Dreamed 1973/1/19 by Chris Wayan
Donald Duck is exploring Pluto. Not Pluto the Pup, the Planet. Donald wears a spacesuit and drives an electric buggy over the icy plain.
He meets a slightly shorter, pugnacious alien. Looks like they'll fight! Donald always was hot-tempered. Smaller native critters size them both up and take sides. One is a lovely being, white-furred, long low and fast, with animated squiggles of blue glowing on her sides, changing with every frame of this movie. How sexy: part ermine, part ballerina, part aurora borealis!
The confrontation turns into a snow-brawl, an avalanche pulling in more creatures, more and more... till it's war. And people here are psychic adepts! It'll get nasty.
I live by the sea, in the House of the Good Adepts. A big picture window looks out on dim snowfields, the frozen sea... Of the five chief adepts, I'm the only one home. A couple of bad adepts come to zap me, one male one female; I pretend to be out of my body, but listen as they snoop around. Organically different from us, they even eat other foods. Three or four jets skim the sea, flown by my friends. The intruders are confident because they see the Good Jets skimming the sea, and think we're all out patrolling. They're surprised when a female ally of ours comes in. With the distraction, I slip out, put on rubber gloves, and leap back in with amplified powers. (For magic insulation, all the best wizards use rubber gloves.)
The balance of power between us here is too even now--rather than bring the house down around us, we all call a truce and sit warily, watching the war out the huge picture window.
Smoke rises from the sheds and far wings of the house! Stray bolts of wizard-fire? Or a truce-violation? Furious, I reach into an aquarium here in the living room, and grab an electric lizard to show it can't harm me, then throw the lizard on the fire next door! The evil ones are properly horrified--and impressed. They settle down--no tricks now.
But was that really worth the lizard's death?
Our room is supposedly spelled against fire, but the sensors under the floor register liquid water! On Pluto, that's like lava. Is Pluto truly melting? I check, and it's not water. Liquid fire! The outer wings of our house start to collapse.
We troop outside. Even the warded main room's doomed, with the foundation melted. Lost our home to the war.
But overall, the good adepts now dominate. Still, the Plutonian snowbanks, pale and dim for milennia, are studded with dark blots: adepts dead in the fight. So many lithe beasts and marvelous birds lost to this war, for nothing, for nothing. I mourn them.
A shaggy giant, a semi-psychic who sided with evil, sits dazed on the snow. He captured a pale, black-haired snow-tribe girl? We come over. Tired, confused, but seeing leaders, they get up--should they start fighting again? We tell them "No more fighters, no more captors, no more prisoners. You're... survivors."
The fire has melted so much snow, black muddy earth is bared in places. The snow-tribe girl has never seen dirt, or a plant; she asks "What is this?" "Ground" I say. "She says "But no, THIS is 'ground'," patting the snow. "Well, snow piles up and melts down. When it melts down all the way, THIS is beneath. Plants grow from it, see?" Show her trees, as the first firs and pines sprout around the snow-patched meadow. "You can eat some, and others can be cut and used to build stuff."
She's a little shocked, says "I don't want to do THAT! But can my people carve our prayers in them? "
"I guess that's all right, if they're not too long or deep--or you might hurt the tree."
She smiles at me and carves her first prayer in a substance meant to last: one symbol, Ø: the sign of the null set.
Emptiness. The leanest prayer in history.
But then what does she know to ask for? All she's ever seen is snow and dark. She'll just have to wait, as the world thaws.
From under the melting snows of Pluto, grass shoots up...
WHAT'S IT MEAN?
I grew up in suburbia--a world frozen in place. Struggling inside, sorting out the urges and ambitions and angers buried under that snow, did eventually melt the ice...
But even now, years later, the thaw's only partial. I still think suburban--think small. I can't imagine what to pray for.
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