"Somewhat Accurate Klock Under Recycled Arbor" (WIP)

Adventure #3331

On today's adventure I decided to try a prime number chosen from today's news. Dialing the destination into the portal, I took a deep breath (it's a habit since I stepped into my first flooded planet) and stuck my head through. The first thing I noticed-the incredible lushness of the vegetation-quickly led to the second thing I noticed: the richness of the air, which I noticed while still gasping at the first...

A vast forest spread out in front of me. At least, that's the best description I could give in one sentence. The forest was made up of trees which were immediately noticeable as incredibly different from our own. Trees of every shade of the rainbow stretched out all the way to the horizon, with the only benchmark I had for color being the somewhat normal azure sky, and occasional patches of normal green grass and brown earth. Everything else seems to have been steeped in the stuff the Beatles tried to make us picture. A towering cluster of trees, all of them much taller than the ones immediately around me, gave me the notion that a city lay just beyond a days' walking distance. My life-support system gave me the all-clear and I stepped through the portal decisively. I could tell this was going to be one of the better worlds.

The unrefined method I use for opening portals is still plagued with slight bugs, one of which leads to pretty much the entire world knowing that something has just arrived from very far away. The loud BANG and bright shimmer that announced my arrival was immediately noticed by the nearest sentient being, who sent for his representative immediately. Sure enough, as I was hardly 10 steps into this new realm, a 'village elder'-looking type came up to me, flanked by 10 or so humans that I could tell were slightly...tamer than normal people. Their welcoming nature was made very clear as the elder grasped me in an embrace I could only imagine is the byproduct of never having been stabbed in the back.

After the usual complexity of trying to communicate with a human species that evolved separately from our own, I managed to finally find a common series of sounds which allowed the elder to describe his world to me, and me to respond in kind. This society was one which has been brought up with a plethora of tree gods, and since ancient times these humans revered the trees as the root of all life on this world. While they have been contacted by alien species from other worlds, this race has been left alone for the most part, possibly because the aliens thought lumber is useless in space.

That isn't to say this race wasn't advanced. The trees provided everything the people needed in abundance, and the people in return make sure that an abundance of trees in all shapes, sizes, and colors are able to flourish. One byproduct of the incredibly oxygen-rich atmosphere was the awesome feats of gymnastics and strength the village's younger members enjoyed performing, as well as fueling the minds of all the people to complete advanced scientific achievements which have exploited the abilities of plant cells to their fullest.

As I expressed interest in their scientific endeavours, the village elder showed me how to get to the metropolis I saw earlier. A wooden carriage propelled by some sort of glowing tree ring on its underside took me to the city's most prominent university for arboratorial studies, where the students there did research into the "how and why" of their cohabitants in this world. This research produced incredible physical phenomena, which could only be explained to me as 'the life of the trees and our lives are interconnected'... at least, that was the best I could translate. The words for 'spirit' and 'oneness' were thrown around, but it seemed like I needed much more time to understand the deep spiritual complexity of this world before I could attempt at deciphering how these people could make trees respond to their desires.

This clock is a reproduction of a common type of clock I saw being used in their world to tell time. It seems these people skipped out entirely on trying to create a numeric system, instead relying on simple counting to achieve their arithmetical goals. By 'willing' a specially carved tree to tell time, the tree would respond by glowing a certain number of times in certain spots. This allowed the people to know what time it was anywhere there was a tree present. I later learned that this innovation was first observed by a scientist who posed to a tree the seemingly obvious question of "where is the sun in the sky". Trees could tell with a much greater granularity the position of the sun in the sky, their entire life dependant on this simple measurement after all. When combined with the question "how long is a day", the tree's plant cells combine in a somewhat crude computer topology and can 'calculate' the position of the sun relative to the time it takes for their Earth to spin once. By releasing some of the stored energy from the sun back out as light, the tree 'responds' to the question, and displays the time.

Currently I could only tease a sort of counting program out of the piece of bark I was given as a parting gift. Hopefully some more research will yield a functioning clock.

(note: these photos/video have not been edited in any way! My phone did have HDR on, which explains a few of the brighter colors. The video is more true-to-life!)