Thursday, July 08, 2010
There is a building, the only building on a barren earth that is covered in long-forgotten yellowed plains and dried up grassy hillsides. The building is a tall rectangle that reaches for the clouds, but finds itself stuck ten stories high. It is simple and made of brick, with several windows on each floor. It is lacking any embellishment on the outside surface, there are simply old red bricks that have gotten more brown with each kiss of the sun. It is a simple rectangle reaching upward, pure right angles that flaunt function over form.
Within, the structure is stuffed with people and furniture. The ecstatic energy inside is frantic and crowded, like a third-world bazaar or market. Each floor is crowded with old wooden hand-crafted furniture from Russia. There are decorative couches with broad armrests made of wood and padded fabric. Embroidered cross-stitched pillows sit on every chair, coughing up floral patterns. Crocheted doilies rest on top of hand-carved armoires and dressers, protecting the delicate, shiny surfaces from plastic flower stuffed vases and old picture frames.
Rugs of many sizes cover the floors; tiny rugs big enough for a pair of feet in front of grand one-person chairs; large monumental weavings that sit below a set of three couches. Rugs of all shapes and earth-toned hues.
Struggling for breathing space among all the furniture are the throngs of people, all of them moving in the same direction. The one set of stairs wrapping the length of the building from the first floor to the tenth is overwrought with a mad panic. Men and women jump over the stagnant pieces of furniture to find a bit of footing on the stairs. Small children are left to fend for themselves as people clamor to the top.
Visible beyond the sparse windows are the series of hillsides on all sides of the building. The sky above is blue, yet a thin layer of white brushes everything in its soft stroke, muting out the sun just slightly. The hills are soft mounds of yellowed grass that continue towards the horizon like a monumental mountain range, continuing on and on past the line of sight. Coming over the crests of the dead grassy hills are men and women on horseback.
Most of the mounted riders are holding long poles with thin triangular ribbons attached to the tops of each pole. The ribbons flutter in the breeze like thunder, stretching a hundred feet behind each mounted rider. The men on horseback are dressed like Mongolians, wearing thick leather pants and jackets that are lined with pale brown fur. Their features are wide and their skin is like burnt copper. Their feet are covered in leather boots that reach their knees and they kick horse bellies with their boot heels, urging them on shouting “haw!” Between the sweaty horse breasts are more women on foot. They climb and conquer the hillsides in bare feet, running towards the building holding their square flags high above them. The cries and hoots of the invaders compete with the fluttering of the ribbons and flags and a chorus fills the valley.