THIAOOUBA PROPHECY - 10
on another planet
It seemed that Thao was also very popular here and she found herself answering numerous questions - always with her natural, broad smile. Before long, however, several of our hosts were required to resume their duties and we took this as our cue to leave. My mask was put on again and we left these people, as well as those in the larger room, amidst many gestures of friendship and goodwill.
We rejoined our vehicle and immediately accelerated away in the direction of a forest, which could be seen in the distance. We flew at a height of approximately five or six metres and at a speed I would have estimated to be 70 or 80 kilometres per hour. The air was warm and fragrant and I again felt euphoric, in a way I had never experienced on Earth.
We arrived at the edge of the forest and I remember having been greatly impressed by the size of the largest trees. They looked to rise about 200 metres into the sky.
‘The tallest is 240 of your metres, Michel.’ Thao explained without me having to ask, ‘and between 20 and 30 metres in diameter at the base.‘Some of these are 8000 of our years old. Our year consists of 333 days of 26 karses. A karse is a period of 55 lorse, a lorse comprising 70 kasios, and a kasio being almost equivalent to one of your seconds. (Now there’s a sum for you...) Would you like to go to your ‘apartment’ or to have a look at the forest first?’
‘Let’s visit the forest first, Thao.’
The vehicle greatly reduced its speed and we were able to glide between, or indeed, stop and observe more closely, the trees at heights that ranged from almost ground level to 10 metres above the ground.
Thao leaned towards me and removed my mask. The undergrowth was luminous and softly golden but I found it quite tolerable.
‘It is a good time to begin accustoming yourself to the light and colour, Michel. Look!’
Following her gaze, I spotted, very high among the branches, three butterflies, vividly coloured and of enormous size. These lepidoptera, which must have had one metre wingspans, fluttered high in the foliage, but we were lucky to see them fly closer and closer to us, on wings of blue, green and orange. It is as clear to me as if it were yesterday. They brushed against us with their wings that were strangely fringed, to create the most beautiful and breathtaking effect. One of them came to rest on a leaf just a few metres from us and I was able to admire its body, ringed with silver and gold, and its jade-green antennae. Its proboscis was golden and the tops of its wings were green with streaks of bright blue alternated with dark orange diamond shapes. The under-sides were dark blue, but luminous, as though they had been illuminated from above by a projector.
For the duration of time this giant insect remained on the leaf, it seemed to emit a soft whistling sound and I was quite surprised by this. I had certainly not heard a lepidopteran on Earth make any sound at all. Of course, we were no longer on Earth but on Thiaoouba, and this was only the beginning of a long series of surprises for me.
On the forest floor, grew an incredible variety of plants, each one stranger than the next. They covered the ground completely, but I noticed very few bushes among them. I imagine the forest's giants prevented them from developing.
In size, these plants varied from a ground-covering moss-like plant, to one the size of a large rose bush. One kind, with leaves as thick as a hand in various shapes - sometimes heart-shaped or circular, sometimes very long and thin - was of a colour tending much more towards blue than to green.
Flowers of every shape and colour, even of the purest black, entwined each other. From our altitude of several metres, the effect was absolutely glorious.
We rose till we were up among the highest branches and I put my mask back on according to Thao’s direction. We emerged from the canopy and moved slowly, just above the foliage of those enormous trees.
Above the forest the light was, once again, incredibly intense and I had the impression of travelling through a landscape of pure crystal.
Marvellous birds were perched on the tops of the taller trees, watching us pass, without fear. Their colours, varied and rich, were a veritable feast for my eyes in spite of the subduing effect of my mask. Here were varieties of macaw, with blue, yellow, pink and red plumage; and, among them a type of bird of paradise strutted amidst a cloud of what appeared to be hummingbirds.
These hummingbirds were of a brilliant red colour flecked with gold. The red, pink and orange tail feathers of the birds of paradise, would have measured 250 centimetres in length and their wingspans almost two metres.
When these ‘jewels’ took flight, the underside of their wings revealed a very soft, misty pink, with just a touch of bright blue on the tips - so unexpected, especially as the tops of their wings were of an orange-yellow colour. Their heads wore plumes of impressive size, each feather being a different colour: yellow, green, orange, black, blue, red, white, cream....
I feel frustrated that my attempts to describe the colours I saw on Thiaoouba are so inadequate - I feel I need a whole new lexicon, as my language fails me. I had the constant impression that the colours came from within the objects I looked at, and the colour was more than I had known it to be. On earth, we know perhaps 15 shades of red; here there must have been over a hundred...
It wasn’t only the colours that claimed my attention. The sounds that I had heard since we began to fly over the forest inspired me to seek an explanation from Thao. It was almost a background music, very light and soft, similar to a flute which continually played the same air but at a distance.
As we moved on, the music seemed to change, only to return to the original tune.
‘Is that music I hear?’
‘It is vibrations emitted by the thousands of insects which, when combined with the vibrations of the colours reflected by solar rays on to certain plants, such as the Xinoxi, for example, produce the very musical results that you hear. We, ourselves, only hear it if we particularly attune to it, for it comprises an integral part of our life and our environment. It is restful, isn’t it?’
‘According to the experts, if these vibrations were to cease, we would experience considerable eye trouble. This will perhaps seem odd at first, since these vibrations appear to be perceptible to the ear rather than the eye. However, experts are experts, Michel, and, in any case, it is of little concern to us, for they also say that the chance of their ceasing is as remote as the chance of our sun extinguishing itself tomorrow.’