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Rappel-Mad Sister

Dreamed 1984/7/14-15, by Chris Wayan

Dream: our rappel-mad sister pulls us up a great cliff on a triangular platform.

My little brother and I stand at the foot of a huge crag by the western sea. From it pour thin waterfalls and streaks stained with moss. Where does the water come from, what's on top? The summit looks too small to collect so much rainwater. The stained columns are banded horizonally with browns, reds, yellows. They shimmer wetly. What are they? Maybe it has to do with the licheny flakes fluttering down onto us like a thin snow...

Our rappel-mad sister walks up. She has her climbing gear. We both groan. She's so bossy! She'll want to climb it, solve the puzzle right away. I like the mystery; I want to let it be.

But she sends up the balloons with the hooks and thread. Anchors the iron claws, slides the three ropes up. Threads them into the 'lift'--a big equilateral triangle of plastic we sit on, as our rappelmad sister rappels us up the crag-face. It's wobbly at first, but as we rise it levels out. She knows her business. Surprised how short the trip is...

We pause and stretch at a wide shelf around 7000 feet up. It's green and flowery. In the hanging meadow stands the Workbench of the Goddess, heaped with electronic toys for us!

My sister and little brother agree, we can take them now. I'm not so sure; they look a little futuristic, we may not be supposed to have these for another decade or two... but they're both in a hurry now. It's true, they have name tags on them addressed to us. But the gifts aren't wrapped yet. It feels like peeking under your parents' bed at Christmas--cheating. I'm the lone holdout... not that it matters. They take their gifts along.

So the lift climbs on, my rappelmad sister hoisting us into mystery, and my little brother exploring clues of the years to come.

At ten thousand feet, looking down on the sea below, so deep it's almost violet, I have to admit our premature journey's beautiful. But couldn't we have waited till it was really time?

Dream: long-haired kid in a maroon jacket peers through a hole in an ice wall at a mountain valley beyond.

The same dream returns--with a twist.

Now we're hiking. We left the lift at the clifftop, two or three miles high, and climbed on foot up an ice-bound valley. Though it won't be for long: the sun's warm and the ice is melting fast. We need to cross a small pass ahead; below, on the far side is green, fertile, snowless country--our goal.

I hear the creek running under us, little resonant plops and echoes. No path, no tracks; no way to know if the ice will hold. Clamber to a cornice at the pass, a last snow-wall to climb. Its face is sweaty ice. I make it most of the way, but then the crust cracks and my leg sinks deep. I don't fall through to the creek, but the ice is clearly at its load-limit. I don't know whether to curse the warm sun for melting it too fast, or to pray it'll hurry and melt the rest. Caught in the thaw, at the phase-change!

I sidle along in the blue shadow along one edge, and up... at my limit, spot an irregular, oval window, glowing with a warm light... I stretch and get just one peep of the vast, wild country beyond. Can I squeeze through, or dig, or will we have to wait?

Too early or too late?


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