Once, long ago when the skies crackled the lightening and the seas rolled with waves as tall as mountains, the world we know was born.
The night sky twinkled with 10,000,000 stars, and the day sky was alive with the brilliance of a close star, the Sun. Sunbeams reflected in clouds that shone like polished mirrors. The Earth was covered with a beautiful blanket of swirling water, lovely but fierce.
In all this beauty, nothing moved, save the sky and sea. There were no fishes, no whales, and no dolphins in the waters. There was no land, and so, no humans, or tiger, or lizards or bugs. And in the sky, no butterflies, no bees, and no birds, save one.
The only creature who existed was Atoya, the Great Albatross. She who would birth and mother the world we know. Her great body was longer than a football field and her mighty wings spread wide as a city. She was born of lightning and seafoam on a brilliant day, long, long ago. It was when the lightening struck the sea and raised foam high into the air. The foam vibrated with the energy of the Universe and as it dropped back toward the sea, it took form and became a gigantic glistening Albatross.
For a million years the great bird flew over the oceans and looked for others like herself, but there were none. She was lonely beyond all imagining, Her only comfort were the star, the lightening, the sea, and the wind who whispered the word Atoya. Since wind was her closest companion She came to think of Atoya as Her name, since it was the sound the wind spoke to Her.
"What am I to do friend wind? Friend stars? Friend sea? Friend lightening?" She asked.
The wind did not answer, the stars did not answer, the sea did not answer. Only lightening answered with a crack and a boom.
One single bolt of lightening struck deep into the sea, it dove deep, blazing with light. Past the waves, past the depths, past the swirls and currents, past all that Atoya knew and into the heart of the Earth.
As stars, wind and sea watched, lightening brought forth a gush of bright red liquid. There had never been red before and all were amazed. Up it came, past the swirls and currents, past the depths, past the waves, and into the sky in a blazing red pillar of fire liquid. Up, up, up it soared, and down, down, down it fell, turning black and gray as it fell. And where it fell, there grew great solid mounds.
On and on it spewed, for years and years and years. It spewed bright hot red fire liquid until plains, and valleys and mountains had joined the mounds. The sea at last had a friend to touch and caress, the stars had a solid form to look upon, and lightening had a solid place to strike, but Atoya still was lonely, for She was the only creature who breathed.
Her sadness grew steadily, until one day when the tears came. Flying over the sea and the great mounds, Her sadness was too much to bear any longer, and Atoya began to cry. Her tears fell upon the water and the mounds, and the plains and the valleys and the mountains. The tears that landed on the sea disappeared beneath the waves. Those that landed on solid ground slid across the hard dark surface and flowed into the Earth. Then something amazing happened, with each tear She shed, a small green plot appeared. Slowly at first, barely visible and tiny, the green came bursting from the Earth and into the sunlight.
Atoya cried for 10,000 years and stopped only when She accepted the fact that She might always be alone, with her friends the stars, wind, sea and lightening.
Sea was the first to notice that something was happening. Deep beneath her waves, Ocean felt the stirrings of small creatures. At first, she thought they were just little currents and swirls, but soon she knew the truth. She said nothing, this was her own delicious secret, and she had never had a secret before. When the life inside her became strong and abundant she spoke.
"Friend Atoya, I am sorry you are sad, but I thank you for your tears." Ocean said in deep rumbling waves.
"Thank me?" Atoya asked perplexed. "Why do you thank me, friend Ocean?"
"I thank you because every tear you shed upon me became a new living creature. I am full of living, breathing things!" The Sea said proudly, swooshing each word.
"Living? Breathing? Like me?" Atoya gasped, She was beside herself with excitement.
"Your tears held life, come and look upon it." Ocean said.
Sure enough, there just beneath the waves Atoya saw them, shining and brilliant, swimming and floating and moving happily beneath the waves. There were anemones and fish of all colors, creatures with eight legs, starfish and tiny plankton by the millions, whales and crabs and dolphins and corals all embraced by Oceans briny essence.
Atoya spread Her massive wings and flew happily above the waves looking at each creature with amazement and delight. She began to laugh, giggle, and call out in joy.
"Come and see, dear friends, we are no longer alone! Friend stars, friend lightening, friend wind, come and see!" She shrieked. "Come and see all the living things in friend Ocean!"
Wind blew by and was astonished to see a whale leap into his path, from beneath Ocean's waves. The stars saw their light reflected by a million, million tiny scales acting like mirrors, glistening just under Ocean's swirling surface. Lightening danced in the sky to celebrate the wondrous day.
Atoya flew to the tallest mound to reflect on the miracle of life. All this new life had sparked something in Her, and She was happy.
When daylight came, there were even more surprises. The sun shone upon the mounds, the plains, the valleys, and the mountains, but they were no longer lifeless humps and dips.
Green growing things covered most of the land. Where it had been only barren rock and dirt, now green things grew. All over the land in small clumps, plants and trees and flowers appeared. There were even small mossy tufts growing where Atoya had slept on the mountain.
Atoya spread Her massive wings and flew over the land, dropping a feather here and there. She could not believe the beauty of the green, and in Her frenzy of joy, Atoya shook a thousand feathers from Her wings.
As each feather floated gently to Earth, animals were born. Wherever a feather landed, it was transformed into an animal. Feathers gently fell upon the ground, and within a twinkling, each feather stretched, transformed and became a unique living creature. There were lizards, and cats and elephants and Opossums. There were mice, wolves, beavers, antelope and hyenas. Also upon the ground were snails and snakes and spiders and ants. Butterflies took wing and filled the air above the flowers along with bees and dragonflies.
Life was exploding into being everywhere Atoya looked, and at last, She was truly a part of a living world.
Each day that passed brought new and unexpected gifts from the Earth and Sea. Atoya still spent most of Her time with Her ancient friends, wind, stars, lightning and Ocean, for the realm that was Her true home was high above the Earth. She was a creature of the air. Atoya longed for companions to fly free with, but alas, for all the creatures of Earth and Sea, there were none that shared Her gift of flight. There were none but those who swam or crawled or slithered. They were Her family, and she loved them, but She still longed to soar and reel and dive with companions.
Atoya wanted to show the others how magic and beautiful the wind felt beneath a wing, and how lovely the stars were up close. Only the insects shared Her gift for flying, but they could not fly high and soar as She could.
One night atop the great mountain, Atoya did something very strange. She began to gather twigs and sticks and dried leaves from the valley below, and carry them to the top of the mountain. The animals watched and wondered what on Earth She was doing. Atoya would have told them, if She had known herself, but She did not.
Slowly and patiently She picked up each twig in Her beak and wove it into a sort of circle, when it was finished, She placed leaves and moss in the bottom and settled down to sleep upon Her new creation.
The night passed quickly and still she slept, Atoya slept for one hundred days and one hundred nights before awakening. All of Her friends wondered what was happening, but She was smiling in Her sleep, and so they waited patiently for Her to awake.
Atoya awoke with a smile and a secret of Her own, life had been growing inside Her, just as it grew in Ocean. She sat on Her nest for the next few days and then called to Her friend to come and visit Her. There was great excitement among the creatures. Only, wind, lightening, stars and ocean knew what was about to happen.
When the creatures reached the top of the mountain, there Atoya sat atop her nest and thirteen shimmering eggs. There were eggs of all colors, each more beautiful than the next.
When all the creatures had gathered, Atoya smiled, spread Her massive wings and stood up. She stepped away from the nest and gazed at it proudly. Soon the slightest pecking sounds could be heard and one by one, tiny holes appeared in the eggs. The first egg to open revealed owl, raven and albatross, tumbling into the nest. The other eggs open quickly and out spilled downy chicks of all kinds, there were; pheasants, hummingbirds, hawks, robins, chickadees, swans, finch, chickens, egrets, wrens, eagles, bluebirds, condors, gulls, parrots, jays, penguins, toucans, and tiny ostrich.
Soon, the nest was a symphony of song and warbling of all manner. Atoya looked at Her brood and Her friends and smiled, they were all so different, so beautiful, so wonderful. They were all miracles of life. The chicks grew and filled the skies, and life on the Earth and in the Sea renewed itself
Atoya spread Her wings wide and soared into the heaven to thank wind, stars, and lightning, then swooped low to thank Ocean.
There was just one thing still missing, one thing the Great Albatross still had to do. She flew to the top of the mountain and gathered the eggs shell pieces in Her nest, then She asked the other creatures to put a bit of their fur, or a scale, or something of themselves into the nest. None of the creatures understood, but they were happy to help their friend. Atoya gripped the nest with Her mighty beak and flew back to friend Ocean.
"Ocean, may I gather some of your water in my nest?" She asked.
"My creatures will not miss a nestful, yes, you may dear friend." Ocean said happily.
Atoya filled the nest with Ocean's water and flew high into the sky. She flew and flew, until She found just the right spot in the sky. Then She fluttered her feathery wings over the nest and spun in circles, high above the clouds. Atoya spun and spun until even the stars were dizzy. When She stopped spinning the nest, the fur, the scales, the egg shells, and leaves all were gone, and there in the sky, in their place, was a round, glowing sphere.
She called Her creation the Moon. It was a glowing, glimmering nightlight that the Great Albatross created for all Earth's creatures. Seeing the beauty of the Moon, She set it spinning around with the power of Her great wings, and set it to reflect the light of the nearest star friend, the Sun. She set the Moon to move in phases, so that all would remember the time before Moon, and the every changing cycles of life and creation.