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Dreamed 1985/3/7 by Chris Wayan

Earth has multicolored rings casting strange shadows

I'm hiking in the hills south of San Francisco. I hover on the slope, unsure if I want to descend or skirt or climb. I must choose my path soon.

Above me, a wave of fog, as crisp as a tsunami of slow-motion water, crests over the hilltops. The sun, lowering, nears the fog's edge.

High above all the local fog, the vast arch of a ring like Saturn's is gleaming in the sharp sunlight of deep space. The shadows of micro-rings, spokes, shepherd moons and nodes all wiggle across the contours of the hills below, creating complex climates on the ground.

It's not just that each shadow gets different amounts of sun. Since the ringlets have self-sorted by weight, they're each a different mineral mix. So each shadow has different absorption lines in its spectrum--the light of each is a different color. Every yard or two is a new ecological niche, for the plants there must gain energy from a spectrum as different as that of an alien sun.

And where do I belong? Under whose shadow? In the light of what star will I flourish?

Mine to choose. I'd better choose well. And I have to choose soon.


Even without planetary rings, the San Francisco Peninsula does have such microclimates. Since much of our moisture comes not as rain but fog, and the fog favors passes and wind-tunnels, sites a few meters apart can have quite different climates and vegetation. On Mt. Davidson, the tallest hill in San Francisco, you can walk in one minute from an arid grassland through chaparral to open woods then a rainforest full of flowering vines...

Choose my microclimate = cultural? Or literal? I have severe allergies so some ecozones really are better for me.

2002 NOTE

I didn't consciously get the dream's message, but soon after, I started taking dance and theater improv classes, and moved steadily away from academia into the arts. At last I moved physically as well--from the suburbs of Silicon Valley where I grew up, to San Francisco. I settled on a hill on the edge of the fog zone, wet one minute, dry the next. I didn't get entirely well but I got better--out of the smog.

LISTS AND LINKS: alternate Earths - strange things in orbit - rings (mostly that smaller kind...) - light, color & warmth - eco-dreams - allergy and environmental illness - pure digital art

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