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Monday, July 16, 2012

Turtle Island, A Stow Lake Cosmology In 3 Acts

After an evening phone call and encouragement from Willie, I decided to write this play:

Act I:

Turtle: Here I am, a little turtle on a little log to which the rest of the world is anchored by a little steel cable.

[Several hours pass. Not unusual for a turtle to go hours, days or a lifetime between thoughts. This can be condensed for the audience by projecting a photo-montage of scenes from the Department of Motor Vehicles.]

Turtle: I think I should stay here and guard this cable. It looks important. I believe it IS important --that the world stay put. Probably.

Quact II:

(Enter duck)


Turtle: Hello!

Duck: mMMphhh?

Turtle: Hello. What are you? What are you doing and why haven't you got any head?

Duck: I'm a duck and I do so have a head. It just disappears when I'm preening.

Turtle: Preening?

Duck: Preening is what ducks do when not dabbling.

Turtle: What's dabbling?

Duck: Dabbling's when we turn upside down and only our butts stick out. Here, I'll send you a psychic picture!

Turtle: Amazing! Maybe I...hey! I've got something in my shell. I'll stick it out.

Duck: Ooooh I see it. It's your left leg!

Turtle: Well, imagine that! What's it doing?


Duck: I have been many places and seen many strange things. I believe it's doing Yoga.

Turtle: Oh. Well, if you're so smart, maybe you know this cable keeps the world from floating off and getting in all sorts of trouble.

Duck: I knew that! It's not just a cable, it's a teleological attractor and it anchors the universe.

Turtle: So why's it vibrating?

Duck: Where the cosmos quivers
And each ripple indicates a
Distant ocean storm, in soil
Edged white where the pond
Dries down, ducks, herons
And all marsh birds in fennel
And salsify read the sea!

Turtle: Wow, a soliloquy!

Duck: Soliloquack.

Turtle: Where do you learn this stuff?

Duck: We fly across the world through the air and observe. It's dangerous because there's no hunting limit on duck.

Turtle: How do you survive?

Duck: We disguise ourselves as airborne bowling pins. By the time the hunters, who are also all bowlers, race off to rent bowling shoes, we're long gone.

Turtle: Wow. Ok, see ya!

Duck: See ya! [exeō,Duck]

Act III:

[Enter Big Swimming Turtle]


Big Swimming Turtle: Hello.

Turtle: Hello. You're a really big turtle!

Big Swimming Turtle: What makes you say that?

Turtle: Well, you look way bigger than I do.

Big Swimming Turtle: That's because you're farther away.

Turtle: Ah, and you're right up close to yourself.

Big Swimming Turtle: Yeah, so what're you doing on that log?

[Several years pass, indicated to audience by showing excerpts from PBS fund drive]

Turtle: I think I'm doing Yoga.

finis.

18 comments:

  1. Who could resist such an intriguing dialog between a testudine and an anatidae (I hope I got that correct!).
    Prediction: PBS and Animal Planet will soon be vying to produce this play.
    Good soliloquacks are hard to find.

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  2. Thanks, Austan and Jon! I thought a soliloquack belonged in Quact II.

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  3. Sigh....I think married life has broken down to a soliliquack and a turtles gap of years between thoughts. Oh look, my left leg won't even move let alone do yoga. Looking forward to more of these reflections.

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  4. Thanks, Delores. We shell sea.

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  5. :-)

    Fabulous and yet thoroughly silly.

    Pearl

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  6. Thanks, Pearl. One may admire the fabulous but I was raised by the silly.

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  7. And look, I've returned in style here. If there was an award for the silliest genius on the planet, it would go to you. You could also add some Knowledge fundraising to the PBS montage, just to fill it out.
    This makes me think that perhaps planet Earth has a belly button.

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  8. Umm. I love this "Turtle Island", first because it is so different from Gary Snyder's, and second because it was written by you and somehow inspired by our phone call last night. Did we ever go to Stow Lake in years past? I am familiar with it and I guess you are, too, with its ducks and turtles in GG Park. Are you the duck and I one of the turtles, vice versa, or neither? I'm still waiting breathlessly for Part Two!

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  9. Gosh, high praise indeed from an inspired coconut. Earth's belly button, hmm. In the U.S., Kansas is called "navel of the nation". Don't know what that makes my beloved San Francisco.

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  10. Well Willie, the above reply was to CarrieBoo, who's just returned from your old stomping grounds in westmost Canada. With all the flying you've both done, I'd align you more with the ducks and me with turtles.

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  11. Another super fun post. You really quack me up.

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  12. This:

    'Turtle: Oh. Well, if you're so smart, maybe you know this cable keeps the world from floating off and getting in all sorts of trouble.

    Duck: I knew that! It's not just a cable, it's a teleological attractor and it anchors the universe.

    Turtle: So why's it vibrating?'

    made me feel like we were on the brink of something massive. Then, this:

    'Duck: Where the cosmos quivers
    And each ripple indicates a
    Distant ocean storm, in soil
    Edged white where the pond
    Dries down, ducks, herons
    And all marsh birds in fennel
    And salsify read the sea!'

    left my brows furrowed.

    Enigmas, indeed, Geo.

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    Replies
    1. If I remember correctly, Duck's soliloquack dealt with universal interconnectedness, events composing a record of themselves --like the roar of surf containing the voices of stars in tremendous operations of the tides.

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    2. This concept of events composing a record of themselves, why? I wonder.

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    3. Not sure, Suze. Best guess is the universe is self-aware, that it tends to generate records, systems and other mechanisms of intelligence. It also composes parts of itself into observers, like us.

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    4. So our social media is a sort of fractal arm of this tendency?

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    5. An astute extrapolation, that sounds quite reasonable.

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