Moving About, Humming,
Still Our Flowers are Blooming,
Under the Old Portcullis

essay no. 1
Dan Plonsey
Summer, 2001

Keywords: flowers, animals, science fiction settings

He went around the house until he reached the porch that led up to the front door. At the front of the steps, he stopped and looked around. The place was quiet. The sun was mid morning-high and the day was warming up and this sheltered corner of the earth stood relaxed and hushed, waiting for the heat.
-- Clifford D. Simak, Way Station

The vast, consuming love of fauna for flora -- that is the subject of this piece. Two lifeforms have developed on this planet, side by side, complimentary, dependent upon one another, and so it should not be surprising that we animals are helplessly consumed by a longing to be one with the plants. Of course the desire is buried way way far back, as far as desire can be, and fulfillment is not to be, not until we begin our next life: pushing up daisies. The title came to me in two unguarded moments, slipping into sleep(s), two halves which are hybridized...

Our love for the vegetables is natural and uncontrived and without any reason; there's no answer to why we do love. What we love, though, is transformed into an abstraction -- for instance, we love their stasis. ``Still, our flowers are blooming...'' the emphasis is on stillness. ``Moving'' is us animals, the plants are still. ``Humming'' = music: the intermediary, the Intercessor.

``Our flowers...'' -- ``our'' being what? whose? Gardeners? Or plants, with flowers?

``Blooming under...'' -- being beneath and underneath and blooming; under an ``Old Portcullis.'' A portcullis belongs to a castle, a castle to a kingdom. The castle is old, perhaps abandoned and neglected and unknown (deep beneath consciousness), the portcullis no longer in use? Or: ``blooming under'' as in: getting under the portcullis into the castle (the unknown Kafka-esque un-enterable Castle) by the process of blooming under: growing the blooms right under the iron bars. Or: is ``blooming'' used Britishly as a generalized intensive, a euphemism for ``bloody?'' (Referring onward to ``God's blood.'')

Additional keywords: divinity and lack thereof, division, blood unisons, death

``No,'' the Intercessor said. ``You will be free; you will die and be reborn. I will guide you to what you want, and to what is fitting and proper for you...''
``I'd like to be a desert plant,'' Seth Morley said. ``That could see the sun all day. I want to be growing. Perhaps a cactus on some warm world. Where no one will bother me.''
``And sleep,'' Seth Morley said. ``I want to be asleep but still aware of the sun and myself.''
``That is the way it is with plants,'' the Intercessor said. ``They sleep. And yet they know themselves to exist. Very well.'' He held out his hand to Seth Morley. ``Come along.''
Reaching, Seth Morley touched the Intercessor's extended hand. Strong fingers closed around his own hand. He felt happy. He had never been so glad.

-- Phillip K. Dick, Maze of Death

The piece itself consists of a long, un-repeating, stream of consciousness melody, and three accompanying parts which consist of cells which repeat an even number of times (generally a power of two), give way to other cells, then perhaps return. The melody embodies animal motion; the accompaniment is cyclically static, as plants in their seasons.

The composition unites the two Kingdoms, the mutual penetration of one another's castles through the closed gates is a rather long process. It involves a certain amount of one-ness and long-form, and even more, about my friends getting together to play this music. It's about community, friendship, and that kind of stuff, all of which generate the rough sort of unisons which aren't, quite. And there in the melodies and accompaniment figures is all that we try to leave behind when we move, only to find it waiting for us when we get to wherever we've gotten to.

Additional keywords: wistfulness, kingdoms, the love of one for another

There had been a girl and an enchanted valley they had walked in, a springtime valley, he remembered, with the pink of wild crab apple blossoms flaming on the hills and the song of the bluebird and of lark soaring in the sky, and there had been a wild spring breeze that ruffled the water and blew along the grass so that the meadow seemed to flow and become a lake with whitecaps rolling on it.
-- Clifford D. Simak, Ring Around the Sun

It's also a pictorial, programmatic account of the descent by Orpheus, into the Underworld.