Amazon river

First published in Permaculture Design Magazine, Emergent Design #115 February/Spring issue.

JULY 1542 COMMON ERA, AMAZON BASIN

The scout’s legs were churning at full speed, feet pounding the well-worn, wide road into town from the river banks, adrenaline racing down his spine. It was his duty to let his superior know immediately of any consequential, unplanned activity occurring on the river. As he approached town, armed guards nodded at him and parted to make way as he sprinted towards commander Arripuna’s headquarters. Arripuna, the leader of an enormous, populous, forested area, was just finishing his final town meeting of the day when he saw his scout approaching, so he beckoned him forward to speak. The scout, despite severe shortness of breath from the miles-long run, began to recount what he had just seen rowing down the mighty river: a watercraft unlike any other with a wide hull and outfitted with tree-sized masts and several rowing oars on each side. The men aboard this unusual vessel wore reflective armor that glared in the light of the sun and was as inflexible as turtle shell. Arripuna furled his eyebrows skeptically at some of the more outrageous details as his scout still gasped for breath. The strangers were making their way downstream as fast as the rapid currents and their oars could take them, the scout added. As the sun set and the evening wore on, Arripuna’s disbelief of his initial scout’s report began to fade as more accounts began to trickle down from upstream -from the great towns of the Omagua- corroborating similar events as well as physical encounters with the oddly dressed newcomers. …