some thoughts about a reverence for nature and natural and living things while being wary of essentializing nature into some sort of pure perfection that we are separate from
had to turn back and cajole my stick from its resting place amongst the sticks. however it may appear, my sticks do not move of their own accord
i love trees. i love the way the wind smells and sounds and feels on my skin when it’s not being drowned out by media and conversation and machinery. i’m able to find a quietness in myself in the quietness of the forest and a stillness in myself beside the flow of water that is difficult to access beside the flow of traffic. How quick and far ranging and frantic and small we are next to the firs and cedars who have been standing sentinel for multiple human lifetimes watching water carve stone and their neighbors burn and the axe line approaching. And how fresh and young those ancient trees are in the eyes of the stones who have been standing somewhat still for millennia and millennia since being belched out of the depths of earth’s molten inners.
this old guy, still recovering from recent burns was not particularly entertained by my stick
i don’t really know if this is spiritual, or some epigenetic remembrance of my ancestors living closer with the land, or an interpretation of what i’ve learned about indigenous lifeways, or a simple release from being overstimulated by a modern urban environment, but what i think that it is is that all of the every and each things are on another level one thing, and that it can be easier to feel that connection with our non human relatives than with our human relatives because we have created and live in a culture that is based on domination and exploitation and ownership instead of cooperation and solidarity.
And nature becomes something to be owned, to be used and possessed and exploited in order to prove our mastery, assert our dominance, increase our wealth. Ownership in our society is inclusive of the right to destroy and exclusive of the responsibility to sustain or tend or steward.
Or nature becomes something apart from us and ‘sacred’, that only the elite may access. Something clean and pure and separate. Something unattainable because we humans have fallen. Something we can find again if we cleanse ourselves and our nations.
Both of these fetishizations are extremely gross and dangerous. Our industriousness has poisoned and desertified and driven to extinction with no sign of slowing down, and national cleansings tend to be eugenics and genocide.
these cliff faces are kinda like deserts in the lush forest. each plant in an individual niche and isolated
i yearn for a life with a bit more of the wild in it, with more space for things to grow. i would like to be less alienated from my food sources. For now i take these touristy trips with a camera and a stick and a friend to listen to the trees and the water and the stones. Imagine if we built human spaces that fit in with everything else living around us instead of vast impositions of our will on so called terra nullis. The land was never empty, and their guns and their laws and their rents can never really make it theirs. They can pretend, and they can make lots of money and lots of destruction, but humans are just a part of all that is.
We are a part of all that is. We are not something separate and distinct from nature. Not our loves, nor our fears, not even our dirty tech are unnatural. Collectively, we have every ability and all of the knowledge needed to craft systems that are in better balance, that nourish and sustain us. We only need to acknowledge, and choose, and find a path from here to there. Obviously this is easier said than done. Life feels like trying to fix the engine of a car that i’m driving down a freeway while i’m also floating ten thousand feet in the air and am also asleep. Often, it’s all i can do just to care.
punchbowl falls, eagle creek
Maybe practicing care, and learning to listen, and extending our sense of self outwards without trying to dominate or control are the first steps towards creating a healthier society. i don’t really know…
Here’s some podcast recommendations that may be related to what i’m talking about.
The Empire Never Ended: The Rise of Ecofascism pt. 1 – Interview with 12 Rules for What
Medicine for the Resistance: All Places are Fish Places
Conspirituality: Eugenic Pandemic (w/ Beatrice Adler-Bolton)
Coffee with Comrades: Thriving in the Ruins ft. Peter Gelderloos
Srsly Wrong: Not a Nation of Immigrants (w/ Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz)
A World to Win: Turning the Earth Into Money w/ John Bellamy Foster
Haymarket Books Live: Capitalism & the Apocalypse: Salvage Live w/ Mike Davis
Time Talks: Alexis Pauline Gumbs on Undoing Domination, Surrendering, Listening, and Audre Lorde
Here’s a video from when we walked this trail last year.