Tank Green/ April 20, 2024/ Writing Walking

A close up image of some green moss with 4 golden stalks sticking up. Three of them have dewy round tops to them.

A close up image of some green moss with 4 golden stalks sticking up. Three of them have dewy round tops to them.

As I am sure you can tell, these wee guys are astronauts. They have come here from AlphaZedZedNine. It’s a long way to here from there, so they have stopped on this moss for a rest. Actually, Alfred on the left told me it’s a re-fuel and a rest, as they find the lush moss particularly nourishing and moistening.

The AlphaZedZedNiners (let’s just call them Niners for short, although, to be clear, they are not related to the One-Niners), found the Golden Record sent up to the stars by the Voyager in 1977. It was 1983 by the time they found it, although of course to them it was ;Le3j^Wpp8*>, as they obviously don’t use Christian forms of dating. 

Anyway, the Niners saw the Golden Record and noted that its shape very much resembled part of their own. As such, they were drawn into an immediate global discussion about its possible meaning and utility. The discussion lasted precisely -0%5 (about three earth hours) due to the fact that the Niners are considerably more advanced than us. At the conclusion of the discussion, a hero was selected from amongst them to decipher the contents of the Golden Record.

This hero was called Freya and she will be honoured and remembered by the Niners for all eternity. (And hopefully earthlings too now I have recounted her—spoiler alert—legendary sacrifice.) After a few gongs, shots of moon rays, and sprinkles of star dust, Freya ripped off her head and replaced it with the Golden Record. Ever since, she has spent her existence in a loop speaking, acting, and painting the contents of the Record for the rest of the Niners to observe.

Whilst this is in fact a story of alien visitation, you should take comfort from the fact that the Niners aren’t gangsters and they haven’t come here to take over the Earth: they’ve come on a mission of exploration and discovery. That said, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, they’ve told me they’re a bit disappointed.

Their main disenchantment seems to stem from the fact that we have an enormous orb of succulent vegetation and nourishing waters, yet we choose to spend most of our time indoors. Apparently, AlphaZedZedNine is considerably smaller than earth and, although I haven’t been, sounds more like Mars in terrain. The Niners have only very small islands of vegetation, which they take it in turns to inhabit. As such, they simply can’t understand why we have this enormous, wondrous, breathable world, but yet we spend almost all of our time sheltering from it. 

To be honest, I’ve been trying to tell you this for a good few months now, so I feel a little bit smug. It’s nice to have one’s viewpoint validated by a superior alien race; I will have to try very hard to suppress my burgeoning pride. Nevertheless, my sole raison d’être in this particular post, is to pass on the Niners’ message. 

The Niners told me they have left communiqués for certain, very select earthlings on various mossy tree trunks and stones around the world. Much like Freya’s interpretive sacrifice, the method of Niner message-making is really quite brutal: they push down their thoughts, feelings, stories, and messages into their tiny stick bodies until there is nothing left of their head. After which, they await the fingers and hands of curious earthlings, so that they might stick them like brassy, organic pins. Ergo, to learn the message of the Niners, you must be ready to get pricked.

I have personally received one of their messages—obviously as it’s how I know all this—from a tree in Queen Elizabeth Country Park near Petersfield. It was fine, not at all painful, and I’m grateful for the experience. That said, I’m more than a little embarrassed to have to convey their judgement to you all.

Basically, the Niners think we’re a bunch of idiots caught in the clutches of a great and devastating myth. They can’t understand why the bulk of humanity spend their lives doing shit they don’t want, just to be able to buy things they don’t need. To be frank, I have to agree.

They pointed out that if we learnt to be still enough to truly experience the smell of a hyacinth in spring, or the sensation of early morning sun on our skin, then the inequity which powers the myth would collapse under the weight of its own bullshit. Sadly though, they noted that humans are too busy getting churned up by the next new thing to notice that who they really are, is someone quietly sitting still, breathing.

It is for this reason that the Niners didn’t want to stick around to get to know the rest of us; they said we’ve got about 40 thousand generations of evolving to do first. (And that’s a conservative estimate, I might add.) The Niners told me to tell you that they hope that those of us who are on the way to Figuring Things Out, will take heart and remain courageous, as there are several thousand billion smarter races out there in the universe who are rooting for us. I for one am glad; I salute them.

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