By Adam Brock
It’s been a long time since I wrote fiction, and I’ve never really tried my hand at allegory before. But for a while now, I’ve been thinking of something I read in a Bioneers book: we need a new creation myth. Genesis is steeped in patriarchal anthropocentrism, and the creation myths of the Modernist religion of science fail to inspire. Here’s my crack at reinterpreting the story of Gaia through the guise of traditional mythlogy… let me know what you think.
There once was a magical seamstress. Like Jesus, she was the product of spontaneous conception, but her mother was roiling seas. As soon as she was born, she began dancing. Slowly at first, but with grace. As she danced, she left a trail of fabric everywhere she went, an ever-extending gown that, when untangled, told the story of her dance.
She spent her youth dancing underwater, swimming with the tides and pulsing with the seasons. She would stumble at times, breaking off bits and pieces of the fabric here and there. But time after time, she would begin again, and the fabric would heal over itself. As she crossed back and forth over her path, parts the fabric would wind around itself, creating intricate, flowing knots.
As she grew older, she learned all kinds of tricks. She would capture beams of sunlight and swallow them, using the fire they contained to dance still faster. She began twirling up to the unfamiliar surface of the water, and learned how to breathe air. Little by little, her sweet breath spread throughout the land, until it had completely transformed it. The pace of her dance quickened, and the fabric grew longer and longer. It developed new patterns, in a wider and wider palette of colors, dizzyingly complex but somehow completely simple and elegant. The seas were filled with the colorful knots of the dancer’s fabric, and she stepped out of the water and onto the land.
By now, her dance had gained the wisdom of a full-grown woman. For long periods of time, it would slow to a crawl, only to break into a sudden burst of spontaneous spinning, diving and soaring. Still, it was never random. Always, the seamstress’ dance was a conversation with her surroundings: the weather, the terrain, and, increasingly, the fabric itself, which now covered both land and sea in a spectacle of interwoven, brightly colored knots.
But then something strange happened. As the seamstress danced, she began to fill a slight tug on her back. The tug became more and more insistent, until finally she turned around. She was amazed by what she saw – seemingly out of nowhere, part of the fabric she had just spun had formed itself into the shape of a sorcerer. And the sorcerer was beginning to dance on its own. If the seamstress’ dance was ballet, this was capoeira: angular, aggressive and unpredictable. As his form coalesced, the sorcerer’s skin lost its delicate patterns and faded to an even pale tan. Its dance got ever larger and more violent, and began enveloping more and more of the fabric. Like a tornado, the sorcerer bounced around the globe, grasping at the fabric and tearing its tassels and filigrees. Everything it touched became the same dull color, and took on the same limp arrangement as the sorcerer.
Within only a few minutes, the entire work of the seamstress lay in shambles. Patches of color remained in a vast landscape of tattered fabric. The air was getting smoky, the waters began to cloud, and the sorcerer himself began to stumble – for without more fabric to gather, his magic had no power.
To be continued…