Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Events of 1/11 - 1/19 - Chapter 16 - Waffle Iron, Mudheads and Notes

January 11, 2011

Cathy  - I sat down and viewed the carnage of another day traversing this canyon, between two ragged peaks, that had kept me from moving forward for days now. My water was running thin, as were my supplies, finding a way out was imperative.

For days now, I had heard the sound of what I thought might be voices coming from far away. Small they were, almost child-like, drawn to me by little zephyrs that eddied around me as I lay, on tufts of drying grass and loose leaves, looking at the sky for a pattern of light, or cloud, that would bring me out of this delirium and into the company of my fellow climbers again.

 Cathy's View of Delirium
Lee  - Waking from the best sleep I've had since I landed on this island I became aware of Maku happily humming at the foot of the bed.  The sun streamed through the curtained window, the light illuminating the small room; it was spare but so comfortable.
Taking advantage of the unexpected luxury of the down filled mattress, I sunk further under the soft covers.
Maku said, "Enough!.. time to make a plan as to what comes next."
INDEED, I thought, what does come next?  I seem to be heading down, not up, as the other climbers are doing.
Retracing steps already taken...but...maybe not....those caves.  There are more than the one that led me to the lavender fields.  I want to see what is below ground; maybe leave the Mountain to other climbers. "OK, Maku, breakfast...then we hit the trail"
He giggled.
I could already smell the coffee.

January 13, 2011

Mark  - As I unzipped my frozen-on-the-outside and cozy-on-the inside sleeping bag and began to rise from a long night's rest, I glanced down at the loose diagram I had just sketched in my journal. The zig zagging pattern caught my eye.

January 15, 2011

Ria  - I looked at my friends from an 'internal' distance. They chattered away and I really wanted some quiet alone time.  From the corner of my eye I saw something blue-ish. 
Blue!  I turned towards him very very gently. On his back my rucksack.  He seemed to be concentrating on our gang, no idea I was standing within inches. Funny squirrel, how's that possible, they're so aware of anything human. Was I starting to smell squirrely?  It had been a while I had taken a bath. So, I took advantage of his distraction and stepped on his tail. 
"Hey there," I spoke articulately, "how 's about giving me back my backpack now Blue? It wasn't yours to start with and what are you gonna do with a Belgian waffle iron anyways? We got your crowd to some water, so, seems only fair?"
Blue didn't know what hit him, he froze, all four stretched out. The bag slipped from his shivering shoulders and he scurried off light speed. 
Hahaaaa ... I sighed. Seemed so easy. I grasped the bag and sat down. It was heavy. I looked into it, thinking "don't tell me he used my bag as trash bin liner," ... As I peered into it, I saw ... light. 

January 17, 2011

Christopher  - I was assigned the cleanup of the mud, the flaw in this it is like trying to sweep the sand off a beach, or even like trying to catch the Bitter-Rose.
I started in with large rocks at least the size of an orange, some the size of watermelon, neatly placing them to secure the soil. It became apparent that this was a most inefficient means to restructure the land both in duty and form. How was a plant to grow through this? I began to spread the stones more sparsely, yet careful not to throw them at any considerable length. This might reassign the cause the killing of a rock rat to my duties and the reconstruction of these now slippery foothills, all over again. With precision I spread the stone, eventually forming patterns, and was instructed as to where stones with blue moss on them had been piled nearby. To which by the way I got no more explanation beyond, “They are what is needed. Need being a form like any other” form the local guides.

The patterns the blue mossed stones began to form are quite incredible and I truly wish there was a greater chance to illustrate them here, beyond the work of my own hand. They took on the form of life that is so clearly itself, in opposition to the entropic flow of the universe. It was as if the sun could be eclipsed for a hundred years, and the earth itself could find enough solace in the stars to carry on.

I started with the larger plants, which looked like a cross between a gourd, and a shred of meat. It seemed to grow faster than the others, but the meat like aspect of it shriveled, at least once a day, and turned into a purplish-pinkish flower, that brought all the wasps back, what seemed an impossibly short length of time. I was tempted to say my tack was complete, but felt a sense that I must carry on. It was not without reward. In the coming month, I found three small peredams which I added to my pouch. When I showed them to the guides, they laughed proclaiming, “If a truth is just a wink, it might not even be true”. I wanted to finish my task more than ever. I imagined what wonders lay ahead. There were visits from my wife, and news from my son who was attending a local botany school, creatures I could not fathom, but I wanted more.

Then it happened. The gourds were gone, all of them. I imagined unicorn rabbits? Or blue Moles? I would ask the locals, but it was dead silent. Even a fog had rolled in that deafened the sound of leaves, or any other life. Just me, and nothing. For some strange reason I thought of making a sign the read, “Nothing and Friends”. I chuckled to myself, but who can call anything madness, in a place like this. Then I saw it, one gourd left on the edge of the field. I walked over, sat on the nearest boulder, and waited. I would describe these days of starring at a single point, but pragmatically, there’s not much to say. Only daydreams and “winks of truth”. So I gave up, walking through a puddle with a little splash. I saw three holes appear at once, one quite close to the gourd, the same size as one of the others, and yet both smaller than the one in the middle. It moved about a foot over dropping the gourd into the earth.

I leaped forward to clutch this strange animal, and was swallowed by the earth. As I flipped over to climb back out again, I heard what could not be described as anything but a wind, or a breath with a touch of expression. The earth groaned, displeased at my presence, writhing around till it left me buried to the neck. I would stay there for the next three days. I thought of death, the same as I had as a child. I tried to remember how to relax, but it would not come. I was completely powerless, still worse I was sinking. I may be buried without ever having a funeral. It would be as if I never died to everyone else, and to me I could not say. I looked for that hope in nothing, but it was only fleeting. I envisioned my wife finding me this way, and holding a funeral by simply placing blue moss covered stones over my head. She was like a corner of the universe, poking into my mind, till even she began to drift away.

A terrible rumbling began, as if a volcano was growing around me. Each ripple of mud grew a lump, and branched around me in a circle, (as far as I could see). For some strange reason it looked like petals, as if I was one of those sickly wasps, being bloomed out of a lotus flower, into the mud. The lumps grew higher, till it became clear: These were them, the hollow men. Yet again a fable: not as an allegory, but as a reality. Due to the semi-liquid nature of the mud, they were capable as wearing it as a suit. They had their arms around me in a circle, as if praying over a dying man. They broke formation, reaching to lift me up. I could hear a set of notes, not unlike a Tibetan bowl. Each overtone was a detail, creating the whole of what I perceived. An aura surrounded it all, and with a splash, it all seemed a fleeting thought. Up on my feet, my mind thought of work. I shook it off for a moment. Disappointment sat in, a miracle possibly as great as finding the pathway to this mystical land had passes, and my next thought was of my duties. Then I had my epiphany. These hollow men could experience and above ground life. Explorers in a world that was as strange, as Mount Analogue was to me. I would create a cause that made seeking the summit possible by creating an equivocal experience for someone else. This was effect as cause, but I had gained a little life experience at this point. So I had a bit to share. What if I was wrong on this account? They did save my life after all, it seemed only fair.

There were already stone slabs in the area. The mud and mules made moving them possible. I stacked them over the next month, making tall cubes, each with a pile of mud on the side. One was a circle of the slabs, one with an open door, and the rest with mud built up as a valley inside and a mountain outside. In the center was a table. I sat and waited, hoping they would come. A hollow-man did come, taking on the form of the mud, and sat across from me.
“Why would you do this for us?”
“You saved my life”.
“No-one has ever done anything like this”.
“Do you like it?”
“We are amazed, but embarrassed, we want to meet Full-People, but this should look more like a village. Can you put roofs on the buildings?”
It seemed arbitrary, but why not. I told him I would.

As I was building the roofs, my wife came back, over the horizon. I thought it would be hard to explain, but she saw the Hollow-Men walking from solid cube house to another behind me. I began to apologize, when she said, “I want to climb the mountain with you. What you have done here, is the second serious idea I’ve encountered in my life”. More travelers were on their way (one with red boots). So we walked over to gather supplies, as she said “We should call them Mudheads”.

Lee  -  It took a little longer to leave the hut than I'd expected as I was reminded I needed to leave notes for the other travelers.
There is a book that has been started here, unlike some of the other huts that expected individual letters.
No mind...since no matter what the form, the information is what was important.
I tried to be quite detailed regarding the time warps, as they can be a little dicey to navigate.
I found that out the hard way when I dropped into a parallel world.
It's important to have a good guide, as silly as the little monkey can be,  he's been quite reliable....as a guide.
Since it seemed we are now moving lower on the mountain it might be a good time to explore one of the many caves on the way down.
I doubt if the others will be close by any time soon.

 Leaving Notes for Other Travelers - Lee Goldberg
January 18, 2011

Christopher - Creating the details of the time warp turned out to be  possibly a life's work in itself.  My wife finally wrote "cause effect, effect cause, when are we?" on the cover of our journal, hopefully that would create enough for the next team to understand, we found a cave on the west side of the wall, but upon entering we realised the sun was rising, so we must have gone in on the east, getting use to a lack of time and space has taken sometime, but it's starting to seem quite ordinary, even comfortable..

Lee  - We traveled along for some time without paying much attention.  Maku seemed to want me to go one direction or another and would tug at my ear or hair if I went off his course.
"Don't tug,  just tell me what you want," I kept telling him.
He'd just giggled, but did say, "there's a surprise ahead"  Hummm...wonder what that could mean?
It was getting late in the afternoon when we moved through a stand of trees to see a large winged monkey waving to us.  
I'm not surprised at anything any more.
He was standing in front of the largest and most unusual tree I'd ever seen.
I'd come accustomed to the information trees on the island and had wondered what the story behind them could be.  "Here's your chance to get your questioned answered," whispered Maku.
"My name is Rekees, and I know you're Lee, since I've been reading your notes on my trees."
His voice was deep and sounded a bit old.
"Oh my,  I'm so sorry if I shouldn't have disturbed the trees."  I said, a bit embarrassed.
The large monkey laughed and said,  "not at all, that's just what you're supposed to do." 
He continued, "You see, the trees are an old tradition, of sorts.  Here travelers can leave notes, warnings, and all sorts of information for the next group.  It's been this way for more than 100 years.
You notice the squirrels in the upper branches?
They are such good guardians.  They keep those pesky black birds from stealing all the bits for their nests.  Please, stay awhile; examine what you will and be sure to leave a note or two for those that will follow behind you."

This was wonderful, I could stay here for some time, and since it's really getting late in the day, this will be a great place to stop for the day.  I'm sure I'll be way too excited to sleep.
Maku was already snoring in a corner of the big tree.......

January 19, 2011 

Mark  - I stared at my diagram. Suddenly the thought popped into my head that time slits were growing like bamboo. Popping out of the ground one at a time.

Lee  - The scrap of paper was yellow with age, but the words still fairly clear.
"I came to find my smile, to feel life again - but, it's more than just a feeling.  It's a journey of my life. I just want to go home."
So many of the scraps and bits were personal notes.  Notes that had little meaning for the ones that came after...
Rekees said it doesn't matter what is written....it matters that there are traces of life left for others.
They were here as you are here.
More will follow and read the words....Some find strength in themselves..Some longed for those they left behind.
All were changed by the experience of the island and the mountain.

More Notes Being Left Behind - Lee Goldberg

By the time the light was too low to read any longer,  I realized I had only gotten around the lowest and first layer of notes.

Rekees directed me to a small hut that was hidden in the woods behind the tree.
I was tired and wanted a rest before I tried to climb the ancient ladder to see the notes higher on the branches.
Also, though I marveled at the other trees I'd seen here on the island, I never took the time to stop at the trees, to look - to study - to really read what was left behind.
To read those words seemed somehow to honor those writers of long ago.
A lesson for me---to stop and not rush to a destination without understanding and enjoying the journey......

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