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Equestrian Nunavut

Dreamed 2017/4/27 by Wayan

Talking canines around a sign saying 'Reserved for the Erthedni'. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.

THAT MORNING

I start illustrating my dream The Erthedni--a mere 40 years after having it (found it in an old journal.) Eerie dream, really--famine among the creatures in a valley where the mysterious Erthedni monopolize food, water and air. Can't even breathe without their OK!

On a break, I read a New Yorker piece on a Christian blogger who says capitalism's everywhere and inescapable--can't even breathe without their OK!--so believers should withdraw to intentional communities, as in the Dark Ages. Yet he himself seems a perpetual outsider who can't even join groups he's inspired. I know that feeling.

I find it odd he's considered newsworthy for his million hits a month. I mean, I get half that and I'm not trying like he is. Sheesh. I really am a friggin' web troll. Who knew?

Though my trollish withdrawal is due to autism, not our Dark Age. Sensory overload enforces solitude better than monkish vows ever did.

THAT EVENING

Off to Snoring Dog Studio, where the Krelkins lay down instrument tracks for our first album. We get four mixes we can sing to: I Wanna Be, Dawn's Dream, Fight to Win, and Why Do We Choose Hate? Five long hours, but the last is wasted--Mike adds steeldrum, bell & guitar solos when he's too tired to play well: error-free, but dead. I beg him to quit but he plods on--when he gets like this, no stopping him.

I come home exhausted. My housemate Alder comes in to say "I just heard a great talk by Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi at Borderlands." Damn. I like both writers, I'd hoped to go, but the session just ran too late.
Luna, the equine goddess of dreams, on 'My Little Pony.' Pencil sketch by Wayan; click to enlarge.

THAT NIGHT


I'm working at the library when I come across a loosebound printout, faded in spots, telling the rules of a roleplaying boardgame that started with teens in basements but today has millions of online players. This is a copy of the boardgame's rulebook--its bible. It was written by a few Kentucky racehorse-mad people, pros working in bluegrass stables, who really know horses--and adore them. They built a whole world of sentient equines. My Little Pony for grownups!

The game-bible's a bit fetishy, but in a different way than My Little Pony; it lays out family bloodlines going back centuries, as fussy as purebred stables (or hobbits, come to think or it), with precise naming conventions using horse-breeder jargon. "Donut, sired by Stud Muffin, out of Sugar Sparkle..."

But this game's become a reality. I meet some of these equines. They're definitely not ponies. Full-sized, graceful, imposing horses, pegasi and unicorns! And not just a few impressive leaders, like My Little Pony's equine goddesses Luna and Celestia; every one! Racehorse bodies full of presences as powerful as human geniuses; I even sense some kind of paranormal talents. Beautiful, but almost too big, smart, sexy, powerful, magical...

Intimidating. Superhuman.

This copy of the bible is faded with age--is it the original typescript the founders used to play the fantasy game that created a civilization? Some pages are quite hard to read.

The everyday words I can guess from context, but many of the Equine names aren't so easy to guess. Not just faint and unfamiliar--they're in a special font, too, used for all words in their language--that celtic/gothic medieval script we all know fantasy gamers use. Bad idea. In it, 'e' looks too much like 'c', 'd' too like 'a', 's' like 'f'... at least in washed-out ink.

I flip to the help pages in the back, hoping for a Dramatis Personae with the names well-printed. Most pages are still readable; I could get lucky. Multiple appendices. Flip through...
Nunavut (northern Canada) from space, after Greenland's ice has melted. Dream sketch by Wayan.

I find a map of this alternate Equestria. I'm startled--it's clearly North America!

With the emphasis on north. It's our future, after global warming, polar meltdown and the consequent fall of America. The States are now half-flooded, half-jungle. Canada now dominates the New World.

And Canada's jewel is Equestria, set on the green and temperate shores of... Nunavut! The old Inuit heartland--islands and coasts fronting the Arctic Sea.

That sea's higher, the isles smaller, but far warmer and greener, the channels deep and wide; for Greenland's ice is gone. Millions of square kilometers of forests, fields, and farms. A big land. A good land.

And in this meltdown future, the mythical Inland Passage is real, unchoked by ice (that bugaboo of the savage, carnivore-infested past). On its shores, vacationing horses, pegasi and unicorns wade and swim in the mild water...

I long to be there. Maybe it's not Horse Heaven. But viewed from our dark age, Equestrian Nunavut is Utopia to me.

Unicorn, pegasus and sentient horse wading on the shores of Nunavut after the ice melts; Greenland's green hills on horizon. Dream sketch by Wayan. Click to enlarge.
NOTES IN THE MORNING Sentient mare rearing at the beach in Nunavut after the ice is gone.' Dream sketch by Wayan; click to enlarge. EIGHT MONTHS LATER

When I contemplate this dream I can't really draw, I'm haunted by a line from Yeats:

Tall dames go walking in grass-green Avalon.

That's how those equines felt to me--the Fairy Court. Wise, but not human. For, as Yeats warned, those two states are rarely wed.

What poem is it from? Flip through my Yeats, hunting that line. Turns out it's the refrain (Yeats, like Dylan, likes to end verses with a strong, recurring italicized line) of one of his last poems: The Statesman's Holiday, on giving up on politics in a time of spiritual and intellectual meltdown--such as we now face. Here's the end of verse 1:

Some knew what ailed the world
But never said a thing,
So I have picked a better trade
And night and morning sing:
Tall dames go walking in grass-green Avalon.

I suppose he's right. In our dreams, or in deep time, there's still a world the crass can't touch; whether you name it Avalon, Nunavut, or Equestria, peopling it with fairies, superhuman equines, or cartoon ponies. Let the mockers mock; they're right. For at any given time, unicorns are absurd. At any single time. But we fools look long.

After the world's remade, let's meet in Nunavut.

Unicorn wading on the shores of Nunavut after the ice melts. Dream sketch by Wayan; click to enlarge.


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