Chapter 1: The First Dawn
"What time is it," little Scruffy asked. His mama, peeked in the doorway and frowned. "Much too late for little skunks to be stirring in their beds." Scruffy's mama entered the room and tucked the covers. "Sleep littleun," she said in a kind voice. "You need your rest."
But little Scruffy couldn't shut his eyes. His mind was buzzing with ancient tales he learned the day before. It was a story describing the time before skunks and other woodland creatures. "Tell me more of the First Dawn," little Scruffy asked.
"It's too late for that now. Ask me tomorrow. Now I don't want to hear any more from you." She closed the door and left Scruffy in the dark to watch the luminescent dial on the clock turn to 3:55. It didn't really matter if his mother was willing to tell the story again. Scruffy memorized every word. He repeated the ancient myth in his mind...
In the beginning, the world only consisted of water and air. There was no land. The dim starlight was not strong enough to penetrate into the deep sea. Creatures of the ocean and creatures of the air never met in this twilight world until a few animals of the sea learned how to breathe air while some birds learned how to swim. It was then a turtle, bobbing along the waterline, met a goose paddling on the ocean. It was a shock for both of them to learn that the other world inhabited creatures, for they had never seen any living thing from the other realm before. The goose and turtle began to talk.
The goose explained that the birds in the sky have no place to rest their wings while the turtle said that the lack of light in the ocean made all the swimming creatures blind. Fish bumped into turtles and turtles bumped into sea lions and sea lions bumped their heads on the rocky ocean floor. It was a most unpleasant existence.
"What is a rock" the goose asked? The turtle swam down to the bottom of the sea for a sample. And when the turtle surfaced with a stone in his mouth the goose was flabbergasted.
News of this chance encounter spread quickly. The birds learned about the hard stuff called rock while the fish learned about light. It was then the birds and sea creatures decided to have a meeting at the waterline.
It was an exciting event. The fish, for the first time, jumped out of the water to talk to the birds while the birds dove into the sea to talk to the fish. That is why we have diving birds and flying fish today.
It was decided that the birds and sea creatures would work together. From the depths of the ocean the sea creatures would bring land to the surface. From the sky the birds would bring light to the oceans.
In the skies, the birds chose six of the strongest geese to fly high into the heavens. They pulled a star down to the atmosphere and created a sun. The world instantly warmed. But it got too hot in one place and the sea began to boil. It was then the birds got together and flapped their wings as hard as they could. By doing this, they created wind. The sun began to travel around the world in circles, heating the world by day and letting it cool by night. Birds still do this today. Look at a bird perched on a rock or a branch and you will notice it flapping its wings. The bird doesn't want to fly. It is only making sure the sun is still sailing across the sky.
The ocean creatures knotted seaweed to make a fine rope. Then they tethered it to the ocean floor, gathered their strength, and pulled upward. For the first time dry land merged with the sky. The birds, excited to see this, helped pull on the seaweed ropes until the ocean floor was well above the water. It was a glorious rocky outcrop decorated with clinging starfish, muscles and clams. Birds for the first time had a place to land and rest their weary wings. And when the sun rose in the sky for the first time, the rocky minerals on the new island sparkled in the sunlight. The animals rejoiced. This was the First Dawn.
Many other islands were formed over the years. Loving the new dry land, ocean kelp washed ashore and blossomed into bushes and trees while the sea anemones slithered onto the islands, planted their feet, and turned into beautiful flowers. Some birds decided never to fly again, plucking their wings short and walking on their feet.
Over time, land gave birth to woodland creatures. The mighty bear, the slinky cougar, the wide-eyed squirrel, and the most revered of all animals, the magnificent skunk, were all born from the first island. The animals of the sea and the animals of the air were ever so happy that their efforts spawned these new creatures. As islands turned into forested continents, the First Island was left bare as a memorial to the time when everyone worked together to make a positive difference."
Scruffy tossed and turned. Oh, how he wanted to visit Aurora island. But, where could it be? It was said that the wondrous place was forgotten and lost. There must be clues, Scruffy thought to himself. As he finally fell asleep, Scruffy vowed to hunt for Aurora Island.
The morning sun arrived quickly for nocturnal Scruffy but he was too excited to sleep in. He had an Island to find! It took no time at all for little Scruffy to preen and eat a protein enriched breakfast of grubs and eggs before he packed up for the adventure. He collected supplies for the trip. And as he passed the tire swing in the back yard he wondered how long it would be before he would return.
As the sun began to rise, it cast a luminous hue over the land. Scruffy looked skyward, for he knew a fire red sky in the morning was an omen. But what stops a headstrong skunk? Definitely not a red sky.