Archive for wind

Redirection

Posted in Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2012 by javedbabar

There was just an hour to go till the global launch of the film HUMANITY. Sami was pleased that everything was set. The screen and scaffold, projector, VIP and ordinary chairs, ropes and poles and red carpet were all in place.

There had been a light wind whispering all day. In the morning it rose from Mt Alba, the white mountain towering above the village, and then travelled along the valley to Mt Negra, the dark mountain at its far end. In the late afternoon it picked up and returned.

Sami noticed light reflecting around The Place, the communal space at the heart of the village where the screening would occur. Where was it coming from?

He looked around but nothing was moving, except, damn! The 20 x 40 ft screen was rippling, only slightly, but enough to notice.

This was a disaster! The director’s carefully composed shots would be distorted. The screening would be ruined.

The projectionist had noticed the rippling too. He called Sami over and said, “We need to do something about this. The film will look pretty bad otherwise.”

Sami asked, “Can you do something with the projector?” and then realized it was a stupid question. He could hardly project anti-ripples. They would have to adjust the scaffold and screen.

The projectionist discussed options with the crew. They decided they could improve the situation by tightening the screen. This meant men in hard hats, tied to ropes, climbing ladders, so for safety reasons they would have to block all access to The Place. Despite being local project manager, Sami was in practical terms the least useful person on site, and was asked to redirect members of the public.

He blocked the entrance with a road barrier and greeted people approaching with a smile. It was hard to get annoyed when someone had smiled at you already for no reason. This was a conflict resolution technique taught to him by Guru Baba.

A young woman approached and said, “Excuse me please, I am the owner of that sandwich shop,” – she pointed to a cute shop with red and white hanging baskets – “I need to check stock for tomorrow.”

“Can you enter from the back, Miss? I won’t be able to let you through here for half an hour.”

“The cops have closed off the back areas. I have to enter from the front.”

“I am sorry, but you will have to wait. Will you be able to do it later, or in the morning?”

“I guess I could do it in the morning. That’s a good idea. My boyfriend wakes me up anyway. He’s a health nut, and goes running at 5am. I may as well come then.”

A man in his fifties approached, sweating, and said, “I have to get to the hairdressers. It is urgent!”

“Do you have an appointment? No? Why is it urgent? It is only hair.” Sami’s hair was thinning and he didn’t care. “Hair today, gone tomorrow!”

The man thought about this for a moment and said, “You are right. Hair today, gone tomorrow.” He said it again and removed his wig, which had needed adjustment. A little more light reflected around The Place.

A man with Celtic tattoos said, “I need vitamins from the health shop.”

Sami said, “Which ones? Okay, A, C, E and K? Why don’t you eat spinach instead?”

An agitated woman ran up and said, “I need formula for my baby. She is hungry and I’ve run out.”

Sami gave her a hard hat and escorted her to the grocery store. He had learnt many lessons from Guru Baba. One of the most important was to know when to redirect people, and when to help them on their way.

Apple Express

Posted in Alternative Energy, Infinite City, Lucerne Village, Organic Farming with tags , , , , , on March 7, 2012 by javedbabar

“Bloody apples!” shouted Farmer John. “Falling everywhere! There must be an orchard in the sky.” He was standing in the middle of a field. Where had they come from? He stamped his right foot and held the top of his head with both hands, as blood seeped from a gash beneath his fingers. They really were bloody apples.

Apples had been falling for almost a month now. They were infrequent to begin with, and quite unripe; small, green sour balls. They had become a daily occurrence of late, now bigger and riper, almost ready to eat.

There was a daily hot wind coming up the Valley, ten degrees warmer than the air in Lucerne. It was a strange, localized occurrence. No one minded the temperature, but its power was a problem: it had blown away old barn roofs, caused tall trees to topple, and excessive wear on Lucerne’s wind turbines. It blew hot up the Valley at noon, and returned cold from the glaciers at dusk – and it seemed to be carrying apples.

Farmer John said in the pub one day, “That fruity wind, it should be called the Apple Express, like the one from Hawaii is called the Pineapple Express.” Other people had thought the same, but he was the first person to say it. He was acknowledged to have coined the term. “It’s causing problems. Those apples are landing square on my spuds; almost like they’re aiming for them. Potato plants are bearing apples – or that’s what it looks like when I walk down the rows.”

“How will you harvest them?” said Farmer Tom. “Apples will be mixed in with your spuds.”

“They will be,” said Farmer John. “They will be. What can we do?” No one wanted to think of the extra labour needed to remove the apples. They considered letting them all rot there, fertilizing the ground. But there was no way to avoid some slipping in with spuds. The apples’ moisture would rot the spuds. They’d have to pick the apples out, before or after harvesting – either way it was a massive task.

Walking along the rows one day, Farmer John picked up an apple and examined it closely. It had been transformed by its warm, windy journey. The apple’s skin was gleaming as if it had spent an hour in a bowling ball polisher, and its cheeks were as rosy as a ruddy farmer’s. He took a big bite. “By God!” he exclaimed, syrup pouring out of the corners of his mouth and over his chin. “That’s the juiciest apple I’ve ever eaten.” He felt a warm tingling in his belly like the fire of a light rum shot. “And it’s full of cider!” He ate many more apples, and went to the pub merry already.

Lucerne Valley farmers were happy, they had an extra crop. Gorgeous apples fell on their fields daily. Farmer John called them Mt. Alba Apples, as they seemed somehow linked to Lucerne’s mountain guardian. Holding an apple high in his hand, it seemed a new sun above the mountain, shining blessings down. They sold really well at grocery stores and farmers markets, and were popular with local kids not yet nineteen.

Beyond the City, the 4,800 acre Glaser Valley Farm’s (GVF) owners were not impressed. The Apple Express had become fierce of late, tearing along the Glaser Valley, over mountain passes and across lakes, through to the Lucerne Valley – carrying their best apples. These delicate apples – grown for export to Japan – had very weak stems. Just before they fell, many were picked up by the Apple Express and carried off to Lucerne. GVF was losing a quarter of its crop this way. They initiated legal proceedings against Lucerne Valley farmers, claiming financial compensation for lost revenues, and punitive damages for theft. It was a very short hearing though.

“This case is unprecedented,” said the judge. “And frankly inexplicable. So we will need to discuss it from first principles. I will consult my most learned friends and establish a philosophical framework, based on agricultural ethics and tort law. Please explain the essence of your case in simple terms. Our sponsors require this for our television audience.”

GVF’s attorney said, “My clients are hard working toilers of the earth. They have a decade of agricultural achievement behind them…”

“Objection!” shouted the Lucerne Valley farmer’s attorney. “Seven years is not a decade.” The judge agreed and changed the record to say “many years”.

GVF’s attorney continued, “They invest much time, effort, and money in growing the best apples for export across the world, to improve our nation’s trading balance. The fruits of their labours are being stolen by others. We demand fair-minded justice.”

The Lucerne Valley farmers’ attorney had a bright idea. He suggested that Farmer John make their statement. “My family’s been growing potatoes for a hundred years,” he said, “and it’s…”

“Objection!” shouted GVF’s attorney. “He’s making that up.”

Farmer John provided the names of his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, all farmers in the Lucerne Valley. The judge overruled the objection. Farmer John continued. “And now we’ve got fields full of apples. We never asked for them to drop out of the sky. But we know the earth’s cycles. We believe that our brother farmer’s jumbo jet-fuls of exports are directly related to their problem. Climate change is controversial, but here we see it in action. And we are wondering whether to include the two deaths in our community caused by falling apples within the scope of this case, or to file a separate one.”

Glaser Valley Farmers withdrew their case. Despite their 25% annual attrition, they continued to make big profits selling the remainder to Japan. Farmer John continued to have his annual crop of apples for twelve years, but less fell each year. By the time the Apple Express stopped blowing, apple seeds were well established in Lucerne. Mt. Alba Apples became an invaluable companion crop to spuds.