Our story begins on October 7, 2010 -
October 7th 2010, Ria Vanden Eynde wrote in a fb thread, commenting on an illustration to the Mount Analogue Posting: "We should do a story ourselves, etc" a line leading up to ...
Featuring 'Blue' knitted and sent with food supply by Mara Thompson.
So it Begins
M.T. Our small band of aching climbers arrived at the next hut with images of dinner dancing in our heads... (* is that dinner dancing as in romance or dinner dancing as in edibles? I don't know). Stomachs supplied the rumbling percussive beat, as our settling in chores were carried out. The rhythm of working together was palpable, the particular physics of the mountain either brought actual pulsing to the airspace or I was closer to collapse than I realized.
Ria Vanden Eynde leads a pitch - blue squirrels look onR.V. E. It was probably the latter. From the corner of my eye I saw the sturdiest of our party struggling to open a can. It was the climber after M.T who had started to talk weird gibberish. He was the 2 nd climber to spot a blue squirrel. The others had written it down to thin air or hunger, but it persisted.
S. S. He started to bang the can on the nearby rock. It would not open but with his mighty powerful strength he dented the can in such a way that the tin morphed into the appearance of a squirrel. As he continued his grunts and chattering a burly blue squirrel with his huge majestic tale twitching, obviously the leader, hopped over to meet this odd squirrel totem.
Big Blue: A sign!
M.T. Silence. The natural world paused as if between breaths. The wind stilled, air became heavy with expectation and no sound from bird, animal or insect. All eyes turned to the leader of the blues as he eyed the can... he came closer... and reached out to gently tear the label off the can, folding it nicely in 8ths and stashed it in his cheek.
W.E. I looked up from my stew, quietly regarding Blue, and wondered if there was any significance to a Campbell's soup label.
10/8/10W.E. More than once idle curiosity about the significance of gestures has lead me to a state of torpor. Thin air or thin aeries? The mind is difficult enough to spin at sea level.
Isn't he in danger from choking on a label?
Why did we ...bring cans?
R.V.E. Ouch-now he cut his little sweet paw as he tried swiftly to get the beans out of the can. W.E. had eyed him in a way he lost fine physio-motoric control. I heard someone yell in despair 'Thin Air!'
Big Blue: "This is it! This is it! Gather! Gather!"
R.V.E. I decided there and then to adjust my hat.
10/9/10M.T. Blue began to waver, his fur tips winking in various shades of burgundy as he faded from view. Thin air indeed! At the same time, in adjusting her hat R.V.E.'s attention was... diverted and she inadvertently stepped right where Blue had been. As we watched in silent disbelief, she too faded like a story book Cheshire cat and was gone before the empty tin can hit the ground. It happened so quickly; Blue gone and then R.V.E., but it felt like slow motion.
I'm thinking that they may have taken a previously undiscovered route to the fabled Blues Party. Immediately W.E. yells, "To the ropes"!
S.S. I grabbed the red rope.....and pulled with all my strength to rescue R.V.E., my arms ready to be torn from my body...I managed to see what I thought was her blue hat shimmering back to reality...only to find the largest glove emerging flying towards me....I let go and started to run up the rocks.....panting... thinking I am losing my mind.....where is W.E. where is anyone....
M.T. M.T. woke up. Wump... something flew by and hit the ground. I picked it up, thinking vaguely “it’s a glove?” it was covered with drawings. Just then S. S. appeared, wide eyed and breathless, though recovering quickly, she said, "We need to count noses and blow whistles". I quickly tucked the glove into my belt and we scrambled back down to the hut as she explained what had transpired.
S.S. ... "I swear..it was huge...huge....really.... it flew directly at me…why don't you see what I see". M.T. pulled the glove out and saw a woman's face with a uni-brow dressed in a blue dress with large skulls embroidered on it. Such detail, what does this mean? I think it is a message from R.V.E....where is W.E. with his magnifying glass and his pantone book when we need him?
W.E. "Sorry friends, my thinking is slowing. We should be acclimatized, yet every thought is fraught with uncertainty. I believe this effect to be related to what deep sea divers refer to as narcosis of the deep."
Although S.S and M.T stare at me in disbelief I press on. "Compare what you know with what you see!" R.V.E has never just disappeared..has she? You see, the higher we climb the deeper we go." I reach into my rucksack and produce what I think will shed light.
"Magnifying the problem won't help in this case; we need to divide the problem into smaller pieces"
W.E. was holding a prism.
S.S. “Smaller pieces…fragmenting our minds…let me see what you see”. I gingerly pry the prism from W.E. and place it in front of my right eye. For a moment I cannot breathe and gasp for air. Colors and images emerge from this kaleidoscope and I forget where I am. Slowly they come into focus. Oh no, hundreds of blue squirrels staring back at me. I drop the prism and it shatters onto my red cowboy hiking boots shattering on the rocks. I look up to M.T. and W.E. with my hand to my mouth!
M.T. "Fragments of prism and a soup label folded in 8ths. Turned on its side equals staring at infinity."
W.E. I look from SS to MT and nod. "That's one way to look at it." MT gives SS a playful slug to the shoulder.
"Good Work; I don't know how you figured it out so fast"
MT immediately drops to one knee and examines the cowboy boots. "nice tooling" ...she manages before a fit of laughter overcomes her.
In bewilderment, SS looks to WE as he shrugs and says "lucky break".
M.T. "Let me ache", M.T. sighs... we need to have something hot and something sustaining. Echos of childhood stories push in... Pooh Bear talked about honey...and sustaining... But was that really a label folded in 8's and ate? "No, not ate", is the response... "saved for a purpose".
10/10/10R.V.E. R.V.E. opened her eyes ... in what seemed to be a prism-like kaleidoscope colorful silence. She found herself pulling a glove, not her own, from her hand.
"WTF", I uttered, "where am I and how did I get here?
And I asked myself
What is that beautiful house?
And I asked myself where does that highway go?
...And I asked myself
Am I right?...Am I wrong?
And I asked myself
MY GOD!...WHAT HAVE I DONE?"
(I only adjusted my hat.... )
"same as it ever was, same as it ever was."
I sang (!) to myself as I started to draw a Frida miniature on the glove.
I attached it to the rope ... (A piece of paper fell out of her pocket, but it went unnoticed.)
"time isn't holding us, time isn't after us
time isn't holding us, time doesn't hold you back
time isn't holding us, time isn't after us
time isn't holding us,
letting the days go by(x3)
once in a lifetime…"
I'd always been a Talking Heads fan.
M.T. M.T. and S.S. look at each other. W.E. fishes out some chocolate and passes it around... "Hey, where did these nuts come from"? We chewed.... thinking of R.V.E. and Belgium.
"Look, let's list what we know, and compare it to what we see:"
M.T. - one empty can, sans label and shaped like a squirrel
- one glove with drawings
- one broken prism
- a small store of self gathering nuts
... LOOK! Put the glove next to your boots... together they show a map, see the trail... see us here (x...3)
W.E. SS volunteers, "water flows downhill"
MT - "I was on a shore and the waves pushed up"
WE - "the sky is blue?"
MT - "I heard a story about a tribe. In their world they say: Something is either black or white. For them this was the law. The people of this tribe considered this logical. One day someone has a mystical experience. Perhaps we can say that that person has seen Blue. In the language of the tribe she says: I have seen something very impressive, it was not black or white. Everyone on the island thought she was speaking nonsense."
SS - "So they never thought to look up? and what is that sound?
M.T. As I listened a lump rose in my throat. The higher we climb, the deeper we go.
WE: "An apparent contradiction- Ria says she cant' sing but it certainly sounds like Ria singing."
R.V.E I turned around to look where I'd stumbled into, looks like a giant blue prism thing, a kaleidoscope, the light kept changing, an array of color ... What were we thinking climbing this mountain? I could just hear W.E. say 'the higher we climb, the deeper we go,' Well, I'm in some deep sh*t now! ... S.S. was right from the beginning, we're complete nuts.
Not sure if I should sing, but if they hear me, they will come. Maybe they think I'm hurt or even worse they must evacuate the mountain because of clear and present danger ... not even sure they found my message, let alone deciphered it .... hey, what's that? A bunch of small blue squirrels stroked my legs as they swooshed by. Ria, I said to myself, get yourself in gear girl, this is why you went to those core muscle workouts for; catch up with the blue chattering mongrels, after all, they might be headed for the (other) nuts ... (Ha!)
S.S. The sound of an angel singing the blues.
I turned my eyes up to the sky and saw colours sparkling within the clouds rolling by. I saw notes ♪ ♪ ♪ flying up from the mouth of the mountain. I squinted and noticed a cave entrance and stared in... disbelief. B flats D flats were flying into the air, waving with their tails to me. Wait, it was a whole blues progression. I took my wood combed diatonic harmonica out from my pouch and started to play a blues riff. I got lost in the duet with the singing and all I heard was “time isn't holding us”. Before I knew it, I was transported back to 1967 listening to “Born in Chicago” by the Butterfield Blues Band.
I passed out.
In the far distance I heard yelling. Slowly the fogginess of my hallucination started to fade…and I noticed M.T. stomping on the ground pointing at the sky. “The sky is turning blue, there is a great shadow covering the land, we must run and find cover”. We have to save Ria!
W.E was dancing and did not hear anything!
M.T. We’re in deep now,... So to get higher we must we go lower? Follow that Note! S. S. please keep playing. As she did, each note's sound set forth a small flying note.. they hovered discreetly together, joining together like soap bubbles. In a moment of clarity (believe me I recognize them when I have them, and lately they’ve been rare.) I gently cupped a by now larger note and carried it over to W.E. "Please W. use it like a straw and take a sip". In his deep groove, most certainly which has taken him higher than the rest of us, he did. His eyes opened wide. Still in a funky stance he said, "It's oxygenated"! Quickly, S and I collected some, and sipped, our brains snapped to attention. Delicious.. Bring your boots AND your Dia-Tonic!!!! R.V.E. here we come! I've got one glove and chocolate with plenty of nuts. Down the hole we scurried, following the red rope, singing the blue song, on the way to where she had gone. It's quite amazing to think of, now that we're safely home that without difficulty we came to a large cavern. There was light. The roof was cave punctuated in random patterns with large prisms, letting in the light. Below a grove of trees with a rich scent grew in guano enriched compost. Those weren't prisms, they were peradams, at least two feet across!