The herbs grew in the shade, overlooking the harbor in Monterey, Alta California. Brown pelicans flew in formation on the ocean breezes. “See the birds? They release seeds to grow new plants here. We all have a purpose.”
“When will I learn all these things? What is my special purpose?” Sparrow moved clumsily, unaccustomed to the changes taking place in her body. In some ways, she resembled Mama Nina’s people, the Chumash, with her dark hair and eyes. “Why do I grow so tall?” Her long legs, enormous feet, and large hands were like Papa’s, who was an American.
“You will know your purpose when it is your time. It is our way.” Mama Nina bent to gather handfuls of coyote brush. “See this? It is good for skin burns and rash. We also use it for tea.” She pushed the brush into her sack. “You grow tall like your papa, Sparrow, not like my people. This is as it should be.”
“I may be half-good—the part of me with your Indian blood. But these enormous feet do not fit into my shoes. When Papa comes back, I need new shoes to impress him.” Sparrow’s slippers were made from her friend Josefina’s castoffs.
“You need new shoes for new journeys.” Mama Nina looked down at Sparrow’s feet. “I see you are outgrowing those hand-me-downs.”
“He is coming back, right?” Sparrow’s papa never visited now that his American family had moved to Monterey. Still, Sparrow knew she would see her papa again, even though the newcomers were disturbing Native ways and tribal people were disappearing from the territory.
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