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Duet for the Landscape Game

You are sleeping and you dream. Describe your dream

ADAM   I was at an airport and they called my flight. I was leaving
for another destination, or I was going home. I moved
through oceans of people, through endless corridors that
were always under construction. I could hear the
announcements but I could never get to where I was
supposed to be. When I got close, I turned away.   

EVE I was standing on the edge of a cliff. I could see far down
into the veldt and across the valley to where the mountains
rose and then faded into mountains of mist. The herds
moved below me like wind over still water. A breeze blew up
the cliff and over my body. I was warm in the sun.

You wake up in a house. The house can be anywhere within the
world. Describe the house.

ADAM      It is a small house that I made by the edge of a small wood.
It is the color of peaches. To the side is a smaller house
where I keep large crystal jars full of dried flowers. In the
garden a sheet of deep snow is drawing back from where
the roses and strawberries grew in the summer. A child
with russet hair waves from an upstairs window.

EVE It’s a small white house in town. Made of an old building
joined to a new building. Upstairs there are rooms I don’t
go into. Downstairs, the rooms are large. It has three
doors.

When you wake up, what time is it?

ADAM      It is morning but the sun is still struggling up out of the
branches.

EVE It is noon, but the house is still in deep shadow

You get up and go into the kitchen. What kind of kitchen is in this
house?

ADAM      It has a long counter where I make the meals and a window
looking over the front lawn. The window has a lace curtain
with a blue border. Behind me is another counter that looks
out onto the dining room. It is a galley kitchen. My
daughter is standing there. She is beautiful in my eyes.

EVE It flows into the small dining area. The windows look out on
the drive and the trees. It is seldom used.

You are going out for a walk. As you go to the door, you notice the
trees around the house. How many are there and how are they
placed in relation to the house?

ADAM      There are many, but most are set back from the house. I
once wanted a large tree next to the house, but it threatened
the house so I had it cut down and carted away.

EVE There are many and though I don’t own them I’ll care for
them and plant more in the summer.

You are following a winding path of stones and sand, past rocks
and dry reeds that rattle and hum in the breeze. You crest a rise and
start down. Looking around you see, beside the path, a bowl which
you pick up and carry with you. Describe the bowl.

ADAM      White and glazed with teal blue patterns. China.
Translucent like the skin of a baby when held up to the sun.
Made long ago, but flawless. A pattern of waves and wind
glazed into its surface. It holds last spring’s rain.

EVE Baked earth and marked with the ancient signs of Coyote
and the Flute God of the canyons of the southwest. A hole
has been punched in the bottom so the spirit of the bowl
can escape and follow its makers into the Mystery.

The path moves on past ruins, there are false turnings everywhere,
but you move straight on. Beside the path you see a key which you
pick up and carry with you. What is the key like?

ADAM      Brass. Ancient. What lock could it open now, in this world,
this world with its walls, its endless cities, its spaces filled
with houses endlessly emptied? Doors to a cathedral?
Ancient. Brass. On its surface there are words written in a
language no one understands. A language I am learning.

EVE A skeleton key. Useful when you find locks on doors that
seem, at first, to be always open.

The path moves out of a forest into the open. It grows hot. You find
yourself at a body of water. What sort of water is it and what do
you do when you come up to it?

ADAM It is the ocean. The sand stretches away on either side. The
waves are rolling in and spending themselves in long
swaths of seafoam and wavewrack. I walk beside it
collecting shells for my daughter, the carapaces of small
crabs. I wade in to my ankles and wonder if the waves
would carry me far from shore or fold me in their arms and
wash me back onto the warm sand. I’m a strong swimmer.
But how strong?

EVE The sea. The sand stretches away on either side. The waves
roll in and roll in forever across the rose sands. In the arc
of the waves, I can see the fish glinting in the light. I look
around for other swimmers in this secret sea. There seems
to be no one, but then, in the curve of a wave, I glimpse pale
legs and the flash of golden hair. I plunge in and let the
swell carry me out past the breakwater, to the barrier reef.

You move on along the path and, after some time you come to a
wall. What is the wall made of? What you do when you come to
it?

ADAM      It is a low stone wall, made by centuries of careful hands
laying one found fitted stone on top of another. Moss coats some of the
stones and new, small flowers the color of my daughter’s
eyes glint and spark in the dank green. Ferns are at the foot
of the wall. I walk along it until I reach a small locked gate.
My key fits into the lock and turns without effort.

EVE A broad stone wall. Not high, but not low. Made by
centuries of shaping hands. Gray stone, marked by pale lichen and
clusters of small plants. A lizard suns himself by the gate. I
sit on the top of the wall and look back along the path.

What lies beyond the wall?

ADAM      The far fields. Like places I walked in that summer when I
was a child and the clouds moved overhead when I lay in
the grass and listened to the soft rustle and saw the sky
overhead as without end and knew, for the first time, who I
was and who I would become.

EVE The far fields. Like the fields near my childhood home at
deep evening when I lay in the grass and could hear, far
and away, mothers surrounding the fields and calling out to their children
playing hide and seek in the wheat, in the rising dusk, in the gloaming:
“All in free! All in free!”