Shaman climbed the steep cliff, never pausing, never struggling, always sure of his grip and his footing. He sang as he climbed. He sang to himself, and to the earth and to the air. He sang to the birds and beasts and to the world. He sang of a time long ago, before the settlers came. He sang of many proud peoples, of their culture and art and the grand cities they had built. He sang a piece of the song of the land, a melody that was old before the first man was born. His song became discordant when he sang of the settlers. They could not hear the song of the land, and so they failed to find their part to sing. And, in the long years since they came, the song faded, becoming so faint as to be nearly silent. As the generations passed, fewer and fewer knew the song, until now there was only him.
At the top of the cliff was a cave. He made his way there, and built a fire. Outside, the sun set, and night sounds filled the air. Shaman threw a bundle of sage onto the fire. He made intricate designs on the cave floor with sands of vibrant colors, and added to the numerous and ancient drawings on the cave walls. And he sang. He sang the ancient song, the first song. He sang the song of the land and, faintly at first, the land began to sing to him. The melody faltered, for the land was ill and did not know her name. But he sang the song to her again, and as time passed, she began to know herself once more. As he sang, he breathed magic back into the world.
Across the land, the earth began to change. Deserts flowered, rivers swelled, trees stretched to great heights. Across the land, the works of the settlers became undone. Roads cracked and split asunder, allowing new green to grow up from their ruins. The cities crumbled, and the great machines fell silent, choked with weeds and fouled with rust. And in the silence, the children of the settlers heard the song. And many among them began to sing. Those who did not, those who could not, knew they had lost something irretrievable. But the many who could, walked out into the land and knew her at last.
In his cave, Shaman smiled. The settlers' people and his people would be one people at last. The song would be sung again, and the land made whole. As he lay down for his final rest, he sang his song one last time. He sang for the People. He sang for the Land. He sang for Magic. He sang for Life.
He sang for Hope.