Your first dream that is your "third" dream in this chronology was the harder dream but not the stranger dream. The strange dream was the second dream or the "fourth" dream in this chronology, where distillation happened. But the first (third) dream happened in a way different and lighter, bolder, simpler. You were there. Your cage had held you and your people, a cage of letting in light and protection and succor. A cage of protection. A small cage. A cage with places of shade and sun and water and being, a crowded cage. And in the cage on that day, the day you dreamed of, the Others were brought to the cage. Unfair. They had no need of this or any other cage, no more than you, but your people had chosen the cage. Them. Why were they caged? Your elders spoke of the caging and saw the Others herded into the cage their grime and their clumsiness under packages too heavy, packages holding their household goods their mats their pottery their herbal bundles their medicines their wraps their tools their sick and their elderly their young their pregnant their animals their kitchen gods their stone gods of the fields their medical leaves and their medicinal leaves their strange stones and their bits of gold. The Others would die it was understood by their being herded into the cage but the others were-are one of you. One with you. These were your people your heart your sames your neighbors the same cloth made you and you worked the same fields and fished the same ponds and watered the same gardens and worshipped the same gods and saw the same sky and worried the same seasons and danced the same dances and kept the same animals and burnt in the sun until your black skins shone and your shoulders bore burdens and tools and holidays and children and the dead in the same way. The Others spoke of you and you spoke of them. Your terrors and your peaceablenesses, the sands you drew when searching for waters and the way you named the waters. Your foods and your meats and your games and your attractions. These were the same for you and for them, for them and for you. And so your elders. When they saw these people of different ancestry but the same present and presence, for you and your ancestors had shared everything, the centuries and the landscapes, with the Others, your elders decided. Let us disguise ourselves as them, the others, the herdlings, and enter the cage with them tonight. Let it be one cage as this was our One Landscape. Let it be our cage as they are our caves, our villages, our lakes. We more than share these things we live these things, these places together. Let us enter into a thorough disguise so the oppressors will not tell or smell a difference between us. Their sameness and our sameness will be our disguise and our disguise will be a sameness, sameness of motion, sameness of notion, sameness of appearance and of attribute. The samenesses we practiced outside the cage let us practice in the cage which we have willed ourselves and into which they have been herded unwillingly, unwittingly. Let the oppressors choose us or among us, or in their confusion choose to unlock the cage and release those who have been caged against their will. And let the caged stay who want to remain caged under the protective roof and let the caged who wish to leave, leave. These are our words and our deeds. And in your dream of the caged fairly and unfairly, free and forced, caught and carried, the disguises were one of brown red, red-brown chickens and roosters. Like the village fowl of great familiarity and fastidious busyness and humorous mien and daily sight and morning calls you gathered in your many under the night cage as chickens and roosters, warm in your feathers and crowded, for the unfairly caged Others outnumbered you greatly because they had been moved, so many of them had been moved to this place by the oppressor. So night fell in your cage with only places to stand but your solidarity with these, your cousins and your cousins' cousins was your comfort. And it came in the dream, reliably though barely retainable or retellable, the cage was left unlocked. Confusion by the oppressors, confusion dealt the oppressors, confusion taken on by the oppressors like a mantle of darkness and disorientation, confusion made them leave unlocked the locks. And there were so many oppressed and so few of you and the locks were left undone so without struggle or happenstance, uneventfully, the Others among you, the oppressed, the other caged fowl for whom caging was a staging for slaughter, these Others, seeing their chance even in their chicken brains, even without the power of flight, took flight, and somehow taking with them all their household items, their clothing, their religious items, their pebbles and their gold and their gods and even their foodstuffs. They slipped out into the night. In the morning when light came your few came to see, unoppressed, you were a few chickens and roosters, red-brown ones, in a cage. You looked among yourselves in the new, nearly empty place. You knew why you had done this, the elders had admonished you only the night before so your memories were good, they held in the dewy morning air. But where were your neighbors? Why hadn't they woken you? Was it treachery? Now the oppressors were coming, came, found you and looked down upon you in the cage, indistinguishable from each other, indistinguishable from the Others who you had come to protect, red-brown and well-feathered, plump, ready for slaughter. But it's us! We are of the oppressor! We are the same language, the same race, the same moiety! Spare us. This cage is not ours, not rightfully. Or. Actually. Rightfully for we chose it but we weren't pursued, hounded, herded, forced, crowded, smashed into this place. This cage place is our choice of place. Can't you see? Can't you hear our accents and know they are yours? But the oppressors, gently fondling your feathers as they contemplated the beauty and aroma of such luscious fowl, they did what they had to do.
The second (fourth) dream. A dream of distillation.
The months you had spent among the enemy. With the enemy. Embedded among the enemy. One with the enemy. As if you were them, one of them, of them. As if when you looked into the water's surface you saw yourself but not yourself instead the enemy's self. The water, the vava, or as they called it in their jargon, the kulam. But you were bright among them. One of them. Your plaisance and your white teeth and same shape and shapely sameness and walking among them sitting among them eating and drinking among them riding among them lifting piles as they lifted piles moving piles watching piles and burning piles and sifting, always sifting, sifting through their things when they weren't looking. Sifting through their faces, their expressions, their verbs and parts of speech, their dress and their gravies, their shops and stores and products and produce, the way they fished, the way they ate and drank, their fluids, their moles, their cloudiness, their throwing and their walking. All this and more, their smiles you had sifted through and among. For they were your enemy and you were a spy. Their bricks and their logs, the piles they bore and how they bore them, their stretchings and their preenings, their shouts, their questions, the inflection of their sentences, the stripes they painted across their forehead and their heads of hair undyed and their sitting and shoveling and the way they shimmied up the trees and they way they responded to insects and traded and dragged their feet as they walked. The way they read their lists and the way they counted and the way they served and the way they brought requests and the way they bore requests and favors. The enemies, these others, had to be known for you and your people. They had to be known so you could get them to submit. Because they were not a people of submission. So you watched their walk and their shoulders and the way they chased their cattle and the way they pulled in their nets and the way they launched their nets against the water. The way they told their truths and told their lies and watched without watching and turned without turning and saw without looking. These snaky people like serpents. These people your people had to combat and defeat. These people who didn't know defeat, who you had to defeat every day, who you had to show defeat, who you had to humiliate, who you had to bring down, who were your eternal enemy, your eternal enemy by sworn decision of the elders and the big men of your tribe. But defeating the undefeated, the fierce looking but gentle while your gentle faces hid fierce anger, hissed fierce anger and destructiveness but where defeat came they could not be invited, could not engage, could not abide defeat. They were undefeatable and therefore your enemy, your sworn enemy, marked for defeat and extirpation for without demolishment they would more than rebuild they would dominate, come to dominate the small place that precious place that was your Own. They were the same the same the same as you in so many of their ways and these ways, these smokescreens, these samenesses of time and place, your sharing the present, your perverse acceptance of a landscape of Bothness, a place where ancients mixed and melded and molded sweeps of geography where you Both belonged. But borders! Borders had to be drawn, swords crossed, bring an end to this shared presence to peopled places bearing Both where legends shared and fires built together and temple symbols and the icons of the field and forest and lakeside and the flowers of the lake and the lotus of the pond and the birds, the peacock and the kingfisher. Sever these. Sunder these sharings. Make as two one. But the two had been made so much as One, the double portrait as a mirror of one person, one place, one being, one breath, one heart, one intent, one house, one planting, one harvesting, one dependence, one image, one medicine, one music. To take them apart, to rake them apart, to break them apart. This required more than just a sharpened stone. This required more than acid. This one people of two languages, a gorgon-headed chimera of oneness and affability had to be shorn, drawn, cleaved apart in ways occult and shy but complete, atomizing, de-anastomosing the gathered and the inbranching embrace. This is why you were set as a spy among them but your months of spying had not shown you the way to cleave, only a further cleaving unto them as you saw and felt the shared samenesses, the seamless landscape, the searing diet, the fulsome flora. Your eyes, ears, sense of touch destabilized you. Sameness was all you perceived where your job, your sending out of your place and into this, their place, though the places were the same, demanded that you find the different. The months you spent with them in physical proximity embattled your sense of purpose your sense of direction your moral compass. You were among them and of them and in them and up against them and drinking and eating with them as your ancestors and ancestors' ancestors had done for countless existences. How could you not be one? How could you not go into the next many existences with a oneness stone cold and searing hot welded, hybridized, juxtaposed, entering into another and another and another and another oneness, sameness? What was the difference? How could you find it? Your waking and sleeping wrestled with these questions. In your dreams and in this dream you gritted teeth and suffered falling feelings and felt inadequate and found neither succor nor sugar nor respite nor relaxation nor peace nor quiet nor sundry self-reliefs. You found that you were discrediting yourself and your clan and your valley and your people in the larger, latitudinal sense and in the narrow sense of your family and your ancestors. Because your ancestors were different from Their ancestors, and you only had to find the difference brought to the present, brought to the surface, brought to the light of day. You had to find it somewhere. In their gait? Their build? Their alleyways? Their cows? But sameness is all you saw no matter how hard you sought. You practiced their rites and you saw the works and irrigations and the sea through their eyes. You spent more time in their houses, their hospitals, their gathering places. Closer to them. More closed in with them. All of you people of the outside but inside with places to sit, quiet places to sit, noisy places to sit, shady places to sit but closer, hotter, more closed in, what could you find that they couldn't take away from you? That would signify you, exult you, raise you to high places among the mighty and the glorified, provide you a sitting-place among the elders of the land? This, your struggle, came to its conclusion at the end of your dream. You dreamt and then you awakened and then you knew. You had gathered up and distilled for yourself their aroma. You could smell now the essence of Them and carry it with you. With this smell, the knowledge of this smell, you could justify your works, the weeks and months you'd spent finding out, ferreting out, sniffing out the difference between You and Them. Now you carried Them in your nose and your olfactory senses and in your nerves. You carried them now, separate and distinct. But residing in you they were part of you.