Modern Day, Summertime…
Rozeanna ran as fast as she could down the sidewalk, golden ponytail flying with the wind.
Her mind was counting the chimes as dark green eyes watched for any obstacles in her path that would delay her arrival to the library. It was story day. Her grandmother, the owner, would not only need her help, but was going to tell the one she had waited her whole life to hear. The tale of her own heritage, her own ancestors, and their place in history. She gave barely a wave to the shop keep, who paused the sweeping of his front porch to watch the girl dash by with shake of his head and a grin.
More importantly, it was Rozeanna’s history and legacy; it was the legend of the Golden Rose.
Up the steps her long legs flew, and she burst in the door as the last chime of the hour rang through the streets. Her eighteen years gave good claim as to her agility and speed, and she drew hard but not ragged breaths as she slowed. The kindly volunteer at the desk gave her a sympathetic smile and nodded towards the children’s section as if to say “in there.” Rozeanna gave the woman a smile of thanks, and made her way to Grandmother’s side.
“Just in time,” came the gentle reply of the older woman, dressed in full regalia of her tribe, the Navajo. “But you did not need to run. I would not have told your story without you present.”
A blush crept over the smooth cheeks of the girl, but she only nodded and kissed her grandmother’s forehead.
. “Yes, Ama’Sa’Ni.”
Taking her place at the front, she then waited patiently for Grandmother to begin. She searched the faces of the children who sat so patiently, waiting to attune to every word the kindly old woman would tell. Story hour, held every Wednesday at four. Only today, Rozeanna’s birthday, was the promise of a new adventure unlike any other. Ama, as all children called her, lifted her eyes and, after meeting each child’s own that looked to hers with eager anticipation, they fell to the thick, golden colored book in her lap. Gnarled fingers opened it to the first page. The lights were dimmed slightly, except for a single spotlight over the lady in the rocking chair. Her voice began to spread like a warm breeze would on a summer day. Slowly, the minds of the children began to visualize the scene of what they were being read, as their eyes closed. Each started to fantasize they were the hero or heroine of the book. For Rozeanna, she dreamed of being the girl of yesteryear, her great-great-great-great grandmother, who at the same age was sitting in the lodge around the fire, listening to her own Ama’Sa’Ni spin the tale of history that happened, and the destiny yet to come.
Arizona Dessert 1800′s
Long ago, when the Spanish were conquering Central America, many would cross the vast dessert that now spans the state of Arizona. They were making the journey to what is now California, in search of a new home from the foreign invaders, or to their family vineyards. It was a long and dangerous trek, over perilous mountains and through the hottest dessert known to man. Untold dangers lurked in every crevice, every shadow, from the sidewinder snake to an ambush from local tribes.
One young man, who fell victim to a raid, was carrying a tender rosebush with him to plant in his new home. As he parted quickly from this world, the plant fell to the ground when the bag was torn from his hands and split open. Seeking water, it was close enough to a cactus to root with it, and the single green shoot amidst the brown dessert produced a perfect white rose.
The two regional tribes, the Apache, meaning ‘enemy’, and the Navajo, meaning ‘Lords of the Soil’ were at war with one another. One day, a scout from each side, discovered this unusual plant. Something so beautiful, so pure could only be a gift from the gods above, and the surrounding area in which the rose grew became holy ground. Each of the people claimed it to be so, and called for a halt of the hostilities between the tribes.
But the warrior braves, whose ancestors had been in battle for so long that the original quarrel was forgotten, heeded not the words their people cried out. A prophecy was then foretold of a doom to come one as terrifying and comparable to the end of the world, should the two sides not make peace.
To their dismay, on a clear, unusually cold night, the Navajo tribe had a horrible plan-to cross the dessert, including the holy ground where the rose stood, and wipe out their enemy once in for all. The idea was born of the belief that warriors in battle who died when the sun slept, would suffer a serious fate-to haunt the lands forever and walk in darkness.
Learning of the plan, the Apache organized their warriors to meet and deal with the threat. The people of both sides were in lament, and danced in prayer for their souls as the braves left on what was sure a fool’s errand. They two tribes met, at the sight of the Gift, and started to fight.
Behold, above, in the clear night sky, came the first of many from a meteor shower, called the mosi’tsoh.(the Lion).
To those below, it was the first fire of the Great Creator’s anger to strike. And it struck true. For as the dark sky lit up with screaming streaks of white light, one slammed into the ground with a terrifying wail where the bloody battle had commenced. The intense heat from the alien rock melted everything and everyone, except, oddly enough, the cactus full of water, and its tiny charge, the blooming rose. Suddenly, the earth gave a great shudder, and a wide crack opened in the face of the scalded earth, revealing a rich vein of gold. Molten from the heat, the precious metal splashed upward, while the rose, its roots now exposed, fell within.
The next morning, the somber figures of both tribes were seen upon the gloomy dessert, each getting a glimpse of their enemy through the thick dust that choked the air as they came together on both sides of the newly formed crevice. Not a sign of their warriors remained, and where cries of war rang out mere hours before, a still silence reined that made one nearly hold their breath for fear of disturbing the ghosts of those who would forever haunt the sacred ground. The wise men from both clans climbed down one side of the rift, meeting in the middle. A shaft of light from the sun burst through the black air, its golden fingers floating through to the center of the crack as if to point. There, on a pillar of cooled molten metal extending upward like a giving hand, lay the white rose, now covered completely, perfectly, in gold, with a tiny, shining crystal in the exact center that gave off a rainbow light on the surrounding walls when touched by the sun.
Both sides knew that this was a sign from the gods, and took it quite seriously, hoping that would make up for their ignorance of the earlier gift and warning.
It was that day, as a ceremony of peace was held, that each wise man was named guardian of the sacred rose, to protect the symbol that to them, now meant peace. As each generation would grow, one member of each wise man’s family would be chosen to continue the honor. Time, marched on.
It was the arrival of the pale faces, however, that forced that tradition to change. Three generations had seen the guardianship of the rose. But, as the pale ones lusted after the golden rock, and then the golden rose for its rarity, the decision was made to hide the artifact. Pried from the Giving Hand, the two Guardian’s went to hide it. Clues were to be scattered throughout, of both Apache and Navajo, for someone to find them when it would be safe to bring the precious gift back.
Three more generations have come with the cycles of the sun. Behold, the prophecy foretold on the day of the golden rose’s departure was handed down as each potential guardian grew. The prophecy said that when the time to find the rose is at hand, the two tribes will become as one, and create the key to finding, and bringing to light, the Golden Gift once more. It was said, when this happened, the tribes, would come together as one and live in peace.
Since the rose’s departure and the white man’s permanent arrival, unrest and disbursement of the tribes began. War of a different kind came forth, and the two tribes banded together for protection. Alas, the white man’s fire weapons and numbers proved too great, and many were lost. Those who are left, are soon to be uprooted from their home, and relocated another place. There were those that continued to fight the invaders, but often with dismal results. Many, over time, began to search for the rose, in hopes it would restore peace. But the few that made it back told of clues that lead to nowhere, and back again. It seemed there was little hope of finding the Rose. Some even began to think the entire prophecy, an old wives tale; one spun by the elders, to give the younger generations hope when all seemed to be lost. There were some who thought, it simply is just not the right time for the rose to be found.
Now, only one known descendent remains, and the new prophecy yet unfulfilled. Punishment, perhaps, for the reckless deeds of warriors past, and the ignorance they demonstrated long ago.
Only time and the great creator know, and only HE and time will tell.