Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Thoreau kicks off from shore and drifts leisurely from harm.
After that hair-raising adventure, I have permitted myself to relax and recuperate for a day or two. Too much rest is rust, I know, but in this case I think no one could blame me for wanting to stretch out in my bed, behind the security of meter-thick polished granite walls and a stout oak door, watching the sun crawl across the sky.

Not that day, you understand. I didn't even wait for my clothes to dry before I clambered into another makeshift boat and set sail. Night had fallen and the A.C.M.s were out: they had emerged into being within the livestock pen, however, and they find the simple wooden fences more than their match. They can manage staircases but not ladders; I have heard the fiercer of these mindless revenants pound at my door, but I haven't seen them make a try for the fence posts. Adios to these odious hosts, it's the ocean life for me.

I retreated to the second island... very well, I'm pressed to slap labels upon these islands, and I will do it now. The island upon which I first entered this strange world, the one which I believed to be the only crumb of turf in the entire aqueous world, I shall name this Bartram Island. Yes, I think this is suitable, as I drew much inspiration from this wise soul's writings. Let all things begin with Bartram, both on this island and in my personal endeavors.

As for the second island, it can only be Ellery Island. I so entitle this island in memory of my dear friend whom I miss exceedingly. The only other faces I've seen in this realm are those of skeletons and sheep, nightmares and livestock. What I would not give to simply behold my magnificent friend's visage for one sole minute.

The potatoes and carrots, with irrigation.
There we are, I have imposed unnatural order upon Nature, and may God forgive my soul.

I have returned to the basics, mowing the wild grass down for seeds and starting a good stretch of wheat. I brought some potatoes from my fortification on Bartram Island and planted these; similarly, I retrieved three carrots from the A.C.M.s during my hapless adventure, and assisted by bone meal they are coming along nicely. The sheep seem to have done well enough on their own. I crafted some new shears and they are all shorn now, white and brown wool in storage. These are good for making a bed, even though I've no need for sleep: a nice, plush bed is simply a creature comfort in a universe where everything defies comprehension.

A new round of chicks.
But I found over a dozen hen eggs in my pack, after having collected these from the farm at Bartram. I'm afraid one of them skidded out of my hand upon examination, and it shattered upon the ground. This is when I discovered another highly unlikely feature in this fantastic realm: a newborn chick sprung from the shell, fresh and unharmed! Stunned, I repeated the experiment, dashing another 16 eggs to the ground. It was not always fruitful, but in the end I have now three chicks hopping about the yard as though they had always lived here. (The sheep have. I found them waiting for me when I discovered this second land.)

Sheep and chicken, now. What do you think of that? I'm a little impressed with myself, and if I never sail back to Bartram Is., I should do quite well here all the same. It's a tidy little life, actually, and as long as one doesn't go stumbling about wormlike caverns, it's fairly trouble-free and pleasant. I grant you, the scenery isn't much, as my little hillock emerges from a broad and seemingly limitless expanse of blue ocean water. But the sunsets are beautiful and the spreading trees are healthy wonders on their own merit.

The flames roar, impurities fall away.
I've upgraded the furnace in my granite shelter, through quite an ingenious redesign if I may permit myself such pardonable pride. I have designed two hoppers, one which collects material in the top—iron and gold ore are lined up to smelt away, and great quantities of each!—and another which extracts the finished product and stores it in a chest below the floor. Quite the convenience, a simple little contraption like this, it allows me to load up the first hopper with ores, meats, sand to be melted into glass, whatever I like, and walk confidently away from the furnace. Prior to this, I had to stand by and attend, monitoring the process, restoking the furnace when the coal ran low, swapping out goods refined for raw.

Not that there's anything pressing to command my concern, on Ellery Island. I haven't a pipe, the perimeter of my land is less than half that of Bartram Is., and such is my luck, tea leaves do not grow here either.

No, all there is for me to do is to plant myself upon a likely clod of earth, keep an ear out for any unwanted visitors, and quietly, internally, repeat my (perhaps futile) supplication with every breath of my lungs and every beat of my heart.

No comments:

Post a Comment