In the morning I could smell the peat fires, almost smokeless, but warm, rich. Breakfast smells came after when I was very little; until the day I had to make them for myself. Water for tea; grain and milk boiled together; sweetsap from the mallen tree, and in season, petani nuts or ferberries, small and sweet.
The birds called from the forest until the sounds of the camp and the children scattered them.
I knew where everyone was; I knew who was happy and who was discontent. At need, I could accidentally talk to anyone, just by standing near their tent and joining them in casual conversation. The ebb and flow of our lives was clear, I understood it and was part of it. The click and snap of sticks led me to the place of the warriors; the humming and singing to the weaving and sewing, men and women together holding the beat in the clack and thrust of the looms; the chattering and laughter to the children, playing between their lessons.
I could stand, have stood, blindfold, dizzied, led miles from all that is familiar and oriented myself in moments, by the trees and the stars, by the sun on my face and the smell of the earth; by the shape of the very land. Secure, complete, wound vine-strong through the soul.
And here I am, rootless, unfettered by the touch of the earth. The only sounds are the high humming of electronics and the soft, relentless, unending susurration of water on the edges of this artificial island. A great mystery of the Ancients. Did they really live and love here? Was this home for them? Did it call them, hold them, fit them?
Here? In cold metal and hollow plastics and colored glass, where the faint smell of salt is everywhere and the hum of power soaks the air? Was this the place their heart called to; the place they left behind; the place whose loss broke their hearts; a matched emptiness in its halls hollowing out the core of it?
Perhaps we have something in common then. But these halls do not fill my heart; I hate the ocean's bleak desert; and there is emptiness on Athos that holds my gaze, wherever I am, no matter that the stars are against us and my people have turned their faces from me.
I want to stand barefoot on leaf covered loam and know, by the breath in my nose and the sun on my face, and the wholeness in my heart that I am home.
Summary: Teyla's secret: sometimes, she wishes... A/N Written for the sga_flashfic 'Postcards' challenge.