“Yes, the obligatory mutualists of this world all have genetic roots in Fomalhaut b.” Alonso was relating what he’d learned to the others during their time under the influence of the Yagé. While Ina had been acting as designated diviner, the others had been in deep symbiotic relationship with aspects of the world around them. Each had agreed to act as channel for members of their tribe who could not communicate with H. sapiens sapiens directly.
“We’re all mutualists.” Yanaha said it, Juno nodded in agreement . During the night, Juno had formed a tight bond with the redwoods of the forest, and the fungal network that Yanaha had joined was intimately entwined with her roots. Juno smiled at her friend. “Go ahead.” She said.
“Well, that’s one of the most important things I learned, we all depend on each other.” Yanaha was thoughtful, careful with her words. “The fungi colonized the land, and the plants followed. The chitinous ones were very good at taking up the inorganic nutrients that Rock offered, while those of the way of chlorophyll learned to offer the gift of energy from the sun to make simple sugars. Together, they built a family, this family.”
“Yes, and once we starting building this home, the animals came and joined us on the land.” Juno beamed; she was an archetypical mother figure. She’d bear many children, eventually.
“But it’s not just the living things that have shaped the land! Fire works with Wind and Water and Earth and life in the ever changing way.” Yin would always have her connection to the Tao, and her polar sibling Yang.
“Yes, Water is so gently powerful! Stream is so mellow, but over time, has shaped a lot of its world!” He beamed. Having left the bonds of Yin’s warm embrace to experience that of Ina, he was now quite game for expanding his relational horizons. He channeled the cool waters nearby warmly.
For once, they didn’t feel the need to harmonize at the end. They’d come of age and were secure in their individuality.
“Yes, and Sea is powerful indeed, and quite fed up with everything from plastic to carbon dioxide.” Alonso’s voice boomed quietly, the power of the sea off in the distance clearly audible there. “The sea is where most all of life arose. It’s still home to most, still in love with Land and Wind and Sun.”
“There is power in the mountains as well.” Zeus wasn’t quite sure how he felt about Sea choosing Alonso, but he was happy to stand for Mountains, and he knew just as the rest of them knew, at the level of his very being, that they were all one, all in this together.
“Oh anybody who who who’s been here for any time knows that.” Arnold was quite happy with speaking for Owl. His first order of business was to get with the spotted one about Kiwi and Bast. They’d refused to join in the ceremony the previous night when they saw Owl there. “The mountains around here let a person know about it when they’ve got something to say. It was that way even before Tante got here.”
Tante was sitting back in a corner sniffling and blowing her nose, not looking very happy. The two days lying in the rain had taken their toll and she seemed to have one heck of a cold. She sneezed in response.
“Snow refuses to even visit much with Mountains any more, it’s getting so darned hot .” Baltha, was Fresh Water, although she knew many forms, with her shapeshifting abilities. She’d really gotten into hanging with clouds both as eagle and later in community as Water. “And often as not, rain just deluges in all sorts of inappropriate times and places. It’s not like the tears of the earth are any more controllable than those of we humans.” She wiped one away. It was hard being water on this planet.
“Right? Wind just howls, and yeah, it carries water along with it a lot.” Wind found Ja immediately, being an long time and close companion of the Yeti people. It was so happy to see him there that it filled him with warmth despite the cool dampness of the prior evening. It loved playing in his wild hair. “What else can it do? It’s like Gaia said, it can’t stop us from burning fossil fuels and tearing down forest. All it can do is blow.”
“I’m totally viral.” Haile was beaming. “It almost makes the whole story romantic; to Hell with hipster, I am going so fairy tale with this! I was there at the start! I’m something new and unique and nano and bot and hot and Haile is viral! I am going to code baby, code. And I’m going out in style!” Fingertips were flying across keyboard as the tall thin black one spoke, a new step in development of the symbiosis underway.
Tante was the only one who had not shared her experience with the others.
She wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, and didn’t know if she was real happy with it. She sneezed and grabbed another handful of tissues, having proven that the toughest of Puffs was no match for the potential of the ancient one to produce massive amounts of heavy duty nasal mucus. She tossed the wadded up mass into the bin nearby as Arnold starting worry about what affect it would have on the C:N ratio of his compost. He’d have to get Haile to investigate N content of snot.
“I’m a snot………” she interrupted herself with a sneeze.
“Yes dear, you’re a snot, but we love you anyway.” Yanaha smiled warmly.
“Arnold will make some chicken soup, you’ll love it.”
“No, I’m a snot……..” again with the sneeze.
“So you’re a snot. I can be a snot, too. It’s okay, Tante, that’s just who you are.” Ja was feeling almost snotty himself, a little tired of the ways of the crone.
“A snottite!” followed by a massive nose blow.
“Ah! An Archaea! So you really are an ancient one! It makes such perfect sense!” Haile had searched and found and integrated data and was making further connections all the time. “That’s the genetic issue as well. No wonder the earth rumbles for you, you’re from the era of magma and anaerobic hell!”
“A snottite?” Juno’s perfect nose almost turned up before she caught herself.
“Oh yes! Some of the most ancient lines of life on earth can be found deep in its bowels, dripping off the walls and ceilings caves in snot like masses.
Snottites.” Haile was pleased.
Tante sniffed. It wasn’t just the cold, her chin was doing that quivery thing as well. The snotty antichrist. Fine. Whatever.
“Extremophiles.” Ja spoke up.
Tante looked at him, sniffling.
“They’re also called extremophiles. I kind of like that.” He winked at her.
She smiled back. The sun came out from behind a cloud and shone in the window, reflecting for a minute from the snot dangling from her left nostril.
“I like it a lot. An extremophile!” The crone blew her nose with gusto. The earth shook.
The twins briefly clutched hands to bring moderation back into the room.
The End is Near