“The best part about living on Mars? No sugar ants in the pantry!” — Xonvart Niis
The treehouse twisted in a strong morning wind, roof panels creaking as they rubbed against tree bark.
Lee and Guin wanted to grow their organisation on Earth to increase the success of life on Mars.
Guin traveled on weekends, recruiting more creative types, especially those dedicated to dancing, often taking Xonvart Niis with her.
Xonvart, a new hire at the space agency, wanted to develop habits on Earth that worked also on Mars.
Something about the tree bark spoke to the future of Mars.
Would habitation modules on Mars have outer shells or skins that shedded like bark, replenishing themselves from local material, like a tree that grows out of the soil?
The early stages of the ISSANet were not obvious.
No planning team, no flowcharts, no calendar of events pointed directly to an ISSANet.
The Inner Solar System Alliance was in its infancy.
Everyone wanted an external threat to unite living beings on Earth, especially humans, to the need for more cooperative ways of living.
Some wanted world peace.
Some wanted innergalactic war.
Lee stood in the river of time, holding still like a boulder, feeling the flow of energy around and through him, sensing parts of him going on, taking in new parts, new sets of states of energy with every breath.
He felt his temporariness, how the forest and the rocks formed the landscape in which a ribbon of everchanging water hugged the lowest points, forever drawn lower by Earth’s spin, paint strokes in the larger picture of gravitational waves.
More than anything, Guin wanted to dance.
So, too, Lee.
Xonvart, the newest member of the team, was ready to take the lessons he taught on the dance floor to a new level.
None of them knew their ability to break down dance moves into smaller and smaller units would lead to them becoming the first of many people who were no longer natural-born humans but a set of prosthetic devices spread across the solar system, their dance moves intricately tied to space exploration.
They didn’t know but they did know.
Just like the trees that sprouted from a lineage millions of years in the making led to a living space of wood planks called a treehouse which supported the assembly of the first inklings of the ISSANet.
Leaves in the wind.
A tree grows and a tree dies.
We call it a tree because we distinguish a special set of states of energy in motion that belong to a group of sets with similar features which we have learned to use for our own chemical reactions — boats, houses, wheels, fire, food.
In our attempt to secure a global presence on Earth, we succeeded.
Now, we look to secure a presence off Earth.
And sometimes, we have fun for no reason at all.
Dancing works in both situations.
In life, as on the dance floor, spontaneous, spastic, improvisational moves are important, just like leaping from one thought to another, from one sentence to the next or one word to the next.
An ant wanders up and down bark, crossing a wooden beam of the treehouse, walking over flooring to encounter a sandal, testing the difference between between sandal and human skin, working its way up a leg until the human swats it away.
On the dance floor, partners test each other out, sometimes experimenting with dance styles together as individuals and saving their palm-to-palm, united-as-one dance connections for another night. Sometimes they combine the two in tiny slices of time.
Handholds disconnect us from time, showing us what our lives will be like, what they’ve been and truly what/who we are.
Dancing led us here, right now, to Mars, a few of us stopping on the Moon, some taking brief trips to orbiting space hotels or quick joyrides up and out of Earth’s atmosphere.
We sway together on this Martian observatory, feeling a breeze on the back of our necks, hair cut short or pulled up into a bun, never knowing that on Earth decades before now any of this would exist — new lifeforms, new ways of living.
New dance patterns…in rhythm but outside of time.