Twelve lunar cycles had passed since leaving the Garden Land to prepare for the coming of the red rains. Like my mother before me, all the daughters of the Garden Land, my sisters and I, must make the journey from woman child to woman, together.
It is a journey we all look forward to. It is also a journey of great regret. This is the beginning of the end of our childhood. When we return, we will not be the same. Our mature life will have begun.
The journey had been a quiet one. Our eyes had been covered. We were not allowed to speak. Our names had been taken away. Our child selves must symbolically die on the journey and so must our relationship as childhood friends.
The journey lingered for so many days I lost count of how long it was taking. One day led into the next as if we were going in a continuous path of circles. Wherever we were going, it is getting cooler as we climb going higher and higher.
All along the way, I listened for voices I could recognize. I heard none.
No one leading us to our destination ever spoke.
I was proud of my sisters. We were already handling ourselves like the mature women we would be on our return. Not one of us ever cried out in fear. Our faith in our families and in ourselves kept us from fear.
We finally stopped. We sat for what seemed like hours. Although I could not see, I could tell day had become night.
We moved forward to the sound of a horn. It seemed to announce our arrival. A gate opened and we crossed a bridge back to solid ground.
For a complete cycle we saw no one. We spoke to no one. No one spoke to us.
We were placed in very small rooms. With the covering away from my eyes, I still could not see. My room was a very small dark place.
Here we contemplate the end of our life in darkness and wait for the coming of light to lead us to new life. Birth is described in the same language as death.
Both take place simultaneously. In the great circle of life, birth is the beginning of the path leading to death and death is the beginning of the path leading to life. This is the way of the seed. For now, I am a seed dying in the earth waiting to be born through the womb of the earth.
During my stay in the darkness, my wait for the coming of the red rains is complete. In solitude, my childhood had surrendered to the door opening the way for the seed of new life.
End of Part One