EXPLORER

“Man is a genius when he is dreaming.” ― Akira Kurosawa

TextureMARBLE_19

CLEOPATRA'S ESCAPE

FORGET what you know about my death. I am a Goddess and what I dream is the truth. Mark Anthony had died two months earlier when Octavian's henchmen surrounded us. I was under house arrest and Octavian himself came to tell me, ME what my fate was to be. I did, I really intended to do myself in. My children had been secreted away, I knew I would never see them again, we were all disgraced by the battle at Actium. So I called for Lutf, the local zookeeper. He was loyal to the core, he had been highly educated as he was in charge of the health and spiritual well-being of all the creatures in his charge, including asps. I told him where I wanted to be bitten, near my heart. He laughed. At me! Then he said he would not want my body desecrated such. I would swell, it may not even get to my heart but get waylaid by my breast. Instead, as he held the asp at arms length with one hand while reaching in to touch my neck, “There,” he said. It came to me all at once as I saw the asp's fangs dripping, my desperate mind could only think of one thing – his assistant cheetahs. At least that's how they dressed and were made up to be the essence of. Lutf and I went down to the Chamberlain's harem. They quickly stopped packing, I could tell they were dying to ask questions, I ordered them to line up and the few eager ones that were interested in the large muscular man stepped forward for inspection. The one with the right height and hair was picked out. Back in my royal chamber she took some cajoling to have me put queen's makeup on her and a royal robe. Silly thing, she thought we wanted her lasciviousness. Luckily he was used to struggling with large wild animals as he sunk the asp's fangs in at all the identifying places. Then, with surprising normalcy he helped me with the cheetah makeup. I spent most of the rest of my life in solitude helping at the zoo or with Lutf on capturing expeditions. We got along well and he never mentioned my previous life. I was never recognized; amazing what the heavy royal makeup had accomplished. Soon enough I was a tanned Jane to my bronzed Tarzan. --SHAY

While scientists are still arguing over the true purpose of dreaming, let's just agree that the part of our brains responsible for dream-time is a slow learner. – Daniel Genis from We Are All Escape Artists: What Night Is Like in Prison

SNOWFALL IS MEASURED

IN QUIETUDE. Silence is the currency of the realm as twilight turns dark with cloud cover. The drip drip drip of the rain gutter gives way to icicles masquerading as daggers clear. A miniature St. George uses them to charge at dragons which melt them with single long winded breaths. So easily vanquished. Trapped in our inside-out snow globe, the Christmas lights in the yard illuminate gently falling snowflakes so light and feathery. The snow covers all then builds up, pushing all to their bending limit. Further out, the forest and blackness swallows the world. Inside, under the rustle of comforter, we touch cold noses sticking out of our toasty fortress of down. -SHAY

The mind is everything. What you think you become. --Buddha

THE BELL RINGS

CRYSTAL CLEAR for miles, no, tens of miles 'round. The joyous news was welcomed by all – that the King had gotten a good night's sleep. Because the Queen had gotten her striking pink duvet she snuggled in contently. Because the accountant had balanced the kingdom's books and found monies for the duvet, he slept with equanimity. Because the Sheriff took credit for the big jewel bust, he was able to sleep serenely while the deputies who had done the investigation did paperwork. The burglar slept fitfully in the dungeon while the torturer dreamt of cookies he would buy with the proceeds of the ruby that had been slipped him. As a key to the thief's capture, the baker's wife had had her heirloom necklace returned, so the baker slept gleefully knowing he could return again to his regular schedule of baking instead of inquiring throughout the Kingdom for his wife's jewels. Then the mice would be able to get a decent meal in the village sleeping there indulgently because they did not have to go scrounging for scraps in the castle, skittering through the walls keeping the King awake. --SHAY

One of the nice things about problems is that a good many of them do not exist except in our imaginations.-- Steve Allen

 

TOOLMAKER EXTRAORDINAIRE

One day in an isolated valley between two giant mountain ranges, the hummingbird flew past a window and glimpsed something red sitting on a table. Curiosity getting the best of her, she turned back and buzzed through the open window of the only human's house for miles around. Inside, she hovered here and there as she eyed the red flowers, for she was in awe, it had been a long time since that kind of flower was in season, and time's even longer for a hummingbird. She was mesmerized, and left all fear behind she began to feed at it, it being the best tasting flower in the whole valley. Not until she had satisfied her hunger did she see the human that stood frozen nearby. The human, being equally generous as she was curious, watched the hummingbird and did not interfere. Instead, the lady slowly went to the sunwing doors and opened them wide, showing the hummingbird the great wealth of uncut flowers of every kind that the valley had to offer, some she had never seen, having only heard of them in ancient stories. The hummingbird flew to the doorway tempted to enter, but she was wary and did not; instead she went back to the cut flowers in the vase on the table, lavishly suckling every drop of nectar until she was full to bursting. Revived from her feast, she buzzed quickly around the room and out though the window. The next day the new flowers were set out, but this time there were small straws sticking out of the flower blooms. The hummingbird's beak was a perfect fit, and it enjoyed the exotic new taste that the flower had to offer. The hummingbird took one of the straws back with it, stopping on the way to use it on one of the new species of flowers. At first she was ridiculed, but after showing it to the others and allowing them to sip through it, they followed her back to the human's house to pick up the new tool. Tools change our perception of the world. Tools can be physical like the ones on bots. Have you ever seen one that has picked up a new tool stretch and go through exercises to determine their new physical limits? Well, you guessed it, soon the hummingbirds were not contented with getting straw tools from humans, soon they started making their own straws. And they even held contests to come up with new straw combinations that would unlock the nectar in more and more flowers. So far I've only been talking about physical tools, but tools aren't always something you can touch and hold. Tools can also be something of the mind. They can be internal, calculating logic to determine your next step, or calculating emotions to determine how you feel about it. Or mental tools can be externally-oriented, calculating logic and emotions to determine what other creatures believe. This is very important as we gauge our actions out in the world. So, back to our valley and our greedy hummingbirds. Well, you guessed it, they felt entitled after going through the mental and physical labor of creating so many different straws, they set about taking over the territories of other hummingbirds and a thousand kinds of lowly insects that they had never bothered to think about before. As you can imagine, the whole ecosystem was turned on its head. So the moral of this story is... If we don't create intelligence that has better ethics than our own, we and they will both be lost. --SHAY

There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds. - Gilbert K. Chesterton

ASSOCIATION, ABSTRACTION AND CURIOSITY

“HOW smart would we be if we learned everything we could from every step we took, and never sped ahead beyond our ability to integrate the lessons that our current path is teaching us?” Just as now, Maki didn't stop to let her audience ponder her rhetorical question before continuing. “There is an elephant that trumbles down its path to the watering hole and back to the meadow to feed. It has done this now for the seven-thousandth time. This elephant knows a few things more deeply than we can ever imagine. We could concentrate and concentrate, and never obtain that level of surety. Despite knowing a few things without reservation, the elephant is blind to so much more. For instance, if the elephant ever looked up, he would see a small but mighty hummingbird flit back and forth and up and down, looking for signs of better opportunity. Its green iridescence only visible when it hovers under a drooping flower, suckling the nectar, or when it sits on a thin branch, resting before making its next move. This hummingbird was very smart; size having nothing to do with intelligence. Intelligence is based on the abilities of association and abstraction and curiosity. Nature had endowed this hummingbird with the ability to hold many opposable concepts in her head at once, making her a born leader. For instance, when choosing which direction to fly she is able to weigh differences in air speeds at different altitudes; differing flowering rates and nectar concentrations; locations of different predators; as well as spring locations and competition from other pollinators. All this helps her flock to survive despite their size and, although I've never tried one, their mythic deliciousness.”

"Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't who don't believe in magic will never find it."—The Minpins by Roald Dahl

CORNUCOPIA

PLENTIFUL if you had to have a word for it. I don't. Tasty, although the old orchard provided nothing but gnarly misshapen apples. They were the best. The old farmhouse was caving in, just a death trap if you asked me, which you wouldn't. You might run. But no need to. I've done my share of chasing humans. They named me, what was it? Coleman, yes, for my penchant for slipping open cooler after cooler and absconding with the contents. That's when they trapped me and sent me far up here in the high country. So I'm here still, perfectly happy. When the cattail tubers got sparse, I switched to gooseberries, when they were hard to find the blackberries were plentiful. When I tired of blackberries I sniffed out some honeycomb. When I was full I slept for two days straight. Better to sleep through an itchy nose than have to deal with it. When the blackberries were rare I knew it was time for the apples. The old road was overgrown, so I had to sniff it out. It was worth the journey. A few wild potatoes could still be found in what had been a garden. Once I even found a carrot, but I think it was the last, and boy was it delicious. Every once and while I dream I'm back down in the valley, stealing from humans, only they're giant bees with oh so much honey, so much honey. Then I wake and laugh, and thank God I'm no where near them. Time to hibernate. – SHAY

"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship." – Louisa May Alcott (the author of Little Women)

NEW HORIZONS
SITTING in an open field, looking at the stars, our miniscule size cannot be refuted. The immenseness stretches our imaginations, and humbles our entire lives. We imagine ourselves pawns and yet, and yet. Tonight dream your Moonshot. All the planning and funding and setting up is done. You may dream it in rapid motion, all the other souls that help build your dream, that help you get where you are. Like ants they work, like flies they buzz. Bit by bit your platform is constructed and now there you are, standing on your factory floor, your towering building, your ship about to be launched. And suddenly time stands still as the building shakes, the machinery whirls with gears and software interlocking flawlessly. The rocket has been launched, the rumble scaring birds hundreds of yards away. Again time appears to compress and the next thing you know you are being called to step off the gangplank onto a new world, now you are known as head of a new colony, it is your task to explore and to report back. The day's work done, you sit in an open field, looking at the stars, our miniscule size now tied to another world, a new way of stretching our imagination. -SHAY

When every inch of the world is known, sleep may be the only wilderness that we have left.” – Louise Erdrich

CHRISTMAS IN JULY

FIREWORKS EXPLODE turning the sky into a tree that leaves a ghost image – branches and all, buildings float on manufactured clouds in the sky, dogs chase squirrels in constellation form – with moving frames as fireworks continue to explode in a well-placed scene. The atmosphere is mapped real-time so the images aren't blown asunder until after they have faded from view. The audience votes on an app for more or less of that particular type. The pyrotechnician recalibrates each aerial shell to comply with their wishes. A bow shoots an arrow through a heart, a person gets shot from a canon into a ghost image net. An ice cream cone drips and the dog licks it up. A kayaker rides a waterfall down the newly recreated building. The tree is now a Christmas tree that have all the previous items, sparkling and colorful as ornaments that shimmer as they fall away. Christmas in July! – SHAY

The amount of sleep required by the average person is five minutes more.” – Wilson Mizener

HERE THERE A FAIRIE HOUSE

FROM my daughter's third til her eighth year she made fairie houses, just in case there were homeless Fairies needing shelter and warmth. We had Fairie houses in our backyard in amongst the flower garden, the back side of bird houses, even in a spare tire (I presume the Fairie had biker tats and walked a rat on a chain). We had Fairie houses in drawers, under stairwells and even in a toaster oven (once). But mostly the houses were confined to the outside. Malibu Fairie house was made of palm leaves, a sand floor with a waterfall of grass flowing through the middle of it. Sycamore bark and sticks for roughing it Fairies. Fir branches, leaves and needles for Fairies that needed a bit more luxury. The epitome was a multi-level, maze-like Fairie house that sang when the wind blew through it. Or so my daughter heard. She said that Fairies like to hide away and it was very important to have several safe rooms because this Fairie house, unlike others, wasn't camouflaged, it sported a shiny entry way of extra spoons and knives from the silverware drawer and hidden deep in the safe room were necklaces and jewelry from her mother's keepsake box. It seems Fairies sleep in jewels where they glow ever so faintly as they snore. --SHAY

I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?” – John Lennon

A NEW IDEA

ALWAYS foreign, sometimes uncouth, certainly creative and a 2 by 4 over the head of dumb slow me. Drawing me in as it spins me out, stretching my conceptions to the breaking point. Bending my mind in its opposite direction conflicting ideas in constructive tension. I first have to write it down, consider it as if no other existed. Make it palatable in color and taste until I have shaped it with a fervor that pleases you, not me, and in the process pleases nobody. Working through the maze of shattered symptoms I step out into the real world with what I consider the core idea, unable to peel back the onion anymore. I am happy for my thought, a seed that looks nothing like the mighty tree that may grow from it. Although my actions and my intent are pure and in harmony with my thoughts, even if it lasts but a fraction of a moment, it will have lived on its own, defiantly, rebelliously. --SHAY

I can think. I can sleep. I can move. I can ride my bike. I can dream. --Bill Walton

THE DEEP

WATER SOON WARMS to a comfortable zone, unlike reality, the deeper you go in this ocean the less imposing the weight of the sea above. The lights reflecting on objects in front of you creates a glow that makes you an ethereal being in this land of old moss laden ships and darting creatures that don't mind you until you get too close. You motion to your companions you've found what everyone is after. The legend of Zebrinazar has it that the king had died at sea, was encased in solid gold sarcophagus, taken to the deepest part of the ocean and slid into the dark waters. Being made of gold it sat on the bottom unencrusted with barnacles or coral. Now as you look on, crabs crawl and fish investigate indifferently. Amazingly an unbroken glass bottle rests nearby, you chuckle inside your scuba mask. No king in his day had the massive power of the marketplace available to him as the lowliest person on our planet today. Your crew goes to work with airbags and compressed air; you see one already inflating. Hopefully there is enough buoyancy to bring the artifact to the surface. Then it will be up to three sets of coordinated crane to salvage this, the best find in the deep ocean since the titanic. You flash to when it will be on display in bright lights it gleams, bright lights shining down on it from an underwater rover suspended ten meters overhead. The sarcophagus portraying the zenith of a civilization, yet representing the abuse of power concentrated in just one hand. What must the king have done to deserve such a fate? --SHAY

I do my best thinking at night when everyone else is sleeping. No interruptions. No noise. I like the feeling of being awake when no one else is.” ― Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places

BROTHER BUFFALO

OR how I got my Indian name. The sod house was drying up. Gossip was that when it did rain again the dirt would let drops of mud come right thru into your porridge, blankets and chairs. The drought had lasted longer than anyone had witnessed before, that put pa in a mood kicking everything that dared not get out of his way. He and ma went into town, I still don't remember why. That made me in charge at 8 or 9. 'Charge of Lizabeth, Timsy and, of course, Lizzy watched over little Jeremy who wasn't quite potty trained, it was a nasty job but someone had to do it. Looking back I know it was the drought that brought her around, she was so close I could smell her as she snorted and rooted feeding off the grass just downhill from the water pump. I had plenty of time to run and get the gun. Pa had taught me just that winter to use it, so I knew what to expect. I aimed carefully to get her with one shot. Amazingly she fell straight over. Good thing, because I did too. Even after I got to my feet I didn't see the calf behind her, that's how big she was. I raised that boy for 3 months, until it got its hump. Kids taunted me with 'Brother Buffalo', although I knew they were in reality, um, envious. I remember looking that word up in the schoolhouse dictionary. Abe broke out of his pen and took off, just like my pa had said he would. It wasn't ten years before they were reporting that they soon would go extinct. But I remember paying 15 cents to the Traveling Wild West Show and saw Bill Hickock's small herd – last in the State of Montana – all of Montana! Ten years later on I caught my son, Zebediah cutting the buffaloes out of the encyclopedia. I asked him what he was going to do with them and he told me the preacher had said that the loss of the buffalo was all part of God's plan. “God has a plan?” I chuckled. -- SHAY

Sometimes I stay up so late that I have my morning coffee before I go to bed. - Unknown

FIGUREHEAD

BREASTS thrust forward bulging her taught bodice. Chin jutted out daring the waves to break and send the bow into fits of white foam. Figureheads of bare-breasted women were supposed to calm the seas, but this equatorial crossing was anything but calm. A third of the crew – the initiates – did not get much sleep, so the dysrhythmic rocking was putting them even more on edge. The tradition of the tri-mast Stalworth was to dangle the pollywogs by a rope over the bow by the head. Not thru the head, as was the joke, but swung out alongside Matilda. There was more gossip about Matilda than any person aboard the Stalworth, none of it less than salacious. The men shouted this morning to be heard above the 'singing' of the rigging. The helmsman steered the ship directly into the churning waves. Men had had their heads cracked open trying to kiss Matilda all whilst Lumberjack Jim, the strongest man on the rigging crew pulled and let loose giving the polywogs as little chance as possible to obtain their goal. And white foam dripped from their cold hard nipples. -- SHAY

Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care, the death of each day's life sore labour's bath balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course chief nourisher in life's feast. - William Shakespeare, Macbeth

JUST A DELIVERY BOY

LEMONDROP delivered groceries by bike all over his small town. He got to know a family on near every block in Juliette, Georgia. There was the MacGruder's, who kept bulldogs and ran a bones game in their back room. Always good for a large tip, even towards the end of the month. He always brightened when he saw the Eggertons on the list. Missy always dropped everything and ran to greet Lemondrop as he rounded the corner to the back porch, children announcing his arrival. She had a terrific smile but had a way with her that he was doing her, specifically, a favor. As much as he liked her, he thought it would feel nice to bring her down a peg. On Tuesdays he delivered first to the Wilson's. Mr. Wilson had been widowed for a year and so the ten children pretty much took care of themselves. They'd tear open the bags before he made it up the porch steps. Lemondrop used part of his tips from the MacGruder's to pay for the lemon drops he slipped into the Wilson's order. Wednesday was fresh egg day, No matter how well he packed them, every single Wednesday he could be counted on to break one or two. There went the rest of MacGruder's tip. Lemondrop liked to think he knew the people of Julliette better than the mayor or Rev Thompson or even Doc Avery. He knew their tastes, saw them where they really lived (not their front drawing room) and was genuinely welcomed. -- SHAY

 

Officer, I was only sleeping!” – Said to the sleep police upon the third ratchet-up of the alarm clock. Shay

TAIL AS A COUNTER BALANCE

LILY the lioness, she must also be cautious when drinking at the water hole. But not you, you have Alligator AwayTM you jump right in, flipping a switch on your bionic prehensile tail which transforms into a propeller. But you accidentally (on purpose) put it into the turbo mode in reverse, pulling you backward and hovering over the watering hole, you look up the river at the jungle then down past the beaver hut (beaver hut?) since the waters have calmed, you look down at your reflection – a somewhat large brown monkey with a big foolish grin! Seth Rogen the Great. You spot the alligators shivering at the far shore snorting their fierce snorts in defiance. You react by letting out your best Tarzan yell. You thumb your nose and give them a huge raspberry, thinking it's great to be king. Aaugh, forgot to get a drink. Oh, well, you head over to the trees where you turn off the propeller and switch to swing mode, using all five of your appendages, but mostly your tail, to nearly fly through the trees and vines to land at a barstool at a place called Cafe in the Canopy.

"The darkest path is the one with the most light." - The StarQuest

AN ADVENTURE A NIGHT

RACING against time and the gush of wind created by the hull breach, throwing your tiger ahead through the airlock and squeaking by with shirttail frayed by the closing metallic jaws; catching your breath as you map out the path to the command center, your mind wanders, thinking of loved ones so far away in Jamaica, mon. The alarms which have been weak and seemingly far off, are now blaring since air pressure is increasing. You clutch your tiger tightly and speak the command for artificial gravity off. Immediately one small push sends you careening through a ceiling hatch. The control lock wheel takes both hands to turn and with a grunt the wheezing of trapped air stops. Looking up, where's tiger? No time, off to the command center. Looking around the corner, acceleration forces throw you to the back wall. “Time for dinner, Calvin,” your mother chimes, “what, did your box flip on you?”

“When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep.”

RUNAWAY AND JOIN THE CIRCUS

THE circus isn't what it used to be. Once long ago it stood supreme as the biggest entertainment industry in America. In 1930 the unofficial winter quarters for circuses was Sarasota Florida. A newbie, or a 'First of May' (someone who usually plays the season's opening spot on the first of May) you work one of the easiest of acts -- stilt walking, which is fairly straightforward until you factor in children tugging at your pant-legs while you need to keep moving to keep your balance. Needless to say you look around for another opportunity and when one of the adagio performers breaks their wrist, you volunteer. As you quickly learn, your job as an adagio artist is to counterbalance movements of your fellow acrobat. One person is the flier and another is the base. You take turns, since you are evenly weighted. On the first of May you are ready and are lifted into the air – and then some. You find yourself really flying, doing amazing rolls, dips and arches. For a finale you buzz the lion's cage to great applause and without any munchkins tugging at your cuffs.

Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads. --ERICA JONG

THE FIRST SUNSHIELD

YOUR first job out of college in 2034 you get to work on the first (THE FIRST!) Sunshield. They are an army of flying bots that derive power from the sun and direct it back into space. They fly five degrees south of the Equator so they are over water as much as possible. You work in the wave pattern analysis that, like a flock of birds, keeps the bots separate and in formation despite winds, altitude changes, and yes, occasional birds. A secondary purpose is to channel heat from the ocean's surface out into the edge of space. Soon it is being used to push weather systems into deserts. There is a saying as old as the hills ‘Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it’ Ha! Within 15 years starvation is a thing of the past. Even your friends and colleagues didn't quite believe, for before the SunShield, it was 'There will always be - fill in the blank - poverty; disease; ignorance, etc.' Once we changed the weather though, we could do anything! But there are still a great number of people you meet for whom the SunShield simply is the thing that makes sunrises and sunsets sparkle!”

Do something everyday that brings you closer to your goals.

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ADreamANight thanks you for sharing this dream with someone you know who needs an adventure. May they dream deeply and wake in joy.

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