On 2/5/2011 11:20 AM, Lyle Davis wrote:
> I'm sitting here on a Saturday morning, munching on tangerines which I
> have freshly picked from a neighbor's tree.
> They are smallish . . . but tasty. I love tangerines. They're easy
> to peel, tasty to eat. I have an endless supply of them as when I
> take Trixie for her walkies, we always go by this tangerine tree.
> Quite often I'll be wearing my dark blue terrycloth bathrobe, with my
> sandals . . . and I happen to have great big pockets on that
> bathrobe. Ergo, I collect many tangerines, carry them home in my
> pockets, and then place them on my desk for whenever I get the munchies.
> I think of this almost daily scene as I contemplate my brethren (and
> cistern) who live in the snow/cold belt. I well remember the many
> years of blizzards, sleet, and snow back in the midwest. For some
> strange reason, I do not miss that weather.
> I'd rather be out picking tangerines.
From Kent Ballard:
Humph! We here in the Frozen Flyover lope through the fog and snow like
wolves, hunting anything that moves and usually cooking it on a spit as
soon as we skin it. We're a different breed, hardier, stronger, more
cunning, immune to frostbite, and of a wildly different mindset. We roam
the creeks, looking for spots where the ice is thin, then run the
animals before us to that spot. When they break through and struggle to
get out they come under a hail of spears and rocks. Lassoing the
carcasses out with ropes made of twined deer hide is an easy matter and
for something that large we take our stone axes, cut down a sapling, and
carry it back to the huts and caves for a communal meal, eaten with our
fingers while sitting comfortably on tanned hides, a roaring fire of
deadwood providing both heat and light.
We do not know what tangerines are. We do not care. Our Vitamin C comes
from onions, grown in the summer by the women in the tribe and stored in
shallow pits insulated by thick layers of fallen autumn leaves. You can
store vegetables many months that way.
There are tales among the tribal folk of giant metal tubes falling out
of the sky on rare occasions. They usually burn and the smoke collects
Midwesterners for miles around. They look inside the tubes, what's left
of them, and tear out valuable things that have not burned. We used to
get a lot of small folding knives that way, but no more. Still, we cut
out the cloth from the seats and the strong straps from around the dead
bodies. These are used in a wide variety of ways among Midwestern
tribes. Many tribes have taken metal panels that have broken off the
tube-things and use them to make extraordinarily strong huts, or
intertwine them into the roofs of their huts because rain and snow-melt
will not go through them. Some of the metal in the tube-things is
salvaged to make spear points, arrowheads, axes, more knives, and spring
traps for small animals. The work is always done quickly. This includes
taking the shiny things the dead women are wearing (our women prize
them) and any warm clothing on the bodies.
Then the women depart, taking with them whatever we found of value on
dogsleds and backpacks, while the men fall back and wait for the wolves
to come to the scent of meat drifting out of the tube-thing. Wolf hides
are especially important, because when sewn into jackets and vests and
hoods your breath will not freeze on wolf hair, leaving them ice-free
and much warmer. We climb high in the snowy trees and ambush the packs
with bows and spears, getting many wolf hides that way.
Many Midwestern tribesmen claim they've retrieved strange things from
these fallen tubes. Some are round, like short sticks, and buttons on
them move. When you move them, they make bright light! Really! I'm
serious! I myself saw such a thing that had been traded from tribe to
tribe. But they do not make light forever. The eventually die and become
useless. We throw them away then, the magic having left the
light-sticks. And there are tales of other magic things found in the
tubes, like things that look like the flat flagstones we use to build
walls with, but these things are not stone and much lighter. We don't
know what they are made of. You can open them up because there is a
split in them and there is a black area on one side and many buttons on
the other. Some claim to have given them to their children to play with,
and randomly poking the buttons it is claimed that some of them will
make light where the black part is, opposite the buttons, and unknown
words and symbols appear. Sometimes it becomes like a window in a hut
and you can see images of things far away, or images of other people.
Sometimes they are said to play music. I have not seen this myself and
find that hard to believe. In any case they are immediately burned to
keep bad spirits from infesting the tribe that found them.
We see many white lines crossing the sky and we're pretty sure they are
other flying tubes. Usually they're too high to see any detail, but
sometimes they're low enough to resemble what good fortune has dropped
into our forests. We do not know where they come from or where they are
going. Generally it is believed that other tribes send their dead to the
afterlife in them, because when one falls and we look inside, everyone
is dead. So they must be vessels for taking the dead to their final
reward, but we do not know what makes them fly. Probably it is the same
magic that lights the sticks or makes the lightweight split flagstones
do eerie things.
Some say we need to learn this magic for ourselves. All agree it would
be a wonderful thing to have, but no one knows where to start. Perhaps
someday we might find a living person, sent to escort the dead in one of
the tubes, and he will tell us.
Chieftain Kent, ruler of the Ironwood clan