Our Hero is lost in Cloudland. She is trying to find her lost kitten, who is very small and probably quite afraid to be up at such a height. The clouds are soft and puffy, the Hero would not mind a nap. She lays her head down upon the soft white clouds and drifts off to dreamland.
The HELPER enters with title cloud:
Our Hero is in a vast wasteland, but not as in barren, as in a land where waste has been left.
"Lookit all this stuff!"
The Hero marvels to herself.
"Just think of all the great things I could do, if only I had a way to take it all with me."
The Hero bends to scoop up the trash. Arms full, she hears her kitten mew.
What to do? Drop the loot and look for kitty, or take the booty and run?
"Wake up, wake up, what are you doing here?"
HELPER enters with title cloud:
BACK IN CLOUDLAND
Dainty Twins are crouched beside the supine Hero.
"It will soon be Rain Hour, what are you doing here in the clouds?"
"I'm here to find poor lost kitty, she has run off too far this time."
"Yes, I would say this is too far,” replied Twin the First, though a question had not been asked, “and you had better be getting back to where it is near."
"Shhh now, Sister, there is nothing wrong with her vision, is there Hero?"
The Hero looks to the sky, then back to the Dainty Twins.
"I should say not, though perhaps I am hearing things. Do you hear a kitten mewing off in the distance there?"
"By that castle, the one made of clouds."
Dainty Twin the first giggled rudely. "Surely there is no nicer place for a kitten than a castle, wouldn't you agree dear sister?"
"But what about the rain hour? It comes on quickly," her twin whispered.
Unsure of what game these girls were playing, the Hero stood up and graciously thanked them, although unsure what for, exactly.
THE WORLD OF KISSES
"Oh, what is this feeling coming over me now? This can't be right, I've forgotten what I was doing here. Something about a castle? That's not it..."
From the ether comes a sighing, like angels.
"What delight! But why this urgency, still?"
"There's no need for urgency in the arms of eternal delight."
THE WORLD OF KISSES descends.
"It all seems to be melting away now." A deep breath. "I forgot..."
"Don't dwell on the past now, Hero, come into our sweet embrace. We have a world of kisses for you, if only you will let us bestow them."
"Yes, kisses, that must be what I was after all along."
"Yes yes! The kisses are what you were after all along."
And so the world of kisses closes in.
The hero pokes her head up form the teeming mound. "My kitten! What will she do without milk?"
"Hush, Hero, kittens do not wander up into the clouds."
"No, of course they don't." And our hero settles in amongst the fragrant throng.
A distant thunderclap roars.
The rain hour approaches.
I seem to have painted myself into a corner here. How is our hero to escape this pleasuredome? Is the world outside really any more worthwhile than the world of kisses?
Apparently so, although you will never know how she came to be loosed from its luxurious grip. Truth be told, our Hero herself hardly remembers. She dreamed herself in and dreamed herself out and not even the memories will last.
Onward we march to the distant castle.
THE STUFF THAT CLOUDS ARE MADE OF
"Hero, do you know what clouds are made of?" Our Hero is taken aback. Where does this voice come from?
"Tiny droplets of water, very very cold. And suspended particles, high above the ground below." Hero feels so smart, book learning has served her well.
"No Hero, that is what clouds are, but not what they are made of. Do you know where the rain comes from?"
Our Hero does not like this one bit. She contemplates not going along, but the clouds have suddenly grown so thick, she does not know where she is going. "The rain comes from the clouds."
"The rain comes out of the clouds, but the clouds are not where rain comes from. Do you know where little kitten is now, Hero?"
Please, no more riddles, our Hero keeps this thought to herself. "I heard her crying when the Dainty Twins woke me from my dream. I thought I might find her in the castle, but now I am not so sure about that at all."
"I am the castle."
Now our Hero is simply perplexed, and quite terrified to her core. "And is my kitty here?"
"I will give you an answer, but not to your question. Clouds are made of all the gentle creatures I coax up to Cloudland. I eat them up and they become a part of me, and I am made up of tiny droplets of very very cold water, so you were partly right."
And now our Hero is stunned. "Kitty is gone?"
"Evaporated. And now you know how I make the rain. The tears of those who have lost a loved one to the cloudland water the earth below. Only a heartless person could find me before I consume their friend, than ks to my world of kisses, so I do not waste my time trying to gather their tears."
"I hate clouds and I hate the rain and now I am as dried up as a husk so I will be leaving your awful cloudland for the gentle earth below."
"Oh ho ho ho ho ho! So you would prefer a fantasy to my beautiful realm of renewal? I will be kind and spare you the pain of bitter reality."
And with that our Hero was et by the cloudland, to wait someday to return to earth drop by tiny drop, joyfully serving her task as added mass to the tears of another bereaved friend, landing scattered in a billion bits to join the water tables and great lakes and fluid intakes of a million complex and ordered systems.
February 23, 2005
Revised February 26, 2005
Revised again March 6, 2005