The needle lay tremulously hovering over the compass rose, pointing at Maya’s chest, even though she was facing North, holding the instrument parallel to the water below, the right side of her body – face, arm, leg – all awash in a cascade of the equatorial Sun’s morning rays. The cardinal points of the compass, carved into the brass an eternity before she was born, are impossibly delicate and she wonders absently how human hands could etch with such subtle grace. Eight overlapping spearhead arrows radiate from the center of the rose, the clear half of each arrow polished smooth, the adorned half pierced and engraved from base to point, ornate with minute paisley curls, vines, mountain juniper berries, cones, and leaves. In the quadrants of the turntable between the cardinal compass points, gossamer strokes unveil billowing clouds with wide open eyes, frowning eyes, laughing eyes, full round cheeks and lips pursed, all blowing relentless winds into turgid sails of hardy ships on open seas where whales’ tails skim the surface and tentacles from the deep curl above the water, then sink down below, swooping upwards and outwards, before tapering off where they just brush the edge of the eastern point shielding part of the sun. Maya watches the patterns under the rose, listening to the brassy sunlight bounce into the carved metal, tinsel shreds of Chiëng’s halo floating on the water all around, glinting, shimmering, almost chiming in their muted collision with the surface of the lake. Nearby, a family of hippos ambles along, the smallest calf trotting behind his mother’s stately gait. A red-breasted gonolek whistles, punctuating the air, and a herd of lake-island elephants emerges from the bush to wade into the shore, sacred ibis and cattle egrets alighting on their backs. The crystalline waters of Nam Lolwe glimmer gently, blending sun and sound around Maya’s drifting vessel at the center of the Earth.