiful, they flowed with all things. Others learned peacefulness from their soaring example. The bigger Birds, Turkeys, did not fly too high either but they busied themselves sorting out rocks, pebbles, mineral nuggets and other things. The many Earth colors can still be seen on their feathers today-- especially the shiny color of copper.
Water Turkey worked hardest at drying land with her great wings. So hard did she work, and so tired did she become, that ONE ABOVE preserved the ripples of the first Waters on her tail feathers, ripples of sky colors to remind us of Water Turkey's part in the first times. Creator gave Water Turkeys a special task. At times, they spread their tails across the sky to stop rains so there will not be too much water. When they first spread their colorful tails, rainbows came to be. Thunderbirds honor the first Water Turkey by taking her shape to commemorate Creation and the Power of ONE ABOVE.
Unselfish service is Water Turkey's legacy. Old ones say rippled feathers help Water Turkeys fly with ease. Creator rewards in quiet but lasting ways. Water Turkeys still dry their wings after diving to be ready to help if a need arises. ONE ABOVE often calls them to cut off the rain. Water Turkey, the Vigilant Bird, symbolizes watchfulness. Water Turkey's feathers fan Cedar and Tobacco incense upwards in prayers. Her feathers are sacred and must not be used without respect and the Elders' guidance.
Where land was piled high mountains came to be. Where land spread out, plains, forest, and gentle hills came to rest. Valleys followed where giants of old walked about. Turtle and Duck worked hard. Water Turkey, and all Birds, secured the meaning of sharing. The Duck embodied safety and security.
As all great and small winged Beings dried the land, rivers, ponds, lakes, and streams flowed from Water that dropped from their wings. Everything, of Land and Air, every such Being, came ashore and life filled the whole undivided land we call Aniweda, the "Back of the Turtle."