All the Qings spoke
Yobi woke up with a small piece of opal in her hand, crying. It happened all the time these days – she was in a fragile state. As she became aware of her tight grip on the rock, she released it and let it rest on her chest for a while. It was warm, having absorbed and stored the heat of her body. Taking a few deep breaths, she slowly raised herself up. She softly told herself something gentle and placed the piece of crystallised earth on the pillow next to her.
Letting her eyes adjust to the light, she looked out the window; the sky over the Andevoranto coast was clear, the sun about to rise. Some sea birds hovered over the horizon, making her want to get up. The floor was cold, summer had not quite arrived, so she put on her woollen toffles. She warmed up the kettle for tea, brushed her teeth, scraped her tongue and splashed some icy water in her face to prevent the swelling of her eyes. It rinsed the salt from her cheekbones. She'd been decrystallising a lot lately, though she felt as if she was slowly coming to the end of this period's grief. She poured herself a tea, sliced some cornbread, toasted it, and ate it with coconut butter.
She'd surprisingly quickly become accustomed to this - in many ways - less complicated existence. She mainly ate food that was sourced on the land behind the wall. Stews and soups, breads and butters, that were simple to make and easy to digest. The daily walks on the rocky shorelines with her hybrid half bred, half manufactured companion. It definitely wasn't as bad as she had thought it would be when she was in the city still.
Even these days, she occasionally translated transcripts for government officials and offshore NGO's but her main occupation was related to the actual restoration, after the pandemics and resource wars of the '20s had unexpectedly been followed by a global recalibration. The distribution of certain predictive texts had preceded the event and the authors had - of course - been seeking attribution. The most pivotal and historical moment had however been the public tears of the 7 Qings, after they'd, simultaneously, woken up to see the havoc they'd wreaked on their countries.
All the Qings spoke, later, about a similar dream. A seemingly mushroom infused hallucination which, as afterwards leaked through the intranets of the palaces, and out into the digital webs of the people, had contained an androgynous yet motherly figure which spoke in many tongues. "You are made of the earth", they'd said, "your veins contain the water of the oceans, your minds the fire of our common source, your bones the minerals that serve you. What are you thinking, selling your limbs to gain more gold?" The vision had shown the leaders two possible futures, one including dismemberment. This woke most of them up.
After visiting the Qings, the vision spread quite rapidly to other earthly inhabitants, infusing villages and corporations alike.
As often happens during collective leaps of development, Dream Day 1 was followed by a paradigmatic shift, but not without some time of complete chaos and then, resolutely, a structural reorganisation of worldly affairs. Inequality was first to be abolished. The killing of animals no longer seemed relevant, and the agricultural focus in general shifted towards an attitude of appreciation and acceptance of what the land had to give, as opposed to an artificial boosting of production to meet consumer demand. Funnily enough, the land, perhaps as a gesture of thankfulness or relief, responded with unprecedented abundance.
The seismic mental shift eventually led to the inauguration of the restoration period. Every day was earth day. And with so many, so many (!), wanting to give back, new organisations had to be called into existence. The Knowing Crystal Collective was one - brought to life by the association of mourning miners - remarkably including a number of VP's and CEO's. They were "mourning" as they had also realised, just after Dream Day 7 - what they'd been doing to their planetary home.
One of the Collective's missions was to return commercial gemstones to the earth, especially the ones that had been extracted from the planet under the most ethically challenging circumstances. The Big Return Plan, as it was called, had quickly caught on with celebrities and their following. Paying to have your healing crystals put back into the soil, had quickly become one of the most fashionable types of value signalling. It was said to enhance your karma, too. People paid good money for it.
Some crystals, often the ones considered most precious, were equipped with a small surveillance appendix; a microphone or camera. This was to serve as a guarantee to their previous owners that, really, their rocks were earthbound and safe. Yobi ran a small start-up, called "On the rocks", attaching the little appendices. She usually did this between 8 and 11am, right after her morning walk in the small studio space adjoining the beach house.
In the afternoons, taking with her some rocks for replacement, she joined the reforestation team in the center of the island to continue the work on their mycorrhizal symbiosis programme. They worked with a mushroom and mycelium expert known for making strong brews. By populating the harsh landscapes, depleted after years of intensive mining, with specific types of mycelium, they helped regenerate the barren strips of extensively exhausted earth. Part of the programme was to utilise the naturally occurring nurse effect - the ability and willingness of plants to help each other grow.
The nurse effect is heightened in moments and environments of elevated stress. Yobi repeated this to herself, every morning.