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A Spring Day

-Part One-

By Ame

The sun was still below the horizon when Ame started to wake. She opened her eyes, blinked a few times, stretched with a large yawn and then jumped out of bed.

"Ah, still dark, good!" Ame exclaimed softly. She didn't wish to awaken Akan who was sleeping in the bed opposite hers. She picked up the night light she had kept lit, and went over to him. He was such a lovely child, she thought, bending to touch his hair. He didn't often sleep overnight with her, but last night Shima had brought him with her and by the time she was ready to leave, much later than usual, Akan had been found fast asleep. Yes, Ame could honestly say, whatever path Shima might decide to eventually follow, Akan was a very good choice right now. There was a rustle of the bed clothes and a small tan head poked out of the top of the covers. Chuckling, Ame greeted the pet with a scratch and asked,

"So, where are your other friends today? Only one of you guarding him, hmm?"

The snake killer yawned and burrowed back under the covers leaving only the tip of his nose showing. Ame grinned and yawning again, turned and while walking to her clothes basket, thought about the outfit she would wear. Opening the top, Ame decided on the bright green tunic and a blue skirt found near the bottom, and pulled them out. She hadn't worn these for a while and it was good to see them.

After her morning wash, she got dressed and sat at her table. Her braid was still moderately neat from last night, but as always, she decided to fully brush out her hair. It was important to her that her appearance be perfect at the start of every morning. This morning, as every morning, Ame picked up the Bristle Boar brush that Isha had made for her, and smiled as she looked at it. Isha had made such beautiful things, when he finished them. After brushing out her hair, she decided to re braid it into four medium and four small, the small ones divided outside the medium ones. Ame took the medium ones and braided them together into a single large one, pinning that to the top of her head in a rising spiral. She then took a small braid from either side of her head and leaving a loop that fell underneath her ears, she pinned those to the back of her head beneath the spiral, leaving the ends free. The two remaining small braids were left hanging.

After patting her hair all over to make sure it would not dislodge whilst gardening, she then started searching through her small, but overflowing jewelry basket. She chose thin gold bracelets, two on each ankle and wrist. After much decision between her necklaces, the two simplest went around her neck. These were just very fine golden chains, but the simplicity spoke to her today. For her ears, she decided on a pair of the wide, but finely worked earrings as contrast. Then, for a finishing touch, a pair of woven leather sandals with gold accents. As she was leaving, Ame spotted a pot of sweet-smelling oil that she had made from the leaves of a plant she had found out near the oasis. She picked it up and lifted the stopper. The scent was green, slightly floral, with a hint of lemon grass. She sighed and put a drop under the front of her tunic.

Her morning dress rituals more than complete, Ame went to prepare first-meal for Akan, herself and of course, a small portion for Digger. He didn't eat with her for nourishment, Ame knew, but strangely, he did like the taste of some of the foods she prepared. He never ate more than a very small amount but even that was strange for an average dune dog. Although Digger was most defiantly not your average dune dog. As she was standing there, thinking, Ame noticed what was in her stores, and picked up the bag of ground wheat.

"This will be a nice surprise for Akan when he awakens" Ame thought. He liked Ame's wheat-cakes, and she did enjoy making them. As a special treat, she also picked up the bag of dried palm fruit to make a sweet syrup.

As she was preparing first-meal, Ame spotted that her basket of sweet-root was running low and made a mental note to harvest some. She had not made sweet pies in over an eight-day and it had been more than long enough. Everyone liked them, especially the children, of which there were not enough.

"I wish the priests would leave us in peace so we could live our lives as we wish" thought Ame. She shook herself. Now was not the time to be angry, the sun was only just halfway over the horizon and food still needed to be eaten. Ame knew that anger was not good for the digestion as it made food seem inedible. She finished mixing the batter and tested the heat of the cook stones and found that they were just right. Taking the spoon, she measured out four small wheat-cakes onto the stone and stood up to check the palm fruit. As she was picking over the soaking fruit, Digger walked in and she greeted him cheerfully.

"Hello, oh large soil god." Digger turned and started to leave. "Come back you silly thing" Ame chuckled, "I know what you are here for, and they will be ready in just . . . Aah!".

She ran to the cakes and turned them over, noting that thankfully only one was burnt. She discarded it and spooned out another one to replace it. Ame made half the wheat-cakes from the batter and then finished preparing the palm syrup. Then she finished cooking the remaining cakes and put them in a basket, wrapping them in a cloth to keep warm. As she was standing up, Ame reached out to see how Akan was doing.

** Ready to rise sweeting? ** Ame inquired and received a very sleepy,

** Yes, Granma, but I finishing off dream, ok? **

** All right, but I have left you some wheat-cakes in a basket and some palm syrup to go with them when you are up **, Ame replied. **I will be in the garden, so let me know when you are awake. All right, sweeting? **

** Yes, ganma ** Akan "mumbled" faintly. Ame smiled as she picked up her head scarf and gardening tools and prepared for a wonderful day outside.

Weeding her garden, Ame noticed that Digger had again been up to his usual antics of helping till the soil. She shook her head, and wished that he would understand that the soil needed to be left alone whilst the plants were growing. Her thoughts then turned to the future crops-of what there was presently growing. There were, among many things, peppers, both hot and sweet, squash, both large yellow and small green, wheat, of which Ame was very fond of cooked fresh after harvesting, it was ever so sweet. And then, there was the ever present sweet-root, which were planted so that bunches of it were ready to harvest approximately every 2-3 eight days. It was so that she could make sweet root pies whenever the mood took her, which just happened to be when a bunch was ready to harvest.

There were also the burrowing beans which were so called because the pods dug themselves into the ground as they started to develop. That somehow reminded her of the corn, as it didn't seem to be doing well this season. Maybe it was because the seed corn itself had worried her last year. The kernels seemed so small and shriveled during harvesting. It could be that the solution was for one of the hunt to go to the village fields and "borrow" some of their seed corn once their crop was ready to harvest, but then wondered if maybe she should go get it herself after all instead of bothering anyone else. But that was not to be worried about right now, as she knew it would not be ready for at least six eights of time.

Ame then started weeding around the patch of red globe fruit. She always planted lots of these as Digger seemed to especially pick on them. Ame could not understand why, as she had never seen anyone like the taste of them as much as Digger. This caused Ame to chuckle. Every time she even thought about using them, He would appear as if by magic, begging for one.

Her thoughts were disrupted at the sound of a frenzied yelping that she recognized as Digger. She ran to find out what was wrong and discovered Digger trying to scramble backwards with his foot stuck in a small hole. "What is wrong Digger?" Ame said as she got nearer, and was suddenly struck at how the ground near the caught foot seemed to be moving. She prodded the loose ground with her weeding stick and the soil just seemed to explode. There was a loud screech and a small dark shape scurried away. She stared as the small animal ran a distance and then dug itself back into the ground. Ame ran to where the animal had dug itself in, and found a patch of disturbed earth. Kneeling down, she started to dig into the loosened patch, but quit after realizing that there was no obvious burrow to follow. She leaned back and quickly composed herself before rising to attend Digger.

"Well, let's see what damage has been done" Ame growled as she returned to where Digger sat, licking his paw.

She took his paw in her hands and inspecting it, said "Well, it doesn't look like there is any damage, but I would feel much better if it was bathed." She stood up and brushed off her hands. "And I must say, it's amazing, because for once I'm actually grateful that you were digging this time."Ame paused walking past the garden. " I must be mad for saying this, but, I think you deserve a treat for disturbing that animal. Who knows what it was doing there..." Digger pricked up his ears, but quickly cowed as Ame turned, pointing. "But don't you dare think that it gives you free rein in my garden. I work very hard to grow plants, not targets. You . . . "

**Grandma, I awake now, you said to tell you when I awake ** Akan piped in with, breaking Ame's tirade. She took a deep breath and replied,

**Yes sweeting, very good. Thank you for letting me know, I'll be there in just a finger. Why don't you see if mommy is awake, Ok? I'm sure she would like to talk to you. **

** I already try, but mommy busy, she out catching food **

**Yes, That's right darling, I forgot, she did tell me that yesterday. Thank you for reminding me. **

Ame walked through the doorway with Digger and motioned him towards the kitchen. "Now you just wait over there while I attend to Akan. I won't be long."

There was a loud squeak as Ame opened the curtain to the sleeping area. "Grandma, I dressing self, see!"and was very busy trying to put his shirt on upside down.

"Yes darling, " Ame replied, trying not to laugh, "I can see, but have you washed first?"

Akan paused, and looked up. "I forgot, but can I wash after get dressed?"

Ame shook her head. "No, you know the rules here. Wake up, wash, get dressed, brush hair, and then, eat."

Akan sighed and struggling, took off his shirt. "Ok, but when I big, I do things my way. Hard work getting dressed." Ame smoothed down his ruffled hair with a smile then pulled out the wash bowl and cloth, and proceeded to help Akan start the day properly.

Part Two of A Spring Day