Before the Sky People got here, we only looked at the ground. There was no reason to look anywhere else; all that we needed came from under us. We sowed the land, we mined the earth, we dug for water, and we bedded down at dusk. Saplings thickened and grew coarse with bark and sprouted right out of our perspective. We were skilled at knowing the pace at which the grass grew, at mapping the highways of ants. We had bent backs and arms that waved out in front of us. We learned to love one another by the sound of our voices.
On that day the Sky People arrived, a heavy rain was falling. We weren't worried about where it came from: it only mattered that it washed down the hills in foamy brown rivers, that the mud was rising over the tops of our boots. We groped with our arms through the whited-out rainscape to search for shelter from the storm. We crouched together, keeping our eyes downcast toward the burgeoning flood. If we had looked up, we would have seen them fall. But we only heard them arrive: like the rain that they came with, they crashed through the treetops, they hurtled toward the earth and hit the ground with a groan. And there, among the mud, their filthy figures began to unfurl, and they rose up from the sodden soil and straightened their spines and shrieked a suffering shriek. Within minutes, there were dozens of them, all cast down from goodness-knows-where to rise from the earth like trees.