The Chamber

I hid the chamber because it was dark, but it was not always that. It was never that until I dismantled my world and engaged in war. The chamber was once a green land, covered in ancient forests and mazed with crystal rivers. After the war, the land stopped growing. Temperatures froze, the sky became corroded by toxic gasses. The atmosphere absorbed pollutants until deathly fungi grew from the soils, until foliage turned to stone ropes spreading across the land in a densely woven shroud.

The dry ground cracked and split from quakes creating deep crevasses and valleys. Everything was buried in rubble, petrified under black resin sap, morphing nature into hard statues. The land was barren, and any remaining survivors were lost. Failure hung over every attempt to find something living. Light was scarce, oxygen thin. Decay and ruin swept through the land and this was the beginning of my chamber.

I lived high on the far cliffs hiding my eyes from the dried, poisoned land, retreating from the desolation. There was nothing left to save, not a blade of green, nothing to inhabit. Here I sat, and watched over the slow growing chaos that left every home abandoned, the secret places forgotten. There was no animal running for shelter, no cries for help, or the clasping of human arms. There were no trees, or plants to bring life to the air. It was a dark, silent, lonely wasteland.

I stood in the middle of my destruction, and in my frailty watched the great volcano of the west destroy the rest of my falling world. The rumbling shook me to my knees. There was a quaking, and a growing cloud of ash spreading above my head. This was something at least. Finally, I felt something. I gripped the ground, pressed my ear against earth’s crust, and listened. It wasn’t long though, until a breath was hard to draw, nothing could be seen, and so I crawled deep into a cave and for many, many days, slept.

Years passed before the lava rivers completely cooled. New valleys hardened. It was a blanket of black slate, lakes of molten bouldering over the timbered land. The chamber was morphed into black and grey shrines of stone. I searched the metamorphic terrain for anything that lived. Across dry and dark scrambles, following the ridge line, wandering for months upon ledges of dark pumice, digging under, scrapping, and turning over every rock, but found nothing alive.

Day in and day out, there was an emptiness. I starred up at the dusty sky, captive beneath sulfur rich gasses and water trapped in dark clouds. I was as thirsty as the land. Again, I slept for many months. I woke with the memory of an old legend. There was an ancient place, called the land of the living, a place where fields shown gold, and trees were said to be massive pillars holding palaces in place. Colors told to be too intricate to actually behold. It was a place forbidden because those that sought the land never returned. The legend slept, and soon no one believed the barrier ring of gold actually existed.

I had to go in search of this place, so that I might live, so that my land might live. This was the last place to search, the last known bridge to a world other than my own. I set out to cross the hills, beyond the high country, across the desert wilderness, and through miles of tunnels and mountainous country. The known instructions were to stay west and follow the mountain passes though the canyons.

Time faded and mattered not, there was only walking, scrambling, pulling, pushing, walking, grabbing, sleeping, scrambling, sleeping, walking. Then one day, there it was. It was a moving, transparent gold river, floating just a few inches above the ground. It was the barrier ring. It was real. It’s bright gleam pulsed with warmth. My gaze was captivated. I was here, at the gateway to the land of the living.

The ring of gold was three foot tall, but looked as long as the entire sphere. It had no horizon. It’s presence was a dynamic power of invitation, possession. It wanted endearment. It wanted me. It seemed made of gas particles moving around in cell like structures. There was a vivid change in the atmosphere above the ring, stretching up in a paper thin film, in a never ending dome, but I could walk right through, just a step through this magnetic wave of sort, and I would be among the living.

I walked through and ducked behind the shimmering veil on the other side. My cheek firmly pressed against the grass. It was real, living grass, and never did I smell the color of green so perfectly. It was the truest color I ever felt. The grass was full, lush, adorned with seeds. Right then, I yanked a handful of grass from its place, roots and all, and shoved it beneath my coat. This was enough to bring life to my land. No one knows I am here. I could get back before its too late, before I went missing.

The journey back was effortless, even as a year passed, even while cradling the small clump of roots and grass in my carefully lined bag. My pace was urgent, desperate to reach my chamber and get them planted. I was back in my dark lands sooner than I could stop regretting, not taking more time in the land of the living, as my curiosity became relentless. I would soon plant the grass and slowly weld my lands back to life. This would be enough.

In the middle of my land, I planted the seeds. I stood by them, slept by them, and created structure and condensation. They were still alive and it had been more than a month. The small mound of life was spreading. I dreamt of lush gardens and food. I would go back to the lands of the living and find more plants. But, since my last visit, I was increasingly concerned when a second moon that showed up in my sky. It remained close to mine and unmovable.

This second moon was a soft gemstone green, wrapped in a clear enchanting power, shifting faces in a shimmering glow. I was alert, trying to catch a glimpse of anything that would explain this moon. One night, I noticed a shifting shadow around a beam of light that stretched across the entire valley below, a majestic moving structure took form. I ran to a high cleft, and watched this shadow slowly disappear.

Then I heard a stable voice from behind me say, “I saw you in my field,” a man spoke.

I closed my eyes. His voice was brilliant and pleasing in my ear. I let it ring. I did not dare look. I did not want answers, but forcibly turned to behold him anyway and questioned, “You have seen me, but I have not seen you?”

His eyes were a soft, deep brown lit with a green fire in the center, “I imagined what you would be like long ago,” he answered “What anyone would be like in those times when the smoke from your wars and fires burnt my skin and changed my eyes to ash, and red with loss.”

“Your eyes are not red, nor your skin scarred, I defended.”

“No,” he paused, “My eyes are green and my skin is gold, see what I gained from suffering by your hand.” Everything he meant was in his eyes full of wit and laughter. “Would you show me what is now ours, what is growing?” he asked.

“Of course,” I replied, knowing he meant the patch of green. He knew where to go, but drifted behind. For a moment, I felt guilt. I wanted to excuse my chamber, but did not. I had no excuse and I knew he saw, and I wanted him to see.

“Here,” I said, gesturing to the ground.

“It is growing well,” he smiled.

I folded my arms and asked, “So, what is the land of the living, and why is there another moon here, is that yours, why are you here?”

“The living lands gravitate around life cycles, the lands absorb destruction and when consumed enough, spews out restoration time and time again. When you harvested the forest, cleared the plains, animals and vegetation came to the living lands transforming its habitat. The land is always regenerating. So it seems we’ve been merged by natural circumstance, yes.”

“Merged,” I interrupted.

“Yes,” he repeated, “Remember when the water drained from your lakes and reservoirs. They flooded my lands, rich biodiverse waters. You’ve been invading my world all this time.”

“I have yours, you say, but where have you been in mine? Why didn’t you come before?”

“I found the land of the living when I was young. I came from a chamber like your own, it was a place long forgotten. It wasn’t until you crossed over the barrier, and I gazed on you that I beheld my dreams. Then I followed you back here. I waited and knew.”

“Knew what,” I asked promptly.

“That I’ll never leave your side. I don’t want to go back. I want to be here with you. I am here.”

I didn’t move. He slid his arm under mine to pull me close. He kissed me, kissed my temples, kissed my head, kissed me, a saving kiss, a kiss that made me weak and surrendered. We fell as silent as the land, as if the earth released a thousand years of grief and now rested, as an ocean sweeps over rugged stone, or the moment in a falling white sheet. That evening, we lay there watching the curious sky and our fortunes were bound forever.

Rapid changes occurred in the next days. Our two moons grew closer together, close enough that his crescent green, and my yellow star were forming a solid blue mass, one moon, shifting into a clear and transparent light. Reflections of the night sky settled down as red dust lines over mountainous silhouettes, carved from cascading clouds in the sky‘s purple haze.

The earth tremors, rumbling deep and quiet. Pigments in the ground changed from solid black to ash and brown. Rivers formed and lakes flooded. Mere days passed before muddy waters rose to our ankles. A storm was here. The currents were strong and we needed to get on higher ground.

We climbed and watched a great river bearing down on the valley. We climbed quickly above falling sediment. We climbed to the top of the chambered lands, to look down and see it buried under dark waters. Hills folding upon each other, crumbling in the wash, a world crashing down under us.

We watched from the heights, “I didn’t want this. I didn’t want everything to fall apart.” I stated.

“Our moons, they are pulling on the west,” he reasoned.

“Maybe we should separate,” I said.

“How can we,” he asked.

“Look around, what if we would have stayed in our own lands? I wanted to bring life to my chamber, not death.”

He held my arms, “You are bringing life, we are. This is the beginnings. You could have stayed in your chamber if you wanted, but you didn’t. I didn’t stay in my land either. We’ll begin again. We’ll create. We’ll learn. There is a lot more than just you or I that contributes to the failure of a world, my dear.” He smiled again.

He took my hand, “The great storm will shift the face of this land forever,” he said, “We’ll come back. For now, let’s journey to the land of the living.”

I agreed. We crawled down a steep slated staircase into the wilderness.

On the journey, I gave up on the chamber. I found a new life with him. We were inseparable as were our moons. By the time we reached the land of the living, we entered a greater storm than we left, the land was dismantled, undergoing chaos driven atmospheric winds. The great barrier ring of gold was broke into pieces, embedded in trunks, grafted into branch and vine. The downpour of rain was without escape, giant mudslides broken hillsides. We watched the storm’s feverish bolts of burning light flash through the sky.

“This is where the water is coming from, “ I said.

“Yes, here and everywhere by now, the sky broke open its floodgates,” he answered, and then sheltered me against a tree for the night.

At dawn, we hiked over great stretches of unstable ground. We were caught in the rush of spiraling rock formations unearthing. Large landmasses drove us down the mountainside to the valley floor. The valleys were piled high in fallen nature and new earth. We followed the fall, dragging ourselves onto different island turfs. With luck the river would lead us into calmer lands.

Our patch of turf carried us through the majestic exhibit of natural disaster. After many months, our island set a slow drift behind the storm, mounting itself against a beach of untouched earth. The grounds were ancient and unmoved.

We explored boundless wild fields, amber grasslands, forests deep and thick, ground solid, and soft, and strong. There were dashes off four pawed creatures scampering from one tree to the next. There was a calm vibrant energy in the land, safety in all that was living. This was a refuge. The air carried blooming fruits and suckles, the hint of old oaks, and ancient sequoias. This was a home.

Our moon hung happily situated across from the emerging red sun, from behind the clearing sky. It casts a silver light around all the stars awake in the day. We found ruins of stone built from the earth in great undying sculptures. In the center, deep caves were lined in ebony, saphire, and emerald in large open halls of celebration. Meadows were layered in moss and clover. Trees were lined in ivy, canopies under a canopy of growth. He took my hand, we knew we would settle here. Here was life.

We worked the land, found people, formed communities, hollowed homes out of marbled cliffs, carved dwellings from the oak, cedar, and maple. We traded skills, and here again, we were all here again, building more, creating more, forming systems, and weaving our web, that will end in chaos, destruction, war, chambers, and then hopefully, life again.

I remembered the war that lived in me, the war that brought the storm, the storm that buried my chamber, and the man from the land of the living that brought me life, making everything worth it.

5 thoughts on “The Chamber

  1. “Hiding in darkness is to protect yourself from that-which you can’t see
    remember that the darkest hour is just before dawn
    and the light reveals to you that darkness
    wasn’t your enemy but fear
    fear was your enemy causing you fear
    know what direction you’re traveing in eliminates fear.”
    _-Van Prince

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    1. So true. There is so much about fear, and loss, and new beginnings in here. Thanks for being such and active and insightful reader! Thank you for the reflective comment- helps me to think about more:)

      Like

      1. “Fear is akin to looking in the rearvew mirror
        reflecking that-which you imagin to be fear
        yet no more than a mirage fabricated in your mind, when straight ahead miracles
        turn your dreams into realites!”__Van Prince

        Like

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