Dance of the Sun
Dreamed 1972/10/23 by Wayan
I'm driving our red VW bus. Heidi, a friend of my sister's from down the block, rides in back. I feel too shy to talk much with her--she's just too sexy.
Stop at a gas station, buy $3 worth at 30¢ per gallon, but it only takes 3.5 gallons. Hey, it's a VW, they don't use much. Drive around the pumps and straighten out the bill with the gas station attendant, who turns out to be my uncle Hugh.
Then my Uncle Otto comes out of the trees at the edge of the lot; says "can you ease her forward?"
"Yes, but I don't have the key, so if the ignition's not on already, I can't start it." It's running though, keyless, so I start forward slowly, into the forest.
Climb a gravel road. Soon it's dirt. Very rough. Below, ferns cover the valley floor in virulent
green. Must drive with care because the back hatch is open; cargo may fall out. We're on a trading
mission, bearing samples.
Hulking, twisted men in ragged flannel shirts and torn Levis come the other way down the road. I think they're Gold Rush miners! Unsuccessful ones. They glare bitterly at me. I yell "Howdy!" to one. He snarls as if I'm to blame he went bust. Why?
The terrain gets harsher, the road rougher, the men more openly hostile. They're all slogging away from our goal. There's a final steep, stony grade up to a group of five or six men at a pass, where a huge gate is sealed. It's made of some clear substance, thick and very high. Glass?
Through the wall, we can dimly see the far side. The forest ends: a rough lava-flow, mostly bare, drops steeply down to a deep blue bay. Looks hot. Looks like Hawai'i. Sailing ships moored at small piers. A bitter man says "Why do you want to go down there, anyways?"
"Because we got trade-cargo."
"You can't carry cargo back over THIS crummy road!" snaps the guy.
"No, by boats in the bay. We may run the whole trade that way from now on, so nobody has to use this road."
The gate opens and a girl peers out warily. Examines us. "You can come in," she tells me, "but SHE can't," pointing at Heidi. And shuts the gate again!
Maybe it's a test of some kind. Could I trick them into opening their pearly gate? I doubt it. She seemed pretty definite. Can I climb the wall? Smooth glass. Hm. Climb a tree that overhangs the wall? They're alll carefully trimmed. These folks are careful...
I vividly picture just leaping right over the glassy wall, even though I'm no high-jumper.
Instantly I am, for real! Soar like a Calaveras frog. The glass wall a ribbon of light below... Green lawns and gardens. Strange little pale sparks floating around. The girl, grinning up at me.
The girl grinning up at me snatches one of those floating sparks, and as I dive by her to land on the turf, she slaps it into my head!
Now I can see that she has a light inside too. A soul! So does that gardener. That woman with the basket...
Wait, didn't I have one before? Are souls added?
"Okay!" she says. "You can explore now, you have a soul--and curiosity." She seems very unguarded now. Open and loving, in fact.
Her people live in undersea apartments in the tropical bay. She invites me in. A hard dive for me, seems effortless to her. Can these folks breathe water, or do they just hold their breath as long as dolphins?
Later, I swim out in the bay with her. Wow; she's seal-fast too!
A sharklike thing starts to chase her. Immediately a Rescue Boat comes to save her, but instead of catching the shark or pulling her out, it just slips between them. She goes fully underwater and speeds up even more.
Wow! She outswims the shark's top speed, reaches her underwater docking chamber and bursts from the pool so fast she shoots right out of the water like a dolphin leaping, eight feet in the air.
Good that she does, too, because the shark's great maw comes snapping after her legs.
Later, she explains "Our people can ride the shockwaves right under the rescue boat like dolphins. You can outswim anything that way. So there's normally no need to get out to escape predators. That particular shark is just persistent."
I admire her people's live-and-let live attitude, even with a problematic shark.
A couple of leading elders come in. The older is barely more than a skeleton now; the skull keeps slipping sideways and falling off, oops!
"Say, I'm sorry to leave now, but I've got to go to Heaven. You..." and the Eldest points at the Younger Elder, old and bony but not a bare skull, "You can lead now."
"But I'm not WISE enough," says the other skull-elder.
"No thoughts in that skull smarter than mortal thoughts," says the dead leader.
"Um," says the other, baffled. Which skull does the dead one mean? Was that a compliment? Taken literally it sounded more like 'Yup, you're stupid'...
The dead one is not interested in clarifying. Walks his bones to a niche, puts them there, mentally brushes off his hands on his jeans (her jeans? Skeletons, who knows?), and leaves. That little soul-light flits off into the clouds...
I love this girl. But then they're all very loving, these Gate people, not like my family (reserved, complicated, sometimes downright devious), or the gold miners on the road (just plain mean).
I start musing aloud. "This place would make a great play or movie" I find myself saying. "A love story (that part's real enough) about a Gate-girl and a foreign man (real enough, me and you). The girl loves everybody--him in particular but everyone really, as her people do (true). But he, from his culture, can love only her (don't worry! Not true!) A nice mess! Such a parable about wide and narrow love might loosen things up a bit in my own society."
We're walking through fruit trees outside the Building of the People, Gate Girl and me. Work out part of the play--a musical. The fruit-eating scene. Need someone to play Heidi, the Girl back Home, and other roles--need actors who can sing.
Oh, here's Heidi now! She's with another girl I know from school. Gate Girl finally let them in and slapped souls in. Good.
They join us. They sing beautifully.
THE DANCE OF THE SUNNOTES IN THE MORNING
A small world orbits a big red sun. It's hot. Native beings wander in the Dance, led by the tall graceful woman, the Demigoddess of the Sun.
She says "Dance backwards; three steps, then two; don't look backwards, or at least only at the end, on the last beat." Our feet keep coming down between rocks or on steep drops on the fifth beat, but we keep dancing.
A sacred mountain above; too hot to climb right now. Three beats then two, three then two, backward to the valley, and through.
At the other end it opens out and down to a bowl-plain. At the valleymouth stands an altar-rock with crinkled seeds or dried pods on it. Eat some--and taste Gate-fruit! And see my Gate Girl.
On the rock, the wrinkled seeds have turned to full, red fruit again!
The Promise will be fulfilled.
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