On the Edge of the Windweld
Dream | May 9, 2010
A steep mountain trail flanked with grass and huge craggy boulders. The misty air is crisp and cool under the ancient green pine trees.
I arrive at a Y-junction. An older couple is strolling down toward the intersection and an Asian man is heading away from it. At the junction there's a yield sign that reads ABS Test Zone. This steep path is probably a great place to test Anti-Lock Braking Systems. At the sign I turn around. Down the trail the older couple is somehow already way ahead of me.
During my descent I start hopping and my jumps carry me farther and farther through the air. Soon I'm jumping 7 or 10 meters in broad arcs, banking off rocks and trees and the sides of the ravine the trail winds through. I'm leaping high over couples picking their way down the steep path. On one particular parabola I pump my arms, pushing air below me in an effort to stay in the air longer. Soon I'm soaring through the pine trees and approaching the canopy. Flying in a dream is an amazing feeling. Now I can see farther down the mountain. Mist seeps through the deep forest. Hidden somewhere in there is the village I have come from.
Below is the Windweld, a vast chasm that splits the great mountain. It fills my vision and drops off to infinity. On the near side, between the end of the forest and the edge of the Windweld, is a wide band of green-grey rock about one hundred meters thick. Halfway down into the chasm and on each side of the cavity is a narrow ledge with trees and bushes which likely began to grow on the chasm's floor when it first split millions of years ago, before the earth was yanked wide. Now the chasm drops into blackness, a seemingly bottomless abyss.
Until now the winds have buffeted my flight and I'm hopeful I can soar across the Windweld rather than dropping to the ground and following the long path to a natural bridge across. I can just make out the far side of the chasm through the cloud cover.
Nearby an older couple is flying hand in hand. Although I cannot see their faces I can tell they are in awe of this spectacle. When almost over the Windweld they begin to turn back, arcing back towards the forest and disappearing into the trees.
But I've got high hopes, great altitude and a bouyant attitude. So I pump my arms and angle down slightly towards the other side to get some speed.
Directly over the Windweld the air suddenly becomes very chilly. Blowing up from the deep dark depths it doesn't have the lift of the slightly warmer air that facilitated my flight. I'm quickly dropping down into the gulf. Now I'm panicking, frantically pumping my arms, banking towards the near edge. At the last second I roll and heave my body, landing on my stomach on the very edge of the Windweld, one leg dangling into the abyss. The wind is furiously whipping me towards the edge and I'm clinging onto smooth solid rock in this barren landscape. In the distance through the mist is the edge of the forest, but nearby there are no plants or bushes or roots or anything to grasp. My left hand is scrabbling about on the smooth rock and finds a notch in which to dig my fingers. There I hang on feebly, half hanging over the cliff and drained of all energy.
A movement catches my eye. The elderly couple I flew with earlier emerges from the forest and is walking away towards the mountain path. I wave my hand feebily and croak “help" through the howling wind. By a rare chance the woman looks back sees me lying there. Now I'm drifting off into unconsciousness, losing hope and stamina, still clutching that shallow cleft in the rock, slowly slipping over the side.
I feel someone grab my arm and drag me before I pass out.
When I awake I'm lying flat on the rough rock worn smooth by rain and wind. In the darkness I see the cliff is a foot away and I realize they only pulled me a couple of feet. The wind is still brutally sweeping towards the edge. If I stood up I would get hurled to my death. So hand over hand I haul myself across the green-gray rock towards the forest. Carefully I find clefts in the rock, digging sore hands into solid rock, dragging my exhausted body through the maelstrom of wind.
After a very long time the air becomes eerily calm. As I'm pulling myself forward my hand feels something soft and smooth like linen. I peer ahead at a sheet of transparent satin. It's draped on the ground and rises straight up to the heavens, forming a wall as far to either side as I can see. I crawl under it and encounter another such wall of satin, draped on the ground in the opposite direction and glowing warmly.
As I squint through, a woman is walking trance-like along a pale path across the rock. I stand up and she stops and looks at me. Her unnaturally smooth features and strange lifeless eyes remind me of 3D models. She also seems larger than life. I look around. The satin sheets form a long rectangular hall that looks like an ancient Greek or Roman temple. On the far end are a row of maybe 20 people standing on short pedestals. Between and slightly behind them are a row of softly glowing torches. The satin illuminates the rest of the room. Beyond the far wall is the dark forest.
The people on pedestals step down and begin slowly walking across the room.
I ask the woman, “Is this... real?"
She answers enigmatically: “It is as real as it is."
Then I realize where I am, and snap my fingers. “This is a dream!"
The walking figures have arrived where we are and break formation, milling about or conversing in murmurs with each other. They all have the same surreal quality as the woman—like walking mannequins.
A man has a husky dog with him. I put out my hand and the animal sniffs it mechanically, but shows no other indication of interest.
All these strange people begin to take seats in a row of antique desks which monks might have used during the Middle Ages. Some have books like large ancient volumes, or thinner books of similar vintage. Curious, I walk amongst the desks while they are studying and try to glimpse the words on paper. But every time I get close the book's owner slowly closes it. It's not a rude gesture, but a statement of privacy that makes me feel intrusive.
It's about this time that a loud crow starts cawing outside my window, waking me up....