Previously on Darklight: a careless traveller has boarded a sailing carriage on the Darklight Rail. He dreams of finding long lost Selena at one of the lunar stations. Part one is here.
The tracks arched upward, the horizon, far below,
was lost in cloud, my socks were striped
in shades of peach and avocado green,
and the moon shone like a flashlight
that could do with a change of batteries.
My sailing carriage was leaving earth,
its destination, outer space, where the only wind
was solar, and oxygen was hard to come by.
I looked around my open wooden
flatcar with its single paper sail,
(no motion without wind,
no breathing without air)
and wondered whether I had chosen
wisely with the Darklight Rail.
A bubble-headed space suit
in the prow of a conveyance
fueled by burning kerosene
might have been a better choice.
Oh woe is me, I said aloud,
wrung my hands a little,
and a small and colourless bird
flew down to perch upon my head.
Do not be overly dramatic. Far beneath us,
an early autumn day is dressed in pastels;
sharp cicadas cut its sleepy air.
The bird was right. My expectations
should be flexible, petulance
would serve no purpose now.
But we are stranded here in cold dark
airless space. Can you see the stars?
Their blinding light.
The grey-scale bird fluttered before me.
I have air beneath my wings.
Have you noticed?
Mother moon may never be denied,
all oceans must obey her.
She’s called forth a corridor of air
from the atmospheric sea, and spun
the rails to a Spira Mirabilis.
Despite the laws of physics,
this carriage will be swept
to her embrace.
There was unexpected wisdom in that plain bird’s
words, and to mention gravitation or orbital
mechanics would be churlish.
And tell me, bird, how did you acquire
such esoteric knowledge?
I have no formal education, but I have read
the Cyclopedia Aerolithium from cover
to cover, and back again.
The marvellous spiral may be found on page ⌈⌈⌉⌋⌈⌈⌊⌈⌈⌋
of the Aerolithium, and my own humble species, ibid,
on page ⌋⌊⌋⌈⌋⌋⌋⌉⌉⌊.
And yet, I thought, some mystery remains.
- Where I live the cicadas came late this year. Apparently Australian summers are getting longer. No prize for guessing why.
- Very little makes sense in this scenario, but I have a fondness for the Spira Mirabilis, or logarithmic spiral. Insects will approach a light source along this famous spiral.
- The pagination of birds here is quaternary (base 4) because most birds have four toes per foot. The symbols were influenced by Woodstock in Charles M Schulz’s comic Peanuts.
inner space, youtube video made with VEE, the visual evolution engine. This short video without soundtrack is a test of ALISA, Adaptive Layered Image Synthesis and Automation.