Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Another Planet in the Same Old Universe

(YouTube Video version at

It's Earth day 14 of the Mars mission. We wake in the middle of the Martian night. It doesn't matter. When we started this we knew everything would be relative and everything would be switched around and changed. We were not people, none of us were, who loved our lives on Earth so much that we couldn't just dump it. None of us had cherished routines or even special food likes. None of us were comforted that easily, that's how we were selected. The discomfort test is one of the most valid psychological tests ever formulated. Bless the Harvard professors who wrote it.

At the same time, the big shots were a little disappointed with the mission because things were not different or variable enough. This was hardly a challenge that tested any of us. There was solid sand at our well-covered and masked feet. We never flew when we jumped, even though we could jump pretty far. In the distance there were things we still called mountains and hills. The same old sun rose in the martian morning, even though it was so pale and small it made most of us laugh, an emasculated sun god. Ha ha!

Were we going home? I think so. That's what they told us. Soon. I could live with the fear. I like fear. It has a pleasant jiggle on my heart. Anyway what could happen? We could just continue our journey and travel to a lot stranger places.

We rise. We check everything to verify that nothing really happened. We nutrify; we expel; like the our microscopic fellow citizens we so carefully pasteurized out of our lives, ignoring what the gods of bugs wanted us to do--currying their disfavor. We believed our god was bigger than theirs and our god would defend us. But we ended up defending our god instead.

It is cold on Mars. We conserve heat and generate it slowly.

Why does this section of existence feel like home? We have never been here, yet we feel familiar--as if it were another room in a great house. It's subject to familiar rules--the rules we have followed since we popped--were carried and expelled into this territory around Old Sol.

On the 18th day of the Mars Mission, our cynical crew learned that the Archetype was coming. We were told that the being looked very strange, but was very mild, and that, somehow we all knew him, we had seen this being before. This being was the core of the neighborhood.

The great orb of the Archetype rose in the west of the martian sky, just as the sun was making its thin, frail appearance in the east. In spite of the vacuum of space we could hear the song, as if it were sung by a million voices. It had at least a million eyes, surprisingly human-like with round pupils, Blinking in waves around the face. Kindness suffused the moist surfaces of the eyes, the sadness of eyes that could comprehend the limits. And somehow, we all remembered that face. We had all seen it in the past, while we were travelling from the space before.


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