by Addy S. ’16
Now I must tell you of a city that sits in the windy shade of the mountains and burns in the glistening heat of the sun. Unlike most cities, this one is not frequently seen as an oasis to the weary traveller. It is a city that can only deteriorate as its inhabitants watch, helpless to those invisible powers that govern nature and their lives. The city of Dakota faces east, towards the bringer of its bounties, the source of its life, the burning flame that sears the brow with sweat and dries up every pool of water until the only sign of life that remains is the salty splash of the waves as they crash monotonously against the ever-receding shoreline.
This city does not measure time like most. It has a daytime, a darktime, and a nighttime. It is only during the daytime that any semblance of life can be glimpsed. The gold-tipped spires of the buildings glint as they catch the sun reflected off the sea. The waves of heat that ripple from the sand blur the vision until it appears as though the city ends in a shimmering wall. The daytime starts as soon as the first rays of sun send their warmth over the rolling waves. The men set out in their fishing boats, the children play in the sand or shriek with delight as the run through the breaking waves, and the women tend the small plots of earth that they have managed to cultivate in the sandy soil. Or sometimes there are expeditions up the precipitous slopes of the mountain to gather the berries that grow in clusters against the leaf-strewn ground. But as soon as the sun crosses the highest peak of the mountain, the streets, sordid with the garbage cast aside by the thousands who travel by twice every day, cools, for this city nestles gently against the base of the mountainous impasse. As the whole city is cast in shadow, the winds rise and they sweep along the shoreline, tattering open sails and overturning anything left to their mercy. The debris that cluttered the many winding avenues during the day is blown into heaps on street corners and in alleyways. There are not even lights on in houses, for the flame of the gas lamp or candle only gutters in the forceful gales of wind. This is a city that can live only in the early morning hours as the mist clears from the water and the dew seeps down into the occasional patch of dirt.
No one can understand why a city was built there. During the daytimes the inhabitants are plagued with insufferable heat. But when the sun is gone the winds begin to rise and all motion is forced to cease. Nothing can be built, for no sooner is the sun gone but the winds tear down the scaffolding and scatter the workman’s tools. Maybe at one time the mountains were not there or the sun followed a different path across the heavens. But if the city continues its existence the same as when I stumbled across it, soon the wind will grind away the walls of all the dwellings and there will be nothing left save the foundations buried deep beneath the sand.
To see the next city in our project, click HERE.