A cool mist brushes Illyrias face. In the semiicoma of first awakening, she tries to turn off the gentle drift of moisture, imagining that she is in the shower.
“Sunny! This is not working… What? Oh.”
“ I have been watching you, Illyria. Very amusing. You seem to be in the midst, of a mist-conception. Ha! I have made a pun! I congratulate myself.”
“ Very funny, Sunny. You find me entertaining. You don’t sleep, so you have no idea about the effort involved in returning to consciousness. The double life of sleep and waking are part of what many living creatures have in common, for your information.”
“ I have an idea about this subject, Illyria. Your nightly hibernation is a short form of the Winter long hibernations of bears, amphibians, frogs, turtles and the like.”
“That’s a good comparison, I suppose.”
“While you sleep, Illyria, I am busy processing all the new information that I got yesterday. This has now gone into the data base of my computer and increased my understanding. So, you see, I am busy learning and changing while you are unconscious.”
“Well, that is not very different from what happens in my brain while I sleep, Sunny! Scientists say that our sleeping brains are working hard to integrate new information received during the day, similar to your computer.
“Ha! Illyria. So, we are not that different!”
Sitting together comfortably on a huge flat rock that came to rest by the stream millions of years ago, they watch the mists lift away from the tree tops and expose the blue of day. Sunny is humming a tune.
“What is that tune, Sunny?”
“I Love to Go A’Wandering.”
“I like it.”
“So, Illyria, you promised to tell me about the magnet at the center of the earth. And, afterward, I want to visit the center of the earth.”
“ Did I say that? Ah yes, and you did say that. Well, we might not make it to the ‘center of the earth’ today, Sunny.”
“ Maybe we will! I know how to recognize an entrance, Illyria. They have been described in the mythology of every civilization for centuries.”
“Axis Mundi’, Illyria, the navel of the earth! It can be recognized by Natural and Man made objects that are located at its many entrances or maybe they are exits! For instance, mountains, totem poles, tall trees, light houses, radio and phone towers, volcanoes, and so on… Objects that connect the Center of the Earth to Outer Space, creating communion and understanding. They make a path to bring knowledge back from the Cosmos. Jack and the Beanstalk is a story about this kind of communication. Sometimes, a snake shows the way!”
“That’s very interesting, Sunny. But not very scientific. Yet, it makes me think about the inventor Mr. Nikola Tesla who asserted that free energy exists in the atmosphere and can be captured to satisfy all our power needs. He built a tower to demonstrate how to capture it but the tower was destroyed by lightening before he could show the World what he had discovered.”
Our wanderers are walking along a deer trail. The morning sun glances through the leaves, turning them yellow gold and silver green. The air is still cool, stirred now and then by a light breeze.
“ I want to tell you something I have been thinking a lot about, Sunny. I have been thinking about what Humans have in common and what we need to survive.”
“ And, what have you concluded, Illyria?” “Well, in order to survive, if you go to the most basic things, they are food, shelter and education, I think.”
“If that is so, why are billions of Humans without these things?”
“That, is the tragedy of our Economics, Sunny.”
“What do you mean?”
“Consider this, what is money worth and how is its value measured? Presently, belief in what money is worth can be compared to a state of mind like religious belief.”
“Are you referring to a state of faith, not reason or repeated proof of consistent out come, like scientists try to do?”
“Yes. And economics was originally a system created for distribution of valuable resources, not a religious philosophy. It does not require faith to function properly, it requires proof. Do you see the difference, Sunny? Let’s say our goal for economics is life survival, how are we doing?”
“ I think I understand what you are saying, Illyria. The proof that economics is not functioning well, for the goal of survival, is that all humans do not have what they need to survive. They are leaving their home countries to find what they need. In fact, other life forms are suffering too. Aren’t we living in, what is being called, the sixth extinction?”
“ The Age of Humans, or the Anthropocene, Sunny. From the word anthropomorphize: to attribute human characteristics or behavior to an animal, god or object.”
“ Humanity has become one of the most influential life forms presently living on Earth. We are a Force. And, at this point in time, sadly, our human economics functions to endanger life survival by valuing profit more than life.”
“ I am amazed that this is happening and that it is acceptable, Illyria!”
“ It has been going on so long, that people have forgotten how things started and changed and that they could be different. It is very hard to see the situation for what it is while you are in it and being affected by it, Sunny.”
“ I do not have life, Illyria, but I understand that it is rare and wonderful and that no one has ever figured out how to make it from scratch. How can people allow money and profit destroy life? This is not marvelous behavior!! It is unbecoming in humans to behave in this way and loose life forms from the only planet where we know for sure it exists!”
“Fear causes this situation, Sunny.”
“Of not having enough money to survive.”
“Ah, now I see, Illyria. It is the reinforcing, continuous loop. Money equals survival because it buys food, shelter and education. Without money, you have no food, shelter or education. Money is essential and becomes most important, overall.”
“And here is the problem, Sunny, the value of money is not related to humanity or life survival. Presently, it’s main function is creating profit.”
“But, things can get better and I have an idea that may help make change for the better. It is a way of measuring what we all have in common and need to live. I call it the Human Renewable Energy Measure. It is a way of valuing Human survival more than money and using this value to make money work for the survival of all life. Humans have basic survival needs in common that can be measured in energy units and provided anywhere in the world that they are required. But, let’s talk about this more tomorrow, I’m getting hungry!”
The silence of the woods is complete. Morning bird song is over, their excited conversations having had effect, they are resting, preening and preparing to feed. A Barred owl comments once more, “ Whoo, Whoo, Who, Whoooooo.” Illyria and Sunny have been walking along a deer trail. Soft layers of leaves, built up over 100’s of years, soften their way and scent the air with an earthy musk. Illyria walks over to a huge live oak tree whose long horizontal branches make an inviting space. “Let’s stop here, Sunny.”
“OK, I will unfurl the solar array of my micro/convection oven over there in that pool of sunlight. Help yourself to whatever you want in the refrigerator, Illyria.”
Illyria opens the refrigerator located inside Sunny’s back and selects a small frozen pizza and an apple.
“ I think I will heat this up, Sunny, that will be enough for me.”
She places the pizza into the oven and pushes the “cook please” button. While the pizza heats up she munches her apple and resting her back against the trunk of the tree begins to explain electro magnetism to Sunny.
“Remember we were talking about convection yesterday, Sunny?”
“Yes, I remember. Last night I placed that information into my computer and today I found it to have merit.”
“Great! Then I can continue to explain how convection can create a huge magnet in the center of the Earth.”
“I am listening.”
“There is some very interesting ‘weather’ happening inside our planet, Sunny. Convection happens there for similar reasons that it happens in our atmosphere. But in this case it is created by the interaction between the solid, super heated inner core and the liquid, less hot, outer core. The inner core acts like our Sun, it heats the outer core that surrounds it and creates convection in the form of eddies in the outer cores liquid metal.”
“Not so fast, Illyria! How do we know about these cores? What are they? Who has been in there to see them?
“Yes, Sunny, as far as we know a journey to the center of the earth has not happened. But there are other ways to ‘see’ what is going on. Geologist, people who study rocks and Earths deep structures, can trace shock waves from earthquakes very accurately with sensitive instruments. By studying the way these waves move through the very center of our planet, they have been able to figure out the deep structures we cannot see. They have found that the closer you get to the center of the Earth there is more pressure and the inner core, under the most pressure of all, has become solid metal. The outer core that surrounds it is under less pressure, so it is still liquid. The inner core is almost the size of our moon, made mostly of iron and is hot as the Suns surface. This is the result of its molecules being pressed so closely together they can’t expand as they would like. Similar to people pressed too closely together in a crowd, they heat up. Surrounding this, the liquid outer core is about 1,243 miles thick, about the distance between Maine and Georgia on the East coast of the United States and it is composed of iron and nickel. When it is super heated by the inner core, convection movements happen.”
“But, how does this create a magnet, Illyria?”
“Good question, Sunny. Not only is a magnet created but also electricity. There is an interesting relationship between electricity and magnetism. Simply put, electricity and magnetism are one Force. They have a powerful influence on the Earth. Scientists think that the electric fields and the magnetic fields generate each other and that the movements created by convection in the liquid metal of the outer core are the perfect environment for the creation of magnetism and electricity. The resulting ‘electromagnet’ sends its force up into a layer of our atmosphere above the ionosphere that is called the magnetosphere. It extends several thousand kilometers into space and protects Earth from charged particles of solar wind and cosmic rays that would strip away our atmosphere. It also shields the ozone layer which protects the Earth from harmful ultra violet radiation. All life forms would be exposed to cell damage if the ozone layer was not there. It absorbs most of the Suns ultra violet radiation. It is an electromagnetic force that surrounds our Earth.”
“I am amazed, Illyria, the Earth creates forces that protect life and the human force creates economics that destroys life. Tonight, I have a lot to process.”
“Don’t worry Sunny, these are not easy things to understand and there is much that is not understood about the interactions between electricity and magnetism, or humans and the planet Earth.”
“Let’s continue our walk.”“Do you know where we are going, Illyria?”
“Not really. But we love to go A’ Wandering, right?”
“Right! I do like it a lot! There is something to be interested in everywhere we go! Take now, for instance, I see a breeze is moving the leaves of that tree and as they twist and float I wonder if their movement is helping the tree grow somehow and…” Suddenly they both stop, transfixed by the sight of a huge snake crossing their path.
“Oh, Wow! ”
“Illyria! What luck! It will show us the way!”
“ You know, Illyria, the Axis Mundi! Let’s follow it!”
The diamond pattern of the snakes skin glows bronze as it moves in and out of the shade. Graceful and glittering magically, its liquid movement hypnotizes our heroes. Unconcerned about their presence, it flows like a silver stream into the underbrush. Its ten foot length perfectly camouflaged.
“I’m not sure about this, Sunny.”
“Don’t worry, you are with me, Illyria!”
“Quick! It is disappearing! We have to keep it in sight.”
“Just don’t follow too closely, Sunny, and I’ll be right behind you.”
“We only have to follow in it’s general direction, Illyria. It points the way, you see.”
Our adventurers trudge through the undergrowth in order to keep up with the snake. Birds, lizards, insects and other quiet inhabitants of the woods flee silently before them, their wings and feet muffled by air and damp mulch. The Sun shines down, warms the tops of our heroes heads and illuminates the silver tip of the snakes retreating tail. They are trudging as fast as they can to keep up. After an hour or so, getting very hot and tired, Illyria is becoming cranky.
“I don’t know about this, Sunny, I want to turn back. I’m all sweaty, getting scratched by raspberry bushes and burrs are sticking to my pants and shoes. I think we should go back to that nice path we were on.”
“Just a little further, Illyria, we are almost there.”
“Where?” Then, wonderfully, a clearing opens before them, and the glare of the noon sun reveals, a brightly colored tent. Blue/grey smoke rises in lazy drifts from a camp fire near it and in its entrance stands a small man.
“Hi! I’m Mr. Sparks!”