Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath

I Need to Move to a Different Planet

OK, this isn’t about gardening, and not really about writing either, but… I knew this would happen — eventually a post like this would show up in this pure and simple blog. Oh well, here goes…

The past few weeks I have several times found myself thinking that I need to move to a different planet. I am obviously not suited to this one. To tell the truth, I have suspected this for decades, but now there’s no more doubt. When I hear something called “music” that to me sounds like a rhythmic riot, or someone yelling with bashing noises in the background called “a really great song,” I know I’m an alien here.  Am I the only one who thinks it’s not OK for there to be 7 billion humans on Earth, but only a few thousand bears, cougars, tigers and other large predators in ever-shrinking wilderness enclaves? And what about the prevalence of thick-necked, bullet-headed creatures driving huge black pickup trucks? Those types need their own planet, totally paved in asphalt. Sometimes I think it’s the one we all live on, the way things are going. Which is why there are days I want to get out.

So where would I like to live instead of this beleaguered Earth? That’s the problem; I don’t think the place has been discovered yet. It would have to be an earth-like planet, of course, with a temperate climate rather like that of Vancouver Island, except with reliable rain in the summer, because I would want to be a gardener in my new home. The human population would be relatively small and not dominant. There would be great forests and savage beasts to counteract hubris. There would be blank spots on the edges of maps, labelled “unexplored regions.” Cities would be small and ancient. Introverts would outnumber extroverts about two to one. Change would be leisurely and everyone would be vegetarian. There would, of course, be hot and cold running water and reliable plumbing, but transportation would be by bicycle and other human-powered vehicles within towns and by rail between them. There would be cats. Loud noises would be discouraged, but good conversation highly esteemed. There would be coffee shops with resident string quartets.

Government? Economic system? Aargh, don’t make me deal with that stuff. Is there anything about the economy of Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings? Magic — that’s the thing, and happy hobbit farmers and millers, an idealized medieval England. But yes, this business of creating a real, functioning world is more complicated than it seems in the first flush of enthusiasm. It’s a good thing that most fictional worlds are just that — fictional — and so not required actually to function. (Hmm, this seems to be turning into a Writing post after all).

So if I don’t want to build my own planet — then what? I know — I need a one-way ticket to H.P. Lovecraft’s dreamworld, so delightfully described in “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.” Ulthar, that would be the place.  Listen to this: …the sea of red tiled roofs and cobbled ways and the pleasant fields beyond, all mellow and magical in the slanted light… Then twilight fell, and the pink walls of the plastered gables turned violet and mystic, and little yellow lights floated up one by one from old lattice windows. And sweet bells pealed in the temple tower above, and the first star winked softly above the meadows across the Skai. With the night came song, and Carter nodded as the lutanists praised ancient days from beyond the filigreed balconies and tesselated courts of simple Ulthar. Sounds like my kind of place (as long as the plumbing is adequate). The trouble is, I have no idea how to get there. Randolph Carter, Lovecraft’s master-dreamer, has disappeared. He was last seen climbing into a weird coffin-shaped clock, having first morphed into something unspeakable…

So I guess I’m stuck here on Earth, with all its faults and marvels. There are cats and coffee within reach, and last time I checked, the plumbing was OK.