Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A story from the past

In our times, it is generally believed that Sir Isaac Newton is the discoverer of gravity. Actually, this is not the case. True, Mr. Newton had a hand in defining and labeling gravity the way we regard it today, but with all due respect, Isaac really didn't discover gravity. That happened a long time ago in the desert southwest of what we now know as the United States. The now arid landscape was a cooler and wetter land then and volcanos dotted the region. Tribes of humans also resided in a mostly peaceful patchwork across the area. It is one of these tribes that discovered gravity and learned to use the power for all sorts of things. The history of the tribe is also of great interest as is the ultimate extinction of these people - the Hoverers.

But today, I will tell you about the discovery of gravity and the strange way the Hoverers stumbled on the secret. It had been known for generations that to eat a fruit from the plant which makes one crazy was to sentence oneself to certain death. No one could really remember anyone who had actually eaten the fruit, but the legend persisted so forcefully that it was enough to deter the tribespeople from trying it. And so it was a quirk of fate one day that a lone berry found its way into a basket of sweet miracle fruit which looked strikingly similar. It is true that to eat an entire berry from the plant which makes one crazy would be fatal, but since this basket of fruit was prepared lovingly into a marinade for game meat, only a minute amount of the berry would end up being served to any one person. As the tribe feasted one evening on sweet miracle fruit marinated rabbit legs, it was the children who first demonstrated odd behavior.

The adults didn't know it, but the children started to see gravity. What they saw was fascinating to them even though they didn't understand it. An uncountable number of strings extended from the ground to the sky, the strings of gravity tugging at unseen objects high above. What was more is that the children saw gravity strings extending from every object, and with this view it seemed that everything was alive, the rock, the water, and people. The gravity strings of people only extended a few inches while the tallest trees' strings extended more than a meter. But it was the fire that riveted the children. They could see how fire was simply a strumming of the strings that created a ripple moving skyward. The fire rode this ripple upwards toward the sky until the ripple petered out a few feet up. This is why fire defies gravity although science would surely explain it differently today.

It was Heart of a Jaguar who first started talking about the fire and what it was doing. He could see the spark kind of twitching the strings and got as close as he could without burning his face. He started to snap his fingers and observe the strings and after several tries managed to strum the strings by whipping his small gravity strings very quickly and perpendicularly to the ground's strings. Problem was, he burst into flames before the horrified eyes of the tribespeople. It was the first ever sighting of spontaneous combustion and the event marked a more superstitious era for the tribe. It would be another generation before they discovered the power of the berry from the plant which makes one crazy, and then it would be another ten years before they discovered how to harness the power of gravity without incinerating themselves.


Rebekah said...

Great name for the tribe, "The Hoverers."

Write more please. I want to read more. Please write more.

Love it. Unique, has a "Wind in the Willows" feel to it.

pushthebutton,max! said...

This is great stuff, dude. Did you make all that up?

It's like a "create your own myth" exercise!

tornwordo said...

I made it up. Since I like trying styles from books I read, this is born of reading 100 Years of Solitude.
Thanks, see you in a week.

What's Wind in the Willows?

pushthebutton,max! said...

Think "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride"

Rebekah said...

oh, btw, Heart of the Jaguar is the name of a novel about the Mayans that 7th graders read at our school.