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TIME GODS: Excerpt

TIME GODS

This is your brain on puckey fruit

FOR BEHOLD, something completely different. This is an excerpt from a “rock & roll science fiction” novel I haven’t touched in over a year. What follows is part of what Anne Lamott calls the all-important “shitty first draft,” posted here temporarily to get my juices flowing one way or the other. The main character drives a wretched ’57 Mercury, a wisecracking genetically-altered Rhamphorhynchus pops up at the end, and everybody must get stoned. Enjoy until I take it down! – JHF

Chapter Three: Eternal Dawn (First Contact)

Above the darkened land they flew, almost silently, their long gray-white wings moving in slow cadence. A tall volcano in the distance spewed glowing ash above a thin layer of clouds that flickered pink and orange from the blasts. Down below a ribbon of water flowed through dense green forests on the way to a vast grassy plain. Between the fliers and the ground at lower altitudes, smaller nocturnal airborne creatures criss-crossed singly and in groups as stars glittered above them in the heavens. The night sky was full of life of all kinds, as was the daytime blue.

The great beasts with crested heads and long pointed beaks turned slowly south and glided lower as they approached a coastline glistening in reflected moonlight. Drawing closer together in formation, the dozen reptiles aimed for a circular patch of sky that shimmered faintly golden over an ocean where no ships sailed. Shifting into single file, they flew through the portal with a crackle and a flash and disappeared, leaving only the hissing sound of distant surf behind.

The other creatures went about their business, on their way to daytime roosts in caves and canyons in faraway mountains, or in tall trees along the margins of the open spaces, where they fed on lesser prey in shrieking flocks throughout the night. In the daylight, others took their places in the air or running on the ground. Some moved slowly in the ancient forests or plodded in the marshes by the river and the coast. Day or night, everywhere was gnashing, bawling life and death in an undulating carpet from horizon to horizon, shaken constantly by surging Nature and migrating predators.

In an certain corner of the blue-black night, a tiny spot of light glowed brighter than surrounding stars. A thousand miles away, other gray-white fliers with folded wings stood erect atop a flattened mountain peak and watched with eyes betraying no emotion. For some time now they had gathered and observed the growing speck. No aftermath escaped their recognition, as they’d already lived it. One hundred million years into the future, another mountain glistened in the morning sun and pebbles shifted underfoot. They noted this the way they noted everything that came and went, including the small black car that followed Jaxon Bat.

For them the world was ever just beginning. They moved through time like water and lived everywhere at once, acting purely out of instinct. They were capable of thought but had transcended that dull need and rarely used it. Once upon a time they’d forced their will onto another species for a purpose long extinct and moved on. The subjects of this accidental evolution carried on the best they could under blue Southwestern skies, tethered to the single mind that flickered through the eons and gave sight beyond the veil…

[click to continue…]

Show and Tell

immature female rufous hummingbird

All you gotta do is wear the telephoto lens there on your nose

This here is an immature female rufous hummingbird. (At least I think so.) I love close-ups that show the detail of the feathers; they’re always more spectacular than I could imagine. Who in the world designs these things? Oh, right.

While we’re on the topic, here’s an old FarrFeed video from 2009 you need to see. This five-second clip is slowed down to forty seconds. The resulting sounds you hear, all hummingbird calls and chirps, are one hundred percent natural! I didn’t know there was any audio at all until I slowed the video down.

Amazing, isn’t it? Like a freaking jungle!

Rift Valley Afternoon

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument

Every mountain in this view is an extinct volcano (we hope)

Yes, it’s that view again. Why not? It’s different every time, and yesterday was perfect. I don’t have much to say right now, just look at this. That’s the gorge of the Rio Pueblo in the foreground, with the larger and deeper Rio Grande Gorge behind it. The tectonic plate on the other side thinks it’s going to Colorado, the one on this side is happy where it is.

Big Wide Thing

Taos VAlley Overlook scene

A couple of hours out here, only saw one young dude on a bike

The show is in the sky when there are clouds. Today was one of those days when I took a ton of photos, shaking my head at the impact of it all. The colors and the freaking vistas. The clouds (my god), the wind, a perfect temperature near seventy degrees, the sun at seven thousand feet! Just driving out here in my’87 Ford F-150 with the windows open was a transcendental moment.

That’s the Rio Grande Gorge cutting through the rift valley just beyond the rolling sagebrush ocean. I don’t know how far away those mountains on the horizon are. Could be ninety miles. It’s just ridiculous. I took this shot standing in the middle of four square miles of the Taos Valley Overlook, six miles down the road from where I’m sitting now. I’ve said this many times before, but I’m simply floored at so much of New Mexico. I’ve been floored for sixteen years, even when I hated something else and tried to run away.

This is where I come to hike for exercise. At least that’s what I’ll tell you if you ask.

The Taos Crack

crack in windshield

Reflection is a rubber gila monster and a cow’s vertebra on the dash (out of view)

Everything was fine, and then the unseen rock or midnight BB gun. It sneaks up on you, you know. Year upon year. The things you tolerate, get used to. First there was a little chip, regrettable but part of the experience. This one formed a tiny cross one winter, little cuts of light into the glass. In the spring it started moving, slowly. I’d make a mental note of where it was in relation to something on the dash, and eventually it stretched beyond my reference points. Another year or two, who knows. It goes more than halfway across now.

You know what this is, of course—my brother-in-law doesn’t drive his grandkids down the road behind a sheet of broken glass—but then it’s just an ancient Ford. Judging from the parking lot at Walmart, you could get a correlation going here. It’s kind of like my shirts.

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