They had always lived on the edge.
Iai had heard of other families where they did not; on occasion, they had wandered inland and met such families. They traded in things that one could farm in a stable, calm environment; they sold things that required land and water in different ratios and which often would not do well quite so close to an edge.
But Iai’s family lived on the edge. Their home was built such that if one walked out onto the roof, in one direction would be the inland, and in the other direction, one would be looking down over the edge into the river far below. Their front porch let one sit with one’s toes dangling off into the air.
Of course, there was not much time for such things. There were always the iaini-bird eggs to gather, down along the thin edges of cliff where only Iai’s family and others like them could make their way. There were the ronuno and apree herb-plants to collect, those things that wanted the droppings of the iaini-birds and the misted air from the waterfall below. There were the nets to drop down, down, down, to haul back up full of lost goods from upriver, full of fish and shellfish and all sorts of goodies.
Then there was all that to trade to the inlanders for their mutton and chicken and grain, things that could not grow on cliffs or hanging off the edge, like Iai, like Iai’s brothers Ronu and Pree. The cycle of collect and trade, collect and trade worked like their safety lines, like the railing on the porch and on the roof – it was a bit frayed, a bit thin at times, but in the end, they managed to keep from falling over the edge.
But, feet on a ledge barely wide enough to be seen, leaning down into the iaini-bird nest to gather eggs and ronuno, Iai never forgot exactly how close that edge was.
Written to Oct. 18’s Thimbleful Thursday ChallengeWant more?