The Candle On The Roof

by m.s.wardrip

“To the roof to light the candle”

Intishi came softly stepping into the room, holding a sack of fresh corn. She smiled at her Mother and Father as she sat the bag on the side table. They smiled too because they knew this signaled completion of her chores. She could now relax at home and do what she wanted to.

The baby had come in April and her husband, Toncha, had left on a hunting/scouting mission with other hunters in May. It was now June and Mama and baby wished for his timely return. Each night Intishi and her baby would climb the stairs to the top of the pueblo to place a candle on the roof. She did this in remembrance and hope that husband and father, Toncha, would return safely from the hunting trip. Sadly, Toncha never returned, but she kept lighting the candle nightly and continued the ritual until she met and married another man, years later, a warrior named Kathan. Kathan was kind and strong and always respected the love she had for her first husband. What is interesting, is the mysterious things that happened on the roof during the time she lit the candles. Intishi spoke little of it for fear of the tribe holding her in lower esteem for having communion with foreign spirits. Her baby boy, Teneki, knew of these apparitions that had occurred through the years and offered to speak at length about them.

The first anomaly that occurred were what are commonly referred to as “orbs”, floating spheres of white light almost like a floating bubble, but less defined and moving more mysteriously. She’d light the candle and they would start slowly circling, one at a time, until there were a half a dozen or more floating in mid air around the area of the candle. Other times, they heard voices, softly talking, singing, crying and laughing. Once a figure with a face danced up out of the fire and spoke up.

It said in a very understandable voice, “This is a time of calm. There is no stress. We are at ease.”, and it vanished as quick as it flared up. Another time, the voice said, “I am here. I am always here. You can find me here.” Yet, another time, the voice rose from the flame with a shadowy face that morphed and moved in the firelight, showing face wrinkles and glittering eyes, and whispering, “Keep my people in the know. Make sure they know the tribe is very old and the leadership must continue to lead us into the new.”

Teneki and Intishi did just that, they led the tribe into a new day. Teneki went into the wilderness for a month of private purging, meditation and communion with spirit elders. He came out a chief among men.

Well respected is the new leader of the Tamlo Tribe, Teneki. Intishi lives on land set aside for special tribe members, has a staff of groundskeepers and assistants that help her manage the acreage and home. He has ordered that a candle be lit on top of the meeting house nightly and that tradition has now evolved to a permanent gas light, always shining, twenty-four hours a day, never going out. He says it symbolizes the tribe’s union with earth and spirit.

On warm nights, from a distance you can see and hear, through the flames dancing upwards with sparks in the arid dry desert stillness, the lapping tongues and the blinking eyes of the hunter spirit, Toncha and his band of hunter scouts that never returned to their village camp. They sing a song as they dance in a circle through the fire. The drums beat a slow drone and the flutes and whistles harmonize. A bell rings and all sound stops. In the still of the night, a soft but firm voice speaking in a language unknown but understandable to all ears says in a mournful and subdued tone, “We are one in spirit and we unite in peace. With unity comes responsibility, we can overcome darkness with light. We can overcome death with life. We can overcome fear with confidence. We can overcome hate with love. We can be at peace, loving and happy with each other, respectful of our small differences, discovering and growing happier and healthier as we go. We are one. We are we and we light candles on the roof.