Wednesday, 2 May 2018

"The Miracle Was Here"

"The trip calmed me a little. I was reminded that, to outworlders like Adzel, the miracle was here. Light glimmered in a million earthbound stars across the hills, far out over the great sheen of Bay and ocean; often it fountained upward in a many-armed tower, often gave way to the sweet darkness of a park or ecocenter. A murmur of machines beat endlessly through cool, slightly foggy air."
-Poul Anderson, "How To Be Ethnic In One Easy Lesson" IN Anderson, The Van Rijn Method (Riverdale, NY, 2009), pp. 175-197 AT p. 184.

Three senses: light: murmur; coolness.

We need accounts of Earth as seen by aliens like Adzel or Aycharaych. We can get clues of what this might be like by visiting other parts of Earth. An Indian immigrant to Britain, found a hedgehog in his garden, rang the nearest zoo and told them that he thought that one of their animals had escaped. He had had no idea that such animals were native to Britain.

In Germany, I saw a chess board laid out on the ground in a public park and men playing, using two foot high chessmen. I had not known that that happened. In the US, I was astonished to see TV presenters suddenly advertising products. I was asked, "How do you expect them to earn any money?" I expect them to be paid an adequate salary.

Aycharaych tells Flandry that he had secretly visited a few graves and viewed a few art works on Earth. How did our environment appear to him?


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Amusing, what you said about the Indian immigrant! Such a person might be astonished as well if he saw animals like skunks and raccoons in a similar garden in the US. Both of which, and others, I have seen.

And I had long known of how some chess players will play chess games using giant chess men. An updated variant would be chess players using computers to move chess pieces. Albeit, the knight's move might be difficult to execute by such means.

And TV presenters in the US advertizing products is part of how they are paid. And something I don't object to.

Yes, I recall how Aycharaych mentioned secretly visiting Terra in WE CLAIM THESE STARS. I'm sure the DANGER of being discovered and arrested was part of the pleasure to him. Was one of those graves he visited the tomb of Manuel Argos, the Founder of the Terran Empire? And I can imagine
Aycharaych contemplating some of the paintings of Diego Velasquez or the "Pieta" of Michelangelo.

And how did Terra, in general, appear to him? I doubt he was as overwhelmed as was Miriam Abrams in A STONE IN HEAVEN, where we see the "nightmare beauty" of Archopolis awing and even intimidating her.


David Birr said...

The words you cited as title for your post reminded me of the last stanza of Kipling's poem "The King," which portrays various people, throughout the centuries, declaring that the Romance, the adventure, has gone out of life. The final line of the last-but-two stanza, in which railway passengers bemoan the loss of the romance of stagecoaches, is "Romance brought up the nine-fifteen."

And then the final stanza:
"Robed, crowned, and throned, He wove His spell,
Where heart-blood beat or hearth-smoke curled,
With unconsidered miracle, (italics mine)
Hedged in a backward-gazing world:
Then taught His chosen bard to say:
Our King was with us—yesterday!"

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, DAVID!

Very nice! When I have more time, I will look up and read this Kipling poem.