THE CATERPILLAR'S NIGHTMARE
(In case 'wishes originating in infancy' were ever in doubt...)
As we last left them, Alice and the Caterpillar had been discussing 'REALITY' and the seeming CONTRADICTIONS inherent in seeing THINGS as they REALLY WERE...or, at least that was Alice's complaint...and the Caterpillar had nodded off, dreaming of ANGELIC NUBILE BODIES and someday FLYING WITH BLUE GOSSAMER WINGS...at least, that's the way the dream started!
But no sooner had 'dreamland' taken hold of his LIMP infant-like body, the images that materialized (in his head) were truly DISTURBING! For no matter how hard he tried to 'fly', the wings that he had sprouted appeared to be useless, HEAVY, EVEN CARDBOARD-LIKE, and quite impossible to flap in the air. And then, a sudden fright took over!
" Could it be," he thought, and he was dreaming, all the while... "that tiny Alice was right? That ALL THINGS here in Wonderland were made of cardboard? That all appearances of depth and space were merely an ILLUSION, that there was no point in even TRYING to fly, since there was NOWHERE to fly to?......Oh no!", he cried out in his nightmare, "I'll never get off this stupid infantile resting place!"
And then, just in the nick of time, A VERY PECULIAR LIGHT broke through the folliage, accompanied by something called 'New Age Music', and ILLUMINATING the environs with a sparkling 'spatial' (almost laser-like and coherent!) presence...and all began to become QUITE REAL!
And then the Caterpillar realized, "as Alice must have known all along", he murmured, that there was something very REAL ABOUT LIGHT ITSELF...
"Excuse me sir," interrupted Alice. "Could you tell me where the source of this very peculiar light that..."
"We call it 'POINT SOURCE'...and it comes around everyday about this time, and lasts a few moments..." the Caterpillar struggled to explain.
"...that makes everything QUITE TRANSPARENT," continued Alice, "so that I can see these leaves from both front and back, as if they were made of some kind of glass...", Alice concluded, poking about the flora.
"Something quite 'TANGIBLE!', if one can invoke such UN-scientific and subjective notions?" he added.
"Yes! Something THERE, but NOT REALLY THERE!",she exclaimed.
"At this VERY MOMENT (a 'long exposure'?), Wonderland becomes exactly as you had wished!", he recalled. "A LOOKING-GLASS WORLD, if you wish."
And rising slightly, the Caterpillar pulled up his hookah, took a long puff from it's cloud-filled chamber, and reclined to enjoy the fleeting moment of what it must be like
'to possess the lepidopteran AWARENESS of the ineluctable modality of the present as conveyed by the transparency of space',
without gravity and other encumbrances...
What the Caterpillar is really 'afraid of':
The adventure continues:
The Caterpillar's Trick Question
Mad Hatter's Tea Party
Alice's Sitemap and Mirror