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Silva Sanguinara

Posted in Lucerne Village, Unknown with tags , , , , , , , on May 2, 2012 by javedbabar

The Zoological Society of Lucerne had done a good job, taking the unused park near the centre of the Village and transforming it into a tropical garden. They had walled in heat and humidity, and also hoped to wall in crowds.

The purpose of the Core Enhancement Scheme was to make the downtown area more attractive. The Village had been creeping towards the Highway, and there was a danger that within ten years Lucerne’s vibrant centre would become deserted and its commercial district would be a highway strip mall. This was of great concern to Lucerne’s citizens, but not enough to stop them spending all day in the highway coffee shop.

Something needed to be done, and the Botanical Garden hit the Bull’s-eye. Individuals, couples, and families flocked there. They loved its colours and warmth. Insects were attracted by the moist forest, and they in turn drew birds.

Whenever Danny walked through the Botanical Garden he felt like he was in a fairy tale. Fresh green papaya and banana trees made his eyes smile. Sweet smells of miro-Tahiti flowers brightened his nose. Spiders spun webs which held jewels of dew in sunshine. Flashing blue and green hummingbirds whirred around his head. Did they think it was a source of nectar? It was only a matter of time before one hovered beside his ear and poked its long beak in. The garden seemed a painting by Henri Rousseau; the only thing missing was a dusky beauty from his brighter period, or a stealthy tiger from his darker phase.

A man in a green suit approached him. As he drew near, The Gardener tipped his top hat and said, “Good morning, Danny. It’s a beautiful day.”

“It sure is,” said Danny. “Every day here seems like paradise.”

“We do our best,” said The Gardener, smiling. “We do our best.” He turned off the main path onto a side trail.

This was the great joy of the Botanical Garden – there were almost as many trails as days of the year. You could try a different way daily. Danny turned off the main path and came to a patch of stunted palms with hairy fringes, and fine white fabric wrapped about their tops. They looked as if they were wearing tall fat turbans set with bright jewels, which upon closer inspection proved to be red and green information tags. The red ones said Silva Sanguinarus, and the green ones said, Silva Sanguinara. They must be males and females of the same species, thought Danny, but they seemed more dead than alive.

Some children ran along the same trail as Danny and were surprised to find him there. One said, “Mister, we play hide and seek here. Is that okay?” He said go ahead and headed back to the main path. He heard loud counting, then squeals of laughter and the inevitable shouting and crying.

Danny saw The Gardener in the distance and set off down a trail towards him. He was tending giant cacti – spiny phallic monsters with lush pink flowers that attracted wasp hordes. They didn’t seem to sting him though.

“Where do Silva Sanguinarus come from?” said Danny.

“Don’t be sexist,” said The Gardener. “They wouldn’t come from anywhere at all if it wasn’t for Silva Sanguinara. Males and females must travel together or they won’t grow.”

Danny didn’t like his smart remark. The Gardener continued, “I’m just teasing. They are a recent addition to the collection from Polynesia. They are very delicate when replanted so we cover their tops with cheesecloth. It protects their hearts.”

“Their hearts?” said Danny. “Trees have hearts?”

The Gardener smiled as he heard the children screaming, and said, “Have you never eaten artichoke hearts or palm hearts? A plant has a heart. It’s the centre of its consciousness.  If it is damaged, the plant dies.”

“What about in winter? How do they survive? Does the cloth protect their hearts?”

“We hope so. That’s the intention. But the Silva Sanguinarus and Sanguinara are a bit different. They bloom in winter with huge crimson flowers. They are a vital part of the Core Enhancement. Many people in Lucerne suffer from Seasonal Disaffective Disorder and the number of suicides is climbing. We hope that people taking winter walks will be cheered up by seeing the flowers and feel brighter inside.”

“That’s great,” said Danny. “I feel quite down in winter. I’ll make sure I come to visit.” He left the garden whistling, and walked home carrying spoors of Silva Sanguinarus and Sanguinara on his shoe soles. They had been released by the trees when he’d entered the side trail. Their hearts missed the iron-rich red soil of their homeland, and hoped that this weak human would kill himself violently this winter, and soak their spoors with blood. And then the Village, scared by another death, would plant even more of them to cheer people up. This had proved a fine method of propagation. They were evolving.

Spinthro & Aquila

Posted in Mystical Experience, Sacred Geometry, World Myths with tags , , , , , on March 8, 2012 by javedbabar

Spinthro spotted a good hole in the snow. Pickings were slim in winter so he was glad for the find. He could have stayed in the trees for longer but that was getting boring; a hunter can’t stay cooped up forever. A spiderling’s got to travel – see the world – to become a spider. The dark bulk of Mt. Negra had called him forever, and it was time for him to go.

He spun an orb-web immediately. One of his proteins was a little off, and not mixing well with others. He tested it with a front leg – yes, it would intercept prey; yes, it would absorb their momentum; yes, it would entangle and hold them, ready for dinner. The web was fit for purpose. Within the hour, a cedar moth flew into the web. It struggled for a while but soon gave up, exhausted. Spinthro watched its terror increase through all eight of his eyes; he zapped it with venom, and flooded its corpse with digestive enzymes. Then he ground it down further with pedipalps. Dinner was thus served.

Spinthro’s brethren hunted various prey – he’d heard of spiders eating lizards, even birds – but he stuck with insects and smaller spiders. Of course the most popular, proven method was using a sticky web; but spiders also lassoed prey with home-made bolas; to avoid detection they camouflaged themselves, or mimicked prey; ferocious spiders even ran prey down!

He thought back to web class. They learnt how to use their spinnarets efficiently to produce all six kinds of silk together; how to draw out their proteins smoothly and transform their structure; and how to harden them into the world’s strongest, most flexible, versatile material. It could be used for many things besides webs. Sperm and egg wrappers, and safety ropes. Girls focussed on nest-building; boys used silk to make parachutes!

Survival class taught them about peripheral vision; putting your eight eyes to best use. With dragonflies and birds around, this saves your life. They learnt about hydraulic repairs. Spiders’ limbs operate by fluid pressure; one leak and you’re done for. The most vital class was sex education. How to deal with females. You needed to create the right web vibrations, or mighty females may gobble you up. The Spider Code was instilled into all spiderlings: Be Patient, Be Scary, Be Cruel, Be Creative.

Spinthro knew he was a holy being of mysterious power. Spiders had spun webs to protect Muhammad, King David, and Robert the Bruce. He was Anansi the trickster god, and Spider Grandfather. In modern times, he was Spiderman. He weaved his web as humans weaved their lives. The Shaman he spoke to said that clever humans behaved like spiders, manipulating their thoughts and actions skilfully, like strands of a web. He had eight legs and eight eyes. Eight was the symbol of infinity. He was the spinner of the fabric of existence.

High above Spinthro sat Aquila. Though the spider only knew her as the moving top of a tree, the eagle had seen the spider clearly, crawling way below. Her huge pupils allowed in much light, and ensured minimum diffraction, leading to a clean, deep gaze. She sat in this perfect nesting site, a giant old-growth cedar with 360o vantage.

Both her eggs had hatched successfully, but the older sister had killed her younger brother soon after he appeared. This is a cruel world and females must get ahead whenever they can. Aquila had been sad to lose her son, but knew that this was the way of life. She had done the same to her younger brother. It was a wonder that there were any guys left at all.

Her mother had told her about her name. Aquila means dark, on account of her dark feathers. The similar aquilo referred to the north wind, whose thermals she rode. But their moniker bald eagle was misunderstood. Its derivation was from a word meaning white-headed, rather than bare-headed. The shamans she spoke to had told her that.

Many gods had adopted eagle form. Zeus became an eagle to attack and seduce others. Garuda’s eagle body was so massive that it could block out the sun. Muhammad’s black standard was known as the Banner of the Eagle. An eagle was symbol of St. John the Evangelist. A knight bearing an eagle crest would be courageous, a man of action and justice. Spread eagle’s wings indicated protection, as embodied by Holy Roman, Russian, and French Emperors. It was the emblem of the old lands of Egypt, Iraq and Palestine, and newer lands of Poland, Spain and America.

Aquila was proud of her noble lineage. It made her welcome everywhere in the world. If Lucerne’s lakes froze over this winter, she would migrate somewhere south. She could swoop and snatch fish from Mexican or Bolivian lakes. Her broad even wings created direct, fast flight; her heavy head and large hooked beak, strong muscular legs, and powerful talons ensured that fish had no chance of escape. How could they against a spiritual messenger of the gods? They had given her the gift of clear vision, and the ability to fly above life’s worldly levels.

Aquila’s keen eyes looked around. There was the little spider in the snow hole, in which it had built an orb-web; created its own little world. She could swoop down easily and have a little snack. It would be good exercise and worth the effort nutritionally. But she didn’t feel like doing it. He was working so hard down there. Let him continue to work the land, she thought. She would uphold her dominance of the air. The spider was the Actor; she was the Observer. Their worlds were different yet the same.