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MY FLUORESCENT WORLD


Dreamed 1997/8/16 by Chris Wayan


I climb a rickety ladder up to my ceiling, and push up the trap door. Instead of an attic above, it opens onto a strange gleaming landscape. Heathery hills, meadows, savannah, woods. It's not their forms that are strange, but the colors. Grass, even dry dead grass, is fluorescent chartreuse; treetrunks and water (puddles from recent rain) are jagged black seams; brush and clouds and rocks are pure screaming Fauvist hues, as if color-coded.

Woman in a grainy fluorescent world--hills with black groping branches.
Is it my eyes, or the world? I do have a genetic oddity--a rare type of retina known to register color differently. But I grew up with that, so the everyday world looks normal to me. It's only this world up the ladder, this other continuum, that fluoresces so.

I meet my friend Mark here in this fluorescent world, and hike around with him and two more friends. They all stumble and gawk and seem bemused; I'm not sure if they see what I do, though, and eventually ask. One of them carries a VR visor, or infrared/UV goggles, set so they roughly simulate my sort of vision for normal eyes--adding the extra pigment. They pass it around, and seem stunned: "That's what you see ALL THE TIME?"

Well... I guess. That is... I guess you all don't, then.

A round planet-ish abstract in bright crayon, paint and dripped wax.

NOTES IN THE MORNING

Is the dream warning that my vision, that shamanic dreaming itself, may be PROSTHETIC, developed to compensate for a lost normality?

How often is that true for others who can climb the ladder to open the trapdoor in the head?

A NOTE SEVEN YEARS LATER

On my way home from the Burning Man festival deep in the Nevada desert, I stopped at Pyramid Lake, camping by the cove below the pyramid itself. Hypnotic rocks full of eerie patterns that spoke to me of ancient times. It's old tufa sculpted by currents and underwater life, back when the lake was higher.

I met a whole crew of acquaintances from Santa Cruz, California, driving a huge biodiesel bus. As a native Californian, I found their New Age outlook familiar--a comfort, after the mania of Burning Man.

One oddity though. They'd walk right by rocks with stunning patterns. Blind to them.

Then they all took mushrooms. I didn't.

In an hour, they all acted just like me. Rock gawkers. Pattern seers. Unable to tear themselves away, in fact. They'd opened the trap doors of perception all right. With a chemical crowbar.

A fluorescent world.
The next day, all the hippies came back down. Drug vacation over! They climbed down the ladder and shut the trapdoor of perception.

I didn't. I can't. I live there.



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