Make Peace with the Trees and the Toads

you had me at hasselblad by Danielle Hughson

It starts to dawn on us that behind the curtain, at the heart of the Emerald City, sits … something responsible for what Marx, writing not so long before Conrad, cast as the ‘everlasting uncertainty and anguish’ of the ‘bourgeois epoch’; a time in which ‘all that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned.’ Draw back the curtain, follow the tireless motion of cogs and wheels back to its source, and you will find the engine driving our civilisation: the myth of progress. … History becomes an escalator, and the only way is up. On the top floor is human perfection. It is important that this should remain just out of reach in order to sustain the sensation of motion.

What new form of writing has emerged to challenge civilisation itself? … Uncivilised writing is writing which attempts to stand outside the human bubble and see us as we are: highly evolved apes with an array of talents and abilities which we are unleashing without sufficient thought, control, compassion or intelligence. Apes who have constructed a sophisticated myth of their own importance with which to sustain their civilising project. Apes whose project has been to tame, to control, to subdue or to destroy — to civilise the forests, the deserts, the wild lands and the seas, to impose bonds on the minds of their own in order that they might feel nothing when they exploit or destroy their fellow creatures.

Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Manifesto

I want to be wild with you again. I am desperate to return to the mossy wildwoods of Cascadia; the cosmopolitan citadel is fraying the tapestry of my being. My purpose has separated itself from me and stepped beyond my skin and like Peter Pan I clutch at shadows to find me again. I’m spoiling before I’ve begun. For all the beauty and magic and history contained in this place, its people have made me ill, physically and mentally. Every word and action is subtle manipulation manifested through quiet waiting greed, every minute that goes by is one in which another dollar could have been made. There is something keenly vampiric about the people I’ve met and encountered here, something I didn’t observe until I was confronted very directly with overlapping crossroads and announced, loudly and definitively my decision to the universe. Suddenly the wall fell and I could see how I’d been played by “friends” and strangers alike, how I had fallen victim to the ego-boosting and wallet-bursting ploys and schemes of others. My innocence is the greatest gift I have to give my lover the Knight-Champion of Truth but often it allows me to stumble and fall right back into sinister plots woven for personal distraction.

I am burning out, not because of the enthusiasm with which I first burst onto these streets in an eruption of timid joy, unsure of how my heart would be received, nor because I am constantly giving even to those who would (and do) take even more without *ghos-ti- return. Be an observer, not a sponge, my love warned me, yet I still managed to absorb the depravity of this place, this place that teeters along the fine line between radical pagan licentiousness and depraved self-destruction. I have watched it drunkenly stumble and fall on that old brick and mortar border one too many times.

Until I have the means to go Home to wandering deer and outdoor moss mausoleums and great orange amanitas, I will find natural magic here, I will do my best (even without access to transportation besides my own two feet) to get out of the city when I can, to make magic in the mud while the birds listen and ferry me over the edge of the worlds, to make shelter where the lichen softly cradles bones weary from walking, to make peace with the trees and the toads, to make charms with the gifts they offer in return for my reverence and awe.

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