When the maize ripened the rains began and came then the four walking masks. Together the masks came through the dripping trees walking silently in the dark blue night. At the edge of the maize field they halted their walking. Then, after mingling through the maize stalks, at the center of the maize field they halted their walking. There, at the center of the maize field, the four masks interlocked their arms. The red mask interlocked his arm with the green mask's arm. The green mask interlocked his arm with the yellow mask's arm. And the yellow mask interlocked his arm with the white mask's arm. The four masks began then to quietly chant. Then the four masks began to silently walk again through the maize stalks in the rain of the dark blue night.
Arm in arm the four masks walked.
In a circle the four masks walked.
The four masks trod down a small circle of maize stalks in the center of the field of maize. The four masks trod down the maize stalks with their bare feet. The four masks pressed with their bare feet the ripened maize into the sodden earth. They chanted as they did this. Then the four masks began to walk again. A second circle the four masks trod down, circumambulating the first. Then a third circle they trod down. Then a fourth. Ever-larger circles, the four masks walked, trodding down the field of stalks, until, with their bare feet they had pressed the whole of the ripened maize into the sodden earth.
The odor of these doings permeated the dark blue night. The odor wafted richly, as pungent as a birthing womb. The smell of the wet trodden maize stole heavily through the raindrops, succulent, tactile. The odor I remember most; the odor, first, and then the four masks. I remember the four masks changing expression as they chanted. And the chanting, I remember, the rhythm of their chanting in time with the cracking and swishing of the maize stalks falling in the drum of rain. But the odor I remember most; the sweet odor of the ripe trodden maize being pressed into the sodden earth. It was cold that night but the four masks did not build a fire. Lightning fell, but there was no fire. The moon shone, but there was no fire.
I am ashamed telling you this. A white man is not supposed to see these things. And if he sees them, he should keep them to himself.