Article 9 – The Girl Who Saved Our Land

Kayla Wall

This story is different from any conventional story you have read before. Most stories have a single character with long blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and a smile bright enough to light up the deepest of skies. I am a single character with multiple roles; I can be anyone you want me to be — your mother, your sister, your neighbor or even a stranger. I am an unnamed symbol that represents all of those and more. This will make more sense as the story goes on.
To some of you, the weather might be the most important aspect of this story. To others, it may become a side note. To me, the weather is what made this story become what it is; without it, there would be no story. While reading, please keep that in mind.
Like most couples, my husband and I wanted nothing more than to start a family. He desired a little boy, someone he could take to baseball games, play sports with, and mold to become nothing like the way his father had molded him to be. For me, I wanted a healthy baby! Since becoming pregnant, I’ve imagined a child without gender, a baby wrapped in a grey cotton blanket. To me, this baby represents a child of its own gender, a healthy baby that has the world in its hands… Or so I thought, my baby would have the power you could not have imagined….
As I said before, my hopes and dreams aren’t the most important factor of this story; the weather is. Where I live, there are vast crops, fields full of bright yellow canola flowers, light brown wheat heads, and smiling sunflower faces that reach further than the eyes could see. Thanks to an abundant amount of rain, our food has been plentiful. However, this year was different. The crop sizes were so small that they had no flowers at all because the rain never came. Everything is dried and drier to the point that I could almost feel the earth crack. In all my life I’ve never seen anything like it. This was the worst thing that has ever happened to my village and my people.
The days worsened, people perished, and the rain never came. The air was thinner and thinner as if the world around me was going to end soon. The grave look of the land came to my dreams, and they horrified me. I spent my days praying to the creator of all things for the rain to fall around us. I wanted the creator to know that I would do whatever it took to make this happen. The land it was before was no longer the same. The mountains, which once were covered in vast snow, laid bare. The riverbeds that once held the water were dry. We were left with sand and a world of deep emptiness. The world was now a scary and dark place, a place no one wanted to be. My village, my people, and the life my partner and I created were all I had left. Life seemed to be turbulent, and only then did I feel the presence of an evil spirit lurking in my village. Despite the terrible situation, I had a positive outlook: my unborn child would grow stronger as the days came along.
As the months grew longer and seasons changed, the evil energy surrounding the village intensified. Homes were lost, families were torn apart due to infidelity, and a new sickness spread that shortened the lives of our people. Luckily for my unborn baby and me, we were not affected by what we now call the ‘dark matter,’ I could feel the arrival of my child approaching to the world. This was the only thing that kept the joy in the eyes of my family and my people. The unborn baby became an inspiration for us to survive the horrific world we were living in.
The valley of earth that once was beautiful has now become a myth rather than a memory. Families told stories of how the land contained fields of flowers with the most fragrant smells. To the children whose memories long faded, this was something they couldn’t even dream of. Our village lost hope that our “lost land” would once return.
Six sun sets later, the tightening in my stomach started; the day I waited so long for was finally here. Before I knew it, I thought I would have the little baby wrapped in a grey blanket nestled in my arms. A few short, painful minutes later, I heard the cry of my perfect newborn baby girl, to my husband’s disappointment, though. Seconds later, the crying stopped. I knew it was because she saw me, or so I thought. What was supposed to be my most joyful day turned into my most tragic.
When the crying stopped, so did her heart. Just like that, the baby wrapped in a cotton blanket was suddenly taken from me. The evil spirit took away the only good hope my people had left. We were suddenly left with nothing but hatred in our hearts. Hatred for the doctors that couldn’t have saved her. Hatred of the emptiness I was feeling deep inside. Hatred towards my husband and myself for not being able to do anything to save our baby. Most of all, hatred towards the evil spirit as I knew he took her from me. He took her and kept her for himself.
Moments later, the sounds of my late daughter’s cries filled the air. As the sounds got louder, the sky started to cry too. The rain came, and it didn’t stop for a long time. The dried lakes and rivers were now filled with water. The crops grew to be the vast fields they were, and the animals returned. At that moment I realized the evil spirit didn’t take my daughter for himself, but she made her own heart stop. She gave her life to save my people, to save our land. I, now and forever, will believe my daughter’s tears fill our rivers and make our crops grow. I will forever be grateful to her, for the new life she gave to my people.
Eventually, the land returned to what it once was. The fragrant smells that became a dream were once again a reality. The mountains were covered in snow, and the dry land disappeared. The world that seemed so dark was enlightened with fresh and rich land.
For many of you, this story is just a myth and stories people tell their children. To me, it’s real because I lived it. This is more than just a story; this is how my people’s land came to be. No one ever realizes how much the land can change someone or someone can change the land. They don’t realize that the land is what keeps us connected to each other. Losing land is losing life. My daughter taught us this. She showed us that without land, we have nothing. By taking the land away from us, we were shown that by treating it poorly, we were hurting our people. We took back our land because she sacrificed herself to save us. She will always be the girl who saved our land.

Author’s Bio: Kayla Wall, a 30-year-old single mother, is studying in the Bachelor of Arts program with Social Work intent at UCN. She was born and raised in Thompson, Manitoba, the oldest of her two siblings. At a very young age, she started writing poems to entertain her family. She is very open and wears her heart on her sleeve. She is currently working at the Medicine Lodge in the Community of Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation. She believes that it only takes one person to make a difference in the world.

Instructor’s Remarks: I am very pleased to see Kayla in this edition of Muses from the North. Kayla’s story began months ago during a class of mine on the topics of creative writing and writing in the digital humanities, and as soon as I read it through for the first time, I knew I had to recommend it for publication. Over this semester, I have seen Kayla grow both as a creative writer and as a good essay writer. I want to thank Kayla for her energetic presence and dedication. I think her future is going to be a very creative one, so we all should pay attention to what she is creating now. (Dr. Gilbert McInnis, Assistant Professor, Coordinator, UCN Writing Centre)

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