I dreamt last night that I was a traveler through a great house of time showing me the ages of the earth. For so long it was the Age of Reptiles in their green and watery chambers of cool stone and warm, wet vine, their habitation stretching snakelike under the earth where the sun’s rays broke from time to time in pieces the tepid sky of the water’s surface, for we were submerged. Black stone as slick and heavy as night, and yellow eyes with slits the blacker I looked into, and marveled in fearful awe at the seeming eternity of their reign. How they marched in circles around their prey, I remember: giant crocodiles, lizards standing upright with horns for crowns, scales of purple and yellow-green, talons and slit pupils readied to kill, to slice and devour. In a circle they marched as one plays musical chairs, as if making thoughtless light of their killing, and the one who was to be slaughtered was jailed in the middle. I studied their ways even as I managed to evade them with the ever-present gift of flight I am blessed with in sleeping. Through their dim and swampy kingdom I tracked them, tracking into the unnamed eons of sands outpouring millennia, and I saw that their life did not rise again from those bogs of algae and insect but were commemorated only by fly and mosquito at the ready to feast. And now I saw a new age open before me. Escaping at once the death-snap of a monster’s jaws at my heels, I passed through a new door, welcomed as a refugee from execution. There I saw a lamb and a lion, and the waters around them were clear and unmuddied, the translucent blue of a jewel. Other mammals were there too, for this was, at last, the Age of Mammals. Mothers held their young close to their warm blood, furred bellies and pouches, and creatures gathered in affectionate packs of herds, flocks and families. Hoof and paw lived together, and when I could finally take my eyes from the radiant white of the lamb’s body, I saw that there was a temple formed out of the river, out of the landscape of savannah and forest where the great sky was not concealed. If I did not look I may not have seen it, that the arms of creation in branches and mountains held up the altar where the lamb and the lion resided. I perceived now that this altar was also the door I had passed through, and from it’s vantage the whole kingdom was seen without barrier. And I saw that crimson blood flowed from the altar, but the lamb lived, and his blood became water for all the animals of the land. And when the blood of any animal was spilt in this land, for food or for sport or for defense, for good or for ill, the lamb came to the body and the spirit of that animal and gave his own blood to save theirs, and even if all was drained from the body, still would the animal rise. This way, there was to be no death in this age when the age had come to be fulfilled. And at last I looked into the shining blue above and saw creatures with wings, whose yellow eyes, scaled feathers and talons rung familiar to another age and life I strained to remember, as if from a dream, so many eons before. And in their whirling and swooping for pure joy on the wind surrounded by the unveiled light, they looked down on the earth where once they swam and crawled and walked in the swamps, the grasslands and deep forests.
Featured Image © Gentle J. Pine