So Happily May We Return
by Ramon Sender Barayon
Ramón Sender Barayón
(1974,Occidental CA, rewritten 1980 San Francisco)
Wingfoot awoke late. The first rays of the sun were gilding the tops of the young redwoods surrounding her tipi and the blue jays screeching at the squirrels in the branches. She stood up and stretched her lithe, brown body before ducking through the door flap to splash rainwater over herself at the outdoor basin. Drops sparkling on her oval face, she stood in the clearing, full lips parted in a radiant smile, and spoke the ancient sunrise prayer:
Oh world, oh stars, oh golden light,
Oh that sun most adored!
We drink the splendor of your beams!
May you crown our day with light!
She turned to slip into the light green jumpsuit she had washed at the waterfall the day before, and hurried up the path to the barn. Her usual morning routine of Chairman Mao’s exercises and yoga postures would have to wait. Through the morning mists rising from Mt. O’Neill’s forested slopes she could see the cows ambling towards the milking stalls. The light rain that had fallen from the overhead sprinklers before dawn had freshened the green of the meadows and brought out a sprinkling of tiny yellow flowers. The milk bucket stood by the watering trough and she rinsed it, the stainless steel catching a reflection of her dark braids. She squinted against the dancing sunbeams while the last line of the sunrise prayer echoed through her mind.
May you crown our day with light!
The cows already stood beside the gate to the barn, snuffing and blowing. “Morning, Claudia! Morning, Anna!” She patted their bulging sides. “Easy, girls. One at a time.”
She let Claudia in and walked beside her to the feed barrel. A movement in the corner straw pile caught her eye.
A blond haired youth sat up, pulling wisps from his blue denim coveralls, yawning and smiling. The red-and-black headband of the New Carmel tribe encircled his prominent forehead, somewhat askew.
Wingfoot returned his smile. “Welcome, guest,” she said, clasping her hands together in formal greeting.
He grinned and went outside to wash and perform his morning rituals. He could not speak until he had done so.
“Come back and help me milk when you’re through!” she called.
She prepared Claudia’s breakfast, a square of alfalfa with two measures of Chlorella algae powder. The cow munched happily in her stall while Wingfoot washed her teats and dried them. She glanced up at the returning youth.
“You’ve lucked out,” she said. “The storyteller’s coming this afternoon. We’ll have a love feast to celebrate.”
“Why d’you think I came?” he replied, wrinkling a freckled nose. “News of a storyteller travels fast!”
Her muscular hands tightened around the nipples and two white streams jetted into the pail. Ping, ping! The youth bent down to Claudia’s udder from the opposite side, and the rhythm syncopated – pingety ping, pingety ping! The udder’s owner chewed her food with a benign expression, unconcerned about the fingers tugging at her teats. By the time both cows had been milked, the barnyard had filled with tribespeople carrying jars and pitchers. Cheerful greetings passed to and fro while the milk was strained and poured into the out-held containers.
“Wingfoot, come breakfast with us!” A young father with a two year old boy tugging at his hand put an arm around the girl’s shoulder.
“May I bring a guest?” she asked. “This is Seagull from New Carmel.” She nodded at her new friend. “Seagull, this is David and little Red Hawk.”
“Of course,” David replied, setting Red Hawk on his shoulders. “Come on. Hannah’s making pancakes.”
They walked up the slope behind the barnyard towards Mt. O’Neill, past Willow Creek and through a forest of long needled pines to a hogan perched on a ledge overlooking the valley.
Wingfoot’s nostrils flared. “Um, smells good!”
A woman’s voice called out. “Get ‘em while they’re hot!”
A silicon fiber sundeck hung over the hillside in front of the dwelling. The guests took seats on the mats around the low table. Below them, a hawk circled slowly, his red tail flashing. David’s wife Hannah was a square shouldered young woman with a long blonde braid down her back and a crinkly smile.
“That’s last year’s blackberry jam,” she said. “And here’s elderberry syrup. Butter from the cows. Help yourselves.”
“On vacation?” David asked Seagull, passing the guest a plate.
“I’ve been on Island Four assembly for a month,” Seagull replied. “I’ve accumulated a week of one g time.” He forked a mouthful of food. “Spent a few days with my folks before hiking down the river.”
“How’s Island Four coming?” David asked. “I haven’t been out there in almost a year.” “We’ll be sealing her before the new year,” Seagull said. “She’s a beauty! Half again as big as here, with a projected population of 180,000. The University will be move there from New Albion. My dad says that if the fish harvest’s as big as expected I can take off for a six month work study in aquaculture.”
Hannah flipped more pancakes onto the platter from the electric griddle. “Maybe we could trade you milk for fish when Bonnie,” she said. “We’ll have an overabundance by June unless the girls get the cheese press going.”
“Our goats keep us pretty well supplied,” Seagull said. “But we could use some cheese, that’s for sure!”
“We made some good hard cheddar last summer,” Wingfoot said. “David, why don’t you show Seagull the root cellar? I’ll stay and help Hannah clear up.”
The sun had burned off the early mists by the time David and Seagull started down the path. They paused for a moment on the edge of the pine forest to gaze at the view. The land sloped gently away from them to the river a mile away before curving up into the clouds. Above the sun they could make out the hazy outlines of the opposite side of the space habitat.
“We’re just about halfway around,” Seagull said. He pointed to a distant sparkle. “Is that New Carmel?”
David nodded. “Sky City, we call it.” His gaunt face broke into a smile. “Are both your parents here?”
“And my older sisters,” Seagull replied. “We came from New Albion with the first group.” He grinned. “I’m a native born Lagrangian.”
A dirt covered mound stood in the shade of the pines, its peak rising above their heads. David swung open an aluminum door and beckoned Seagull inside.
“Our root cellar and mushroom cave,” he explained, sniffing the musty air with approval. Flats of dark loam were laid out on shelves, some dotted with the white aureoles of burgeoning mushrooms. “Over here is what’s left of the cheeses.” His tanned arm reached up and unhooked a waxy, greenish ball. He unfolded a pocketknife and carved a half moon wedge. “Sort of in between cheddar and provolone. We’ll have more by August but they’ll have to hang a while to bring out the flavor. Not bad, eh?”
“Um!” Seagull munched with approval.
A mournful sound penetrated faintly into the interior.
“Conch horn for the morning meeting,” David explained. “Let’s get to the main house.”
They retraced their steps to the barn and across the meadow past the vegetable garden to a large dome. By the time they arrived, a few dozen people had gathered on the patio and were seated on aluminum stools and benches. A spindly twenty year old with drooping mustaches and long red hair hurried up to them, a large conch shell in his hands.
“We’ll have to vote on those four issues today, David,” he said. “I’m sounding the quorum call.” David put one hand on his arm. “Wait,” he said. “We can tally votes before the love feast. Everybody’s busy with preparations and tomorrow’s early enough to phone in our tallies.” He nudged the redhead. “C’mon, Swift Arrow, you’ll get your chance to toot your horn many more times before the day is over!”
Swift Arrow laughed and followed them onto the patio. He introduced himself to Seagull, crossing arms and meeting palms in the traditional Lagrangian meeting.
A bald headed man read off a list of the day’s chores and errands. Volunteers were delegated to different tasks. The love feast would be held at the northern end of the valley in the circle of eucalyptus planted there. Two children’s groups who had been camped in the east and west valleys for a few days would have to be contacted. Runners were sent to remind them of the festivities. Work crews were made up with much bantering and a town trip to New Leucadia organized to barter workshop items for necessary odds and ends. The shoppers would walk to the Ring Road by the river and catch the bus.
As a guest, Seagull was exempt from duties. When the meeting dispersed, he wandered down to Willow Creek. It was past time to do his yoga warm ups and the pool beside the creek looked inviting, its surface dappled with sunlight. He stripped naked and moved to a flat patch of grass where he faced the sun, palms together in the first posture of the Sun Greeting sequence. His arms straightened over his head, his back arching, before he bent forward, head touching his knees, palms flat on the ground. Nine more postures followed in a flowing dance for a total of twelve, one for each month of the year. He repeated the sequence two more times, making each repetition more slow and deliberate, before lying down on his back. The second series he performed flat on his belly, ending with a beautifully executed head to forearm to handstand. He flipped over onto his feet and dove into the pool. The water was a perfect temperature.
An enormous splash erupted beside him. He wiped the droplets from his eyes and stared at Wingfoot’s mischievous face beside him. “Why, you -- !” He dove for her legs to draw her under but she back paddled, laughing, out of reach. He cornered her against the bank but she caught a low branch and kicked out at him. He grabbed a flying ankle and dragged her down until her hold gave way and she slid under the surface with a yell. Gradually their play turned into an exploration of the muddy bottom, their fingers searching between underwater rocks.
“Why, hello crawfish!” Seagull held up a three inch specimen by its shell.
“Look at her pinchers!” Wingfoot patted the armored head with a forefinger. “Put her back. We don’t harvest them until they’re full-grown.” A shudder rippled through her shoulders and goose pimples appeared on her arms. “Br! I’m getting out!”
They stood naked together in the warm sun. “There goes the bus,” Seagull said, looking down the valley.
A mile and a half downslope, they could see the bus picking up speed, decked out in colored streamers and crowded with gaily-dressed tribespeople.
“They’ll be back with the storyteller,” Wingfoot replied, twisting the water out of a braid. Her body was sleek, ripening into young womanhood, her breasts widely spaced with upturned nipples. Confronted by her beauty, Seagull felt a sudden wave of shyness and tried not to stare. He wished he too were twenty. The two year difference in their ages suddenly seemed an enormous chasm.
As if she sensed his thoughts, she moved near him and put her arms around his waist. “Tonight, after the storytelling,” she whispered. “We’ll sleep together under the stars.” Her pupils widened and stared into his eyes. “If you wish it, good friend.”
Her use of the formal words of the tryst making brought radiance to his face and he uttered the traditional reply.
“I wish it, good friend.” His mouth gently sought hers.
Hand-in-hand, Seagull carrying their clothes, they walked back through the woods to the main house and on down to the communications center, the technological core of the village. It was another large silicon fiber dome set in an open space surrounded by fruit trees. A group of children was projecting an African jungle sequence when they entered. Holographic parrots and monkeys shrieked and chattered in the foliage while the children stalked one another, intent on their game. When a lion leaped towards Seagull with a roar, he jumped back with a startled exclamation to the delighted chortles of the hunters.
“Come in here,” Wingfoot said. She pulled him into a small room with a console and screen, one hand flipping a switch beside the keyboard. “I prefer talking to typing. Hello, Central! “
There was a brief silence while a video scanner swiveled on its mount to face them.
“Hello, Wingfoot,” a female voice said from the speaker on the ceiling. “And a visitor from New Carmel, I believe.”
Wingfoot smiled. “Your omniscience is showing,” she teased. “I brought Seagull to show him the Yoga Competition program you ran last week. Um, it was called something like ‘Qualifications for Regional Sports Trials.’“ Seagull dropped into a chair and leaned forward with an interested expression. The room darkened and a panoramic view of New Albion, the first island of the Lagrangian Federation, appeared on the screen, brilliant green meadows curving up to meet a cloud covered peak.
“From the Inter Island Health Convention at Federation Headquarters yesterday came proposals for regional competitions in Yoga, low g gymnastics and tumbling,” the computer reported. “Local qualifying trials will be held next month on all three islands. All finalists will be invited to the Inter Island Olympics next year.”
Seagull glanced at Wingfoot’s shadowy features. “Do you really think I – “
“Sh,” she whispered. “She’s listing the qualifying postures.”
“Cobra, Locust, Bow, Head to knees, Full Spinal Twist, Peacock and Headstand, each to be held for a minimum of one minute. Island competitions for the winners will be held in December and finalists will travel to the games scheduled for the opening of the University of Lagrangia on Primavera. Qualifying exercises for the low g gymnastics are as –
“That’s all, Central,” Wingfoot said. The sound and picture dimmed.
“A one minute Peacock isn’t easy,” Seagull said, frowning. “I’ve never timed myself.”
“There are mats and a clock in the dining hall,” she replied. “I’ll take you over. I’m on kitchen duty this afternoon.”
Up the path from the communications center was another structure, a double dome which contained the tribal kitchen and a central room used for indoor meetings, meals and games. Wingfoot showed him through the main door, kissed him again and disappeared into the pantry.
A group of seven year olds was dancing and chanting a corn planting ritual in one corner. Four children enacted the part of the growing corn, rising slowly from a doubled-up posture and waving their arms in imitation of cornstalks in the wind. Three older children were instructing them.
He found a place near the large wall clock, pulled out a mat and lay down with his eyes closed. Already the day had been so full of surprises, he thought, culminating in Wingfoot’s loving invitation, something beyond his highest hopes. And the yoga competition! It was his chance to show her that, although younger, he could score well against older men, perhaps even winning and going to the Olympics! He sighed with pleasure and began the qualifying postures, keeping an upside down eye on the clock.
He dozed off when he finished and awoke to find Wingfoot smiling down at him. She was dressed in a white smock with vividly dyed threads embroidered into swirling patterns across the bodice and the sleeves’ edges. Her hair was undone and flowed down her back, caught once in the middle by an ornate clasp of moongold. Their eyes locked and he searched in vain for words to express her beauty.
“Come on, lazybones,” she said. “You’ve been asleep for hours!”
“I – I guess I needed it,” he said. “I got here real late last night.”
“You can help us take some things to the grove,” she said. “Hey! Don’t forget your clothes!”
He grabbed his coverall and followed her into the kitchen.
Together with Swift Arrow and two girls they walked down the path, everyone carrying last minute items for the feast. Seagull kept staring at Wingfoot and she answered his looks with amused glances.
“The bus! The bus!” Swift Arrow shouted and unleashed a blast on the conch.
eagull shaded his eyes and gazed at the colorful vehicle lumbering up the hill towards them on its oversized tires. “Crowded to the rails,” he said.
“Hurry!” Wingfoot urged. “We’ll miss the Welcome Song!”
Beep beep! The bus tooted its horn and stopped in the clearing below them.
“There she is!” one of the girls yelled.
Seagull caught a glimpse of a white haired, grandmotherly figure waving at the group that had gathered. Voices were yipping and calling from the surrounding meadows. More tribespeople came running to cluster around the storyteller. She was an old woman with a wrinkled, kindly face and a wisp of a beard. White Feather, the legendary singer, the Sappho of the Space Age!
Naked, nameless, homeless, harmless,
We welcome thee, oh sister!
Naked, nameless homeless harmless,
We welcome thee to thy home.
Come, share in the love
Of our common mother.
From her womb are all things born.
While the song was sung, the old woman was helped out of her clothes to stand naked and smiling, palms outstretched. A gourdful of perfumed unguent was passed and many hands massaged it into her shoulders, arms and back. Her body was small, stooped with years, but her aura reached out and enveloped the gathering. Two girls brought out a rainbow striped storyteller’s robe and a homespun chemise faced in purple. They helped her dress before placing a wreath of wildflowers around her head.
“All for me, beautiful maidens?” she asked. Her voice sounded like two walnuts being rubbed together. In the eucalyptus grove, mats had been laid out in a circle and an acoustic backdrop shaped like a large scallop shell set up.
“Eeyah hah! Eeyo eeyah hah!”
A chant was started and a drummer picked up the beat. Hannah arrived with others from the ovens carrying trays of steaming casseroles. The ten year olds came down the path dressed in woven grasses and ferns, fresh from the eastern valley where they had executed a series of spring initiation rituals. Foreheads striped with clay, they solemnly filed into the clearing and took their seats. The hiss of their gourd rattles joined the drums and they began the snake chant, a hypnotic, endless vocalization similar to the yodeling songs of the African Pygmies. Everyone wore their festive costumes of homespun cotton sewn with shells and feathers. Musicians brought gourd harps and began plucking and twanging behind the song. The sun stood a hand’s width above the horizon when the storyteller entered the grove. She took her seat in front of the shell while a half dozen apprentices bustled around testing the micro-miniature amplifiers. The seven year-olds Seagull had seen in the dining room entered and the instruments began the quick, scrubbing rhythms of the corn-planting dance. The planter dancers wore seed pouch aprons and feather cornhusk headdresses, their chests and arms painted with black and red stripes. They danced down the lines of stooping ‘corn mounds’ while they sang:
I am planting the good corn seed
So, I am planting it.
In great beauty it will increase,
It will grow quickly in one night,
It will grow and flourish.
The rain-cloud dancers appeared in plumed masks and tinsel streaked costumes. They swirled through the planters and corn mounds. Gradually the corn stalks began to unfold. As they did so, they disclosed the vivid green of their costumes. A green arm held a yellow ear of corn up and then another until all the plants stood waving tasseled golden ears. The rhythm quickened. Planters, corn and rain clouds all began to dance together and sing:
Oh Beautiful upon the earth,
All things are growing.
I hear the voice that quickens now the earth,
So happily may we return
To our waiting home
All things are growing.
Many joined in the singing until at last the drums slowed and the dancers dispersed to find seats in the circle. David stood beside the storyteller. “I want to welcome White Feather and our many guests on behalf of the Wopo Tribe,” he said. His amplified voice carried through the clearing. “We have one small item to attend to before we continue. Four intertribal issues have to be voted on tonight, so, friends, please bear with us.” He read off the proposals. The first dealt with the election of a new representative to the Tribal Council, the second with the ENSAT requirement that all seventeen-year olds volunteer for one year on the life support maintenance crews. The third involved six applications from new colonists and the fourth with increasing the tribal quotas for the Island Four work parties. Swift Arrow tabulated the voice votes, choruses of ‘yays’ and ‘nays’, before reading off the results.
“Willow John of the Raccoon Clan is our new Tribal Representative,” he announced, and waited for the cheers to die away. “Our six new seventeen year olds will report to New Carmel for assignment, we’ll accept three new families from Earth – hm, the Sunderajans from Madras, the Yamamotos from Hiroshima and the Hodgkins from Montreal, total of ten new people. And the tribal quotas will be increased to twelve percent until Island Four is completed.” General cheering and laughter greeted each new announcement. David waved a hand for silence. “Thank you, everyone. Now back to the party. The sun’s rim has touched the horizon, so it’s time to light the glowfire and sing the sunset chant together. May this evening we share bring us closer to one another.”
The musicians struck up a quiet, open chord drone while Swift Arrow walked to the pit in the center of and threw a switch. A large chunk of moon ore Seagull put an arm around Wingfoot and hugged him. What more could he ask for? A beautiful sky of crimson and purple, a festive meal, the story, and then ... Wingfoot smiled at him and nudged his shoulder with her head.
Only thou, oh river of delight,
Only thou, through endless day and night,
Only thou, assuager of all sorrow,
Only thou, oh giver of tomorrow.
The slow darkening shadows, the brightening glowfire, the smell of food all combined to create a mood of quiet anticipation. Plates filled with steaming wheatberries, fish and vegetables were passed. The singing melted away with the last fiery pip of sunlight. Arms reached out and everyone linked bands for a brief moment of silence. The storyteller smiled around the circle and released her grip. The meal began in silence, fingers dipping into the plates. Seagull fed Wingfoot choice morsels and she fed him hot bread dotted with curds of fresh butter. “Um,” he said. “I’d get fat if I lived here.” “Who ever beard of a fat yogi?” she asked with a mock frown. “Besides, most of the time we eat very simply.”
Fingerbowls and piles of fruit were placed within arms’ reach. Through the treetops, the stars were appearing, their colors as various as the Gnome King’s horde of jewels. The lights of New Carmel twinkled above them. David took the tribal pipe out of its medicine bundle, a redwood burl the size of two fists, which had come all the way from California. It was filled with a pungent herbal mixture, marijuana grown from the choicest Indica seed, psilocybin mushrooms dried and chopped, and crushed white alder leaves. He handed it to the storyteller and held a match to the bowl. The old lady drew on the bamboo stem and blew out six ritual puffs to the points of the compass.
“Peace to all the tribes,” she intoned. “Peace, peace, peace.”
“Peace, peace, peace,” echoed the listeners.
The pipe began to pass around the circle.
“Peace above us.”
“Peace below us.”
“And all is well.”
Her gnarled face broke into a sudden smile, the glow from the moon ore, a deep orange, reflecting from her eyes.
“So now, dear ones,” she began. “Gather in and warm your toes while I tell you the tale of the Great Gathering Back. I‘ll tell you the story as it happened in your grandparents’ youth, when our mother planet was torn by wars, when the colonization of space was still only a dream in the minds of a few, when the Tribes themselves were shattered remnants of their former selves, living dark and dismal lives in the poisoned cities of the evil chieftains, chieftains caught in their own dark magic.”
The circle of rapt faces gleamed in the fire, the only sound the hissing of the large teakettle that had been placed near the heat.
“Those were sad times,” she continued. “Times perhaps impossible to imagine any more except for those of us who lived through them.” Her dark eyes moved from one grey-streaked head to another among her audience. “The atmosphere, the soul sheathe of Mother Earth, was dimmed by the poisons and gases of the war factories. The ecstasy of breathing pure air was unknown, the flow of sacred awareness slow and sluggish in the people’s hearts.
“The war chiefs held all nations prisoner and the ancient tribal ways were only troubled dreams in the minds of the old people. There were prophecies that had foretold all these horrors – how they would come before the Great Awakening, how great wars would sweep across the continents. And great war came, millions dying in but a few seconds. The power of the sun was usurped and corrupted into the service of destruction. Blind to the truth, men’s minds wandered lost in the maze of lies of the evil magicians.” She squinted into the gathering. “Some of you shed tears. I too weep when I think of those times, times that must never come again. The children of that age now sit here as your grandparents. They were young once, and it was during their youth that the planet’s consciousness first stirred. Out of her great sleep our Mother Earth’s voice spoke, heard only by a few at the beginning, speaking the ancient, forgotten sun language. ‘Adya jivamaha, adhuna raksamihi.’“
Many voices repeated the well known words after her.
“‘Today we live, now I protect,’“ the storyteller translated. “Those were the first words she spoke in the hearts of the young people. Some of them left the poisoned cities to unite with her in the woodlands and meadows. ‘Your nature is my nature,’ she taught them, ‘your life is my life.’ Thus the young people began to go back to the tribal ways, to the seasons, the forests and streams to learn the ancient truths, to be purified and grow strong, to sing the wind chants again and the planting songs. They rediscovered the herbal plants that healed their sicknesses, among them the sacred marijuana, which cured the smog sulfur sickness. They cleansed themselves at the sweathouse rituals and, sweetest of all, began to speak the truth to one another.
“The evil magicians were powerless against this flood of awakening love and understanding. In the General Referendum of 1984, the U.S. Congress was reformed into an advisory council and the people themselves took over the legislative functions of government through the innovative use of Phone-a-vote, first proposed by that great sage Buckminster Fuller. This technique allowed every person to call in his vote and have it tabulated within minutes. Government by popular referendum was followed by many other technological innovations, which allowed the corrupt and outdated system of government by representation to be done away with.
“With overpopulation, famines and the energy crisis all causing terrible suffering, NASA was given the task of building huge solar collectors in space to bring more energy to the planet. Space Station One came into existence to house the work crews. With it began the construction of the Powersats, which now number over two hundred. Two years later, there were twelve hundred people in space and the space tug Goddard began ferrying mining crews to the moon. “From these small beginnings, we have grown until today there are half a million tribespeople living on three islands, two space stations and four factories with another group on its way to the asteroids. “It was in the 1990’s that Island One became operational –New Albion, as we call her, with ten thousand colonists. By the time of the Millennium celebrations, Islands Two and Three were complete. The Planetary Bill of Rights, based on our own Lagrangian Declarations, had been passed. It guaranteed all planetary peoples food, shelter, medical and dental care, counseling and education. Every newborn child was welcomed not only by its family but by its clan, its tribe, its community. Today it’s predicted that within another ten years there will be over seven billion people in space and the planetary population will stabilize. New islands will be finished at a faster rate than the increase in births – a historic moment for humanity.”
She glanced around the circle, her lips pursed together, frowning, before breaking out in a delighted smile. “Here my story ends. The rest cannot be told yet until you have lived it. Only time can ripen the fruits of this age, an age in which every member of humankind lives in fulfillment, in joy and love.” She bowed her head before pronouncing the traditional final words of the storytelling. “I am grateful for your kindness in listening to me.”
A sound began to fill the grove, a low, rich humming of many voices merged together as one. “Ommm, home, ommm.” Boxes of candles were opened and, in single file, each person came up to receive one from White Feather’s hands. They took them to the glowfire where Swift Arrow touched them to the fiery core and handed them back aflame. Flickering lights twinkled down the paths while brothers and sisters, loved ones and friends, went home into the quiet night.
Seagull and Wingfoot were almost the last to receive their candles. Together they embraced the old lady in silence, tears glistening in their eyes. Then they lit their candles and joined the procession leaving the grove. A line of lights stretched across the valley, wavering and alive, like the stars above them. The chanting voices were joined by the night sounds of the crickets and frogs. In pairs or small groups, the Tribe and their guests dispersed to their waiting homes.
“Funny how the minute we went out into space everything got better for everyone,” Wingfoot murmured to Seagull from the nest they had made on the hillside with their blankets.
“That’s because we’re finally doing what Mother Earth planned for us,” he replied. “Some day there’ll be a solid ring of habitats in orbit around the sun.”
“She wanted to flower and go to seed,” Wingfoot replied dreamily.
“And to the stars,” he said. “The stars at last!”