I was driving down a long straight stretch of gravel road this afternoon, limestone dust billowing in my wake, my ancient truck’s engine burbling happily, with Schubert’s Fifth symphony playing on the radio. Parenthetically, that symphony is one of the truly happy works of European music, right up there with Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. Schubert had decided to quit his teaching job and his ebullience is reflected in the Fifth. I was happy because the Quincy classical music station wasn’t playing over-rated and bombastic second-rate music; in my view the best of modern movie music surpasses the bulk of 19th-century “classical” music. I’d rather listen to Ennio Morricone or Bernard Herrmann than Rachmaninoff or Tchaikovsky. But that’s just me!
It was warm and sunny out, and the landscape seemed to be enjoying a last respite from the frigid rigors sure to come before long. My window was open and my elbow extended out into the slipstream.
A feathered humanoid form whooshed in and settled on the back of the seat next to me. What was Eos, Greek goddess of the dawn, doing out in the middle of the afternoon? I thought that she generally slept the afternoon away after the exertions of her morning tasks.
I said, “What are you doing up, Eos?”
“I just couldn’t sleep ‘cuz I was so excited! Look at this!”
She handed me a scroll of what looked like silk.
Taking my hands from the steering wheel and steering with my knees, I spread out the scroll. The lettering and illuminations were ornate and brilliant, looking like something out of the Book of Kells. The fabric wasn’t silk — it was even smoother, and it seemed to glow with an interior light like the screen of a laptop computer. Back-lit fabric!
The lettering was in a script unlike any Earthen script I had ever seen.
“Okay — you have to tell me! What is this?! You know I can’t read it!”
“Larry, it’s an official permit! They have issued this to me after I pleaded and begged for oh so many eons. This scroll gives me permission to try some new and innovative dawns! The only catch is that I have to create them where no human will see them.”
“Well, that’s certainly cool! But what is this weird fabric the permit is printed on? It’s kinda like silk, but that glow…”
“It’s a new fabric woven from congealed photon strands exuded from the spinnerets of cosmic spiders which weave their webs within dark matter thickets, way way out there.”
“Do tell! So who or what weaves this wondrous fabric?”
“We have some new weaver sprites in the shop; they were raised and trained just for this work. They aren’t much to look at, and don’t welcome small talk, but they do have a way with the warps and the wefts, don’t you think?”
“So how will you find places where no human will ever see your innovative sunrises? We’re almost everywhere these days.”
“I know of several areas, like certain areas of the Australian Outback and the Gobi Desert. Antarctica would work, as well.”
“But what if some human happens to see one of these sunrises?”
“I have permission to kill them and feed their corpses to certain ancient and amoral deities. Cthulhu was the first to sign up.”
“Oh. Wait — how do I know you aren’t just making this up? Trying to entertain yourself while you are idle this afternoon?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know, Larry! You can find out by hanging around one of the areas I mentioned. Don’t count on our friendship to restrain my wrath!”
The goddess smiled at me and flew out of the window; she disappeared into the distant clouds.
This encounter gave me food for thought during the remainder of my route!