The sun climbs slowly into the sky. The travelers arrive singly or in packs, and they barter, argue, and negotiate their way past the gatekeepers. Inside the protected environs, they stake claims to temporary waiting spaces.
Unearthly pillars tower over the travelers. Some gaze up at the symbols etched into their gleaming surfaces, or wonder at the lighted screens.
The travelers gather provisions, and fortify themselves for the journey ahead. Those who hunger for greater insight linger by the pillars, as if mere proximity might confer revelation.
Leaders track the movements of pack members. Those who wander too far away are ordered to return.
Servants carry out essential maintenance on the travelers’ equipment.
Elders share their wisdom, and hunters regale others with tales of conquest.
The young nestle by their leaders. Games teach about faraway places, and aspects of society they must learn.
“R-O-U-G-E. What is rouge?”
(The elder interjects) “It’s something you put on your face.”
“It’s also a city in France.”“Ooh, France is fancy!”
Suddenly, a disembodied voice fills the air. Words make clear the purpose of the strange pillars. The travelers regroup and assemble. They appease a final gatekeeper, and then traverse a tunnel of light.
Inside an elegant carriage, they stake claims to new places of waiting. A young boy, no older than three, sits with his parents and peers out the window. Before him stretches forth a mighty wing covered in scales that glisten orange, red, blue, and silver in the morning light. “We fly high!” he exclaims. “We fly high!”
Adventure beckons. I, too, am ready to fly.