Saturday 26 March 2011

Earth Hour - A Message from the Future

Um. A bit embarrassing, this.

We were all set for Earth Hour. All the electric lights in the Community were switched off, of course - after all, that's what Earth House is all about. The oil-soaked-rag torches were all lit. Filling the grounds with hideous, acrid smoke, but definitely lit. Dozens of million-candlepower torches were switched on. Hundreds of solar garden lights were glowing with their soaked-up sunlight. The disco lights were dancing merrily away, powered by the shale-oil burning generator. We lit the bonfires and the citronella candles and the Wicker Men and  arranged the glow-worms tastefully on their mulberry leaves. Then we remembered that it's silk-worms that like mulberry, but frankly it was a bit too late to worry.

Leaving the grounds in a blaze of light, we entered the Moot House and flicked the Big Switch that withdrew the cover from the giant Floor of a Thousand Suns (which had been lit since Wednesday to get it warmed up). We'd opened the roof so we could see the night sky, but realised that in fact it was invisible due to the power of the lighting. We had to break out the welders' goggles from the last Eclipse to protect our eyes - and even then it was a bit bright. And the laser light-show cut in. And we lit the largest number of tea lights since the Night of a Thousand Tea Lights went so horribly wrong.

Now I'm not sure we weren't feeling a bit heady with the mercury content of all those environmentally-bulbs. And the light was so bright you could actually feel it. And the pressure of photons from the lights under our feet was so strong that I swear you felt like you were being lifted off the ground. But there we were,in our welders' goggles,  all ready to worship. Acutely aware that, for once, wearing hi-viz was not so much unnecessary as positively dangerous.

And do you know, we realised we'd forgotten to plan an Order of Worship? In all the excitement over the lighting, we'd forgotten all about actually having something to do. We'd not nominated the evening's worship leader. We'd no liturgy. No Enya CD lined up or even Peter Gabriel.  We'd got no worship focus, no pebbles, no twigs to contemplate, no beakers filled with water, no temple bells or gongs or sin-shredders or Play Doh or pipe-cleaners for modelling, no plastic toys for Oddly Play. Not even any yakuzas- nothing that you'd seriously describe as worship-related.

So I was just suggesting a quick game of "Mornington Crescent" (I really must explain the rules to Burton one day) when there was a knock at the door. And in walked the aliens.

I say "aliens". In fact they were humans from the M36 Cluster in Auriga, from 4,100 years in the future. They said they'd time travelled back to tell us to turn that bloody light off. Apparently they're big fans of  "Push the Button" and we'd blotted out their reception.

They also told us that it's all the petroleum and coal in our lithosphere that's preventing our civilisation from progressing, and advised us that the best bet is to burn it all as soon as possible. This may be genuine wisdom from the future. Or it may be a joke. So don't take my word on it.

Funny thing about the humans from the future. Obviously, 4,100 year is long enough for a certain amount of genetic selection to have taken place. And it's the genes of the most prolific breeders that survive. So oddly enough they all looked like Rod Stewart.

Anyway, we agreed to switch the lights off (they told us that having low-energy lights which can't use dimmer switches is terribly primitive). Although when we'd switched the lights off, strangely we were left with the image of Al Gore burnt into the retinas. Odd.

Anyway, the Rods got back into their Wolseley Wormhole GTi  and went back whence they came.  Unfortunately on the way in, they'd knocked all that magnesium ribbon into Hnaef's potassium permanganate store. And the sparks out of the back of their time-machine kicked a reaction off as they left. Which spread to the magnesium car block. And the magnesium car panels. And the doily dust in the magnesium-roofed shed. And caused a truly wondrous light.  Which was very bright indeed. So bright that I have received calls from people in Ampthill, who believe the Second Coming took place this evening.

So bright, in fact, that the space people returned about seven seconds before they left, scooped the whole mixture up into their portable black hole, and cleared off again. Thinking about it, I'm still trying to get my head round that one.

There are, my children, many frightening things in this universe. And many beautiful ones,  But I have seen the future.  And it's Rod.

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