Femina does not know how long she had been sleeping. It sure was long enough. She is still in the hallway, but it is low lit and uninviting again. A cold drought flows along the stone floor and though it is no more than the breath of chilly nights, it makes her shiver and sad. She watches the to and fro of the softly swinging and dreary shining lamps, but they have nothing new to tell. She is still alone, she is still not free and everything is two-sided.
What did Dimitri call her? An egoistic bitch? Is the cage not golden enough? How could she ever explain to him that she suffers because she was lost, subdued and defenseless? Deep in her soul lies a sadness that does not go away, no matter what she does. It follows her, while she is searching for her memory, like a faithful dog who wants to please his owner. The search gets harder with the passing of time, losing trust and self-confidence under the constant nagging of an ever growing uncomfortable companion by the name of doubt. Sure, her will has not been broken. It is he who pushes her on, keeps her alive. But it is not all just about existence, and as she had been worried about the brainwashing, so it has come, she struggles harder than ever before.
She stands up, her limbs stiff from the cold. ‘Let’s go then,’ she says to herself. The shivering helps her body to fight the chill, and will help her to choose the door to open first, as she begins the in-house exploration. Feeling cold makes the decision easier. What better than to look for something or somewhere warm. She walks along the corridor, touching the doors as she passes, until her senses prompt her to stop. She inspects the door inquisitively. It is just a simple wooden door, nothing special to look at, but on touch it is very different. Solid and of dark smooth shine she feels a soothing warmth as if her hand was gliding over soft velvet. There was no metal handle either, only a wooden knob with rounded shallow furrows, that allows her hand a cozy grip. She gives her brain time to gather information. Pressing her ears against the wood here and there, she can however not discern any sound or noises. Of course, there is always hope that something good lies hidden behind. She even can expect something positive, receiving positive signals. But if she wants to know, she just has to open the door. Her hesitation is not for nothing. After all, in this house nothing is certain or unequivocal, nothing is necessarily what it seems. Whom then to trust but her senses! After all, they deliver facts the judge needs to make up his mind. And so she turns the knob.
The door swings open, easily and without a sound, or the slightest resistance. Warm air rushes against her and darkness of night. She cannot see much at all, but the air is light. It feels like a warm summer night. Entering, the door closes softly behind her, without any noisy sign of finality. A sense of vastness overwhelms her, and with the cold still holding her tight, she lets herself down to the ground. Leaning against the door with eyes closed, her body can get rid of the cold in comfort, and her eyes can adjust to the dark. Her senses however are very alert. There are vibrations in the air touching her skin, and in the ground, she sits on. She hears faint sounds of a purity that make her cells swing. She also suspects someone has lit torches as she can see the flicker of light through her closed eyes. With the cold slowly leaving, curiosity wakens, and she looks up.
It confirms what her senses suggested. She has not entered a room. In fact, she sits on a dry warm earthy ground and in front of her lies wide open land with a night blue sky above. Far in the distance she sees a shiny green phosphorescent dome, reaching high up, and covering an extensive round of land, or so it seems. Above it, in the velvet skies, colored lights flare up as if there were Northern lights or summer lightening, but it is neither. Whatever it is, is just amazing, bizarre, and yet fantastic. A nightly ‘Fata Morgana’ perhaps? She pinches herself to make sure she is not dreaming after all. She isn't. She is awake.
Femina gets up. She likes what she sees, and that is where she will go. She walks off in a strong steady pace, made easy by the carpet of dry grass that covers the ground. The closer she comes to the dome, the more wondrous the night becomes, and everything in it. In the blue of the nightly sky dance and glide figures and shapes, in glowing colors of varying forms and multitude, sometimes in clear patterns, other times in single rows, then again in bizarre combinations. They are accompanied by or connected to sound. They seem to emerge from the depths of the sky, wandering towards the dome, while others float out from the top of the cupola to drift away until they disappear somewhere in the distance or descend beyond the horizon.
The closer she gets, the more vibrations fill the air, and the clearer are the sounds. Indeed, these forms are glowing shapes of sound and color, moving through the space of night like iridescent soap-bubbles that delight young and old. Of course, the happy shouting of children is not around, but the sound that is present, made of clear and simple tones, is not only sweet to listen to but has a quality that transcends space and time. It seems to influence the intensity of the glowing colors, though it may be the other way round. Travelling towards their destination, this way or that way, to this shore or the other, filling the nightly sky, one could easily imagine being in an exotic aviary with numerous flocks of colorful birds swirling and fluttering and singing strange but wonderful songs. Obviously, the dome is of particular significance. Everything strives to it and comes from it, as if it were a living organism breathing color and speaking in tones. Sometimes the night holds its darkness and the earth keeps still, but the dome’s iridescent green light shines on, with some variation of brightness though really of negligible difference.
The closer she gets the more details appear. Not that this helps her as much as she thought it would. Towards the horizon behind the dome serrated outlines appear. They may be from a distant mountain range or just mountains or even a city. The dome is no solid structure either, not even glass. It is of pure light, green phosphorescent light which appears, seen from the distance, as a glass dome filled with light. It lies over a huge circular of the grassy land, marked by a wide ring defining its border circumference and in which Femina sees vague shapes moving, or motion creating patterns alluding to shapes. There could be shrubs, trees, pillars or even light posts reflecting the changing displays of the skies above. Strange as it may seem though, she believes there is only one reasonable conclusion; this is a plant for broadcasting or an information exchange. All this sounds and light forms coming and going like waves, rippling the surface of the night’s blue ocean; someone sending smoke signals to be seen far away; someone sending waves of sounds not only to heaven but also through the sea of stone and earth. It must be a station for communication purposes, or what else?
Already close enough to be caught in the radiating shine of the green light, her bewilderment grows even bigger. Logic cannot explain, nor proof that she is dealing with reality and not just an illusion that may disappear at any time. Or maybe she has hallucinations, making her believe there is reality when there isn't.
Poor brain, it has no choice than letting doubt take control. But whatever she experiences, - what she sees confirms: This is a broadcasting and receiver plant though the radio towers and antennas are not of metal, they are humans. Lots of them. People form the ring with rows and rows of people, like human chains, one behind the other. More or less regular, they are the wide ring, skirting the round base, over which the dome diffuses its shine. Since Femina is now too close to see the whole layout, she is sure glad that the initial distance gave her the wider perspective as it permits overall conclusions observing a smaller but close part.
The movement she saw was in fact the coming and going of people to and from the ring. Their numbers vary, and even the rows change, most likely depending on how many want to actively participate. There are people who replace others, then there are the ones who just simply fill in open spaces, some are waiting for others to leave, some are moving in groups, others are by themselves. There are no obvious rules how this is organized. However, as soon as a person sits down, a green beam of light emerges from them as if they had floodlights that could be switched on, by them, or whoever. Or maybe these people are the light source themselves, like the glowworms that swarm in warm summer nights, bringing the magic of the stars down to earth as they dance and flurry.
Femina loses patience with her grey cells. She rushes on until she is immediately at the ring to get the best view. She had to make her way through an increasing number of people gathered in the surrounding areas of the ring. She noticed groups of all sizes and single individuals. Some had prepared well, sitting on blankets and having food and drinks to share; not like her, who had only brought herself. Obviously, the grounds outside the ring serve as a resting zone, but the coming and going to the ring and from it, was like a steady trickle and flow. She paid not too much attention to any of it as she was too curious about the action in the ring.
Within the ring the people sit close enough to each other to give hands if they wish. Most are in the lotus position, having their eyes closed, or so it appears, but all backs are turned to the outside, all faces to the inside circle. From them rise, like breath in cold nights, vapors of colorful lights, swirling upwards on the green rays of light, gathering to garlands until they form in the dome’s ceiling the final shapes and shiny figures that finally flow out into the night’s blue sky to begin their journey. The sounds accompanying them, are just as much coming from the people, humming and chanting, or singing canons. The rich simple tones weave their own patterns of melody or they just intertwine to harmonious strands. The sound forms, entering from the outside heaven into the dome’s light, travel down on the outer side of the green light beams, to the back of the heads of the people where they disappear. The green light is like a road serving the traffic of transmission, and everyone in the ring is sender as well as receiver.
Though the green light shines all the time, the same does not apply to the broadcasting or transmission activities. Sometimes only single people breathe out the colored vapors, other times there are groups or sections of the ring, and it varies from a lot to just a few. The ring is like a switchboard with in-numerous knobs, lighting up in color, as they are activated. It must be quite a view from above.
But there is something else she finds odd, and nothing provides a clue to the why. People do not fill the whole circle. The ring rather expands outwards; and the inner circle is lit by white light, or day light. The ring builds the green shiny walls of the dome, separating the blue night outside from the bright clear day inside. Though the wall’s dimension can vary, it is there where the main action takes place, like the wall of a cell through which an exchange is made.
She also observes that communication between the people in the ring is well and truly happening. Not as much verbally as it is through touch, particularly by holding hands, though all other senses would be part of it. It means that every person literally is a transmitter, transformer, and a messenger as well. May be some are better than others in whatever they are doing but clearly everyone is important. Radiating off the green light is the crucial element and the basis for the plant’s functioning.
What the sound and color shapes actually mean remains unanswered too. Femina has no idea, but the display is more than impressive, and magical. It touches her deeply and without fail it raises an array of feelings, particularly of longing, that is not even well defined. Oh you poor soul, how relentless do you treat yourself! Why so timid? Why so confused? You can feel, you can express, you can pass on, just the same. You can participate, if that is what your heart desires. Why not? What do you need? A public invitation? An official permission? Surely not! There is nobody who dictates, no one who governs! It is you who creates the barrier! But the poor soul seeks understanding, being so alone and, not even having a torch, not to mention floodlights. That is the problem! But Femina rebuffs. Nonsense! Doubt has no place as a self-defeating operator. Sure, feeling lonely and insecure is indeed sad, but after all, these are feelings, and they do change. Yes, poor soul, your suffering is real, but you do not need to let yourself drown in it.
Her thoughts get interrupted. Heaven is suddenly in turmoil. It flickers and flashes from colorful lightning, fireworks illuminate the night. A medley of sounds, whirls of tones, all seem to strive for undivided attention. The people in the ring stretch out their arms to clasp the hands together. Their bodies seem to pulsate. A deep hum arises and the green light gets stronger and more iridescent than it had been before. The crescendo of color and sound makes Femina’s heart beat faster and fervently. Though not knowing what was going on, she sure knows it must be something important, let alone, everyone rushing into the ring. New chains are forming and the ring tightens, all actions unify. Countless bodies, weaving and swaying, they look like an ocean, whipped by winds, with waves rolling and billows surging.
Femina’s heart feels the ring’s rhythm and pulse. In fact, it is quite impossible not to, with the ground and air vibrating and all senses being bombarded as if they were under a shower of meteorites. When earth settles down again and the signals from the sky quieten, the ring opens up with many people leaving. Some wander off into the night, others return to the resting areas. But the broadcasting continues. It may be less frequent but none the less intense. The colors and sounds are actually brighter and stronger. It is not even necessary to pay full attention to them. Light and sound find their way without fail, independently and unstoppable, through all and everything. Integration is no problem at all.
Femina walks away from the ring to take a rest herself. After standing for some time she needs to sit down, giving her also the opportunity to check out the crowd. She has no intention to leave this place soon. To the contrary, she will go into the ring some when later and despite her lack of understanding what this is all about. ‘Trying beats studying any time,’ she reckons. Besides, her curiosity would not let her move on before she had investigated all she could.
She turns her interest to her immediate neighborhood, the people who had just come out of the ring. There are a few singles, but the majority consists of smaller and bigger groups with the odd couple here and there. They are a friendly crowd. Nobody eyes her with disapproval or pity, nor does anyone try to strike up an unwelcome conversation with her. They are themselves a mixed bag. Some wear good shoes for walking, others are barefoot; there are women in trousers and men in sarongs; some are white skinned, others dark. They are of varied cultures and backgrounds and all ages as well. Femina feels very comfortable among them, in fact better than that. It is a kind of happiness she has not felt for a long time. So what, if this is a fata morgana or an illusion or hallucination! It is a warm summer night filled with magic. It would be a missed opportunity and unforgivable not to enjoy it.
Turning her head she notices a figure that had stopped close by. A sound of delight escapes her. It is Baba! He, here? Extraordinary! But what a wonderful surprise! Recognizing each other, they laugh. He stands there, utterly relaxed, waiting. His smile as wide, he all the same, as it, as he was when she met him the first time, high in the mountains, on one of the trekking routes, in fact, the first one, she had chosen, from the many that were to follow.