Jan 1, 2009

A Canid Droped into my Valley

The moon hangs in sky like a bone, hill sides are aglow in it's sterile light. The trees are dry in their autumn colors and a scent of fallen leaves is in the breeze. Leafs chatter, and fall, and it is quite cold. The sky is open to the heavens but the stars won't appear yet. It is late dusk. From the ridge of skull mountain she proceeds to the darkest, steepest fold. With the posture of a fugitive she drops into the familiar valley. She descends at a trot, allowing gravity to do the work. There is no bob in her back, she slides down like black silk drawn across the cold moss and shale- mute. The forest around her grows darker in the night.

A Dream: the slab

Just a vivid dream I had. Nothing of Substance in this post.

slab dream

A gray slab of rock of continental scale warms in the afternoon sun of my minds eye. 'What makes this kind of country' asks my fathers voice. 'plates come together and they crunch up or one is pushed under the other' I say.
The slab has ledges and fissures perpendicular to these ledges, giving the landscage a boxy look. The whole slab tilts toward some lower place under the horizon, and out of mind. There is a wide cut down the center of the slab. The topography within the cut is similarly ledged and cut, but less dramatically so. Water runs through here and there- mostly shallow and shimmering, little waterfalls alive with reflection and pissy noise. The rougher areas are bare rock, or green with moss. There are also small flooded groves of tress in the calmer waters. The trees strangely dry and in their autumn colors. I enter into this little paradise and float amounts the trees, the surface of the water still but carrying me steadilly up stream. I'm in an eddy, floating face down in the ether, buoyant and breathing, a foot above the water. I can see the bottom. Everything down there is fuzzed with a substantial layer of silt, clinging to the grasses and round stones as if by static force. And as if encased in gelatin or old acrylic , nothing moves.
Off my left flank are open spaces and somewhere the channel is to powerful to ford, and the waterfalls sound greater than man or mountain.

Are you an Enviornmentalis or do you Work

An instructor of mine has this bumper sticker on the back of his 82 toyota pickup.

"Are you an environmentalist, or, do you work for a living?"

It's a good bet that if you're a blue collar worker you're job antagonizes nature and thus such sentiments are born.

And it's easy to be critical of the green movement. Do these people think about what it takes to gather the ore for their titanium bicycles? Do they understand that their organic lettuce is grown in a former desert by means of intensive irrigation, petrochemical fertilizer, and mild pesticides, then trucked across the continent in a refrigerated semi?
I see "be green" everywhere. It's all over the TV, and magazines, but the content is ridiculous. It's just consumerism. Buy this, it's green. Drive this, it's good for the environment. Invest in us, we think about sustainability.

I'll tell you what. Littering, incandescent light bulbs, and renegade ATVs aren't the important environmental issue.

The food and feed industries are entirely dependent on petrochemicals. I'm saying that without synthetic fertilizer american crops would yield a tenth of what they yield now. That means a tenth the cows, pigs, chickens, ethanol, bread, candy, chips, and frozen dinners. Oil is a material that is becoming more expensive every week. Worldwide, the price of staple grains is rising 5 times faster than normal inflation, in some shitty places grain is so expensive that people are starving to death.
Here in the states the government subsidizes grain for the sake of agro business and us consumers.
Bread and Circus. Bread and Circus.
Natalie Portman is living green and loving life.

"Are you an environmentalist, or, do you work for a living?"

How to Effect Change

The examples of saving my favorite tree or my mother are a little different than saving the world. My favorite tree is nearby and thus within my sphere of influence. See, I don't believe I can effect change beyond the range of my voice and my projectile weapons. I have no persons under my control, who might effect change for me, nor do I wish to. I write my state and local representatives about issues that are important to me but I have little faith in this process.

You might argue that in this information age my sphere of influence can extend well beyond earshot and stone throw, but I don't know about that. All my bitching about a particular issue, even in the format of professional-like photo journalism, can hardly compete with mass media. All a cyber activists' cries are fruitless until enough people are driven to action in the real world.

To effect global change you need bloodshed and/or brainwashing. Bloodshed is important. Even Ghandi's movement against the empire required violence. In this case it was martyrs blood, violence against peaceful demonstrators that effected change.

"Brainwashing" is also key. It takes a great deal of money. Advertising dollars.

The End is Nigh

A crazy looking man stands on the street corner, his face blank and his shoulders bearing the weight of an awkwardly large sign reading, "THE END IS NIGH". You can picture him in the midst of the black death, and you can picture him on Times Square, that guy is always around. A great deal of fervently religious and politically radical individuals seem to be turned on by the notion that they are living on the brink, that they will experience end of the world as we know it. And you've probably noticed that most of these nuts like to assume that they alone will survive the apocalypse, and the post apocalypse will be heavenly, or at least usher in a golden era of human existence, the surplus of worthless people having died, and the survivors having learned from the mistakes of their doomed civilization.
And I'm sure that for every civilization that ever collapsed there was a guy on the street corner, smugly thinking "I told you so", as he watched the end unfold with all its drama. Yet for every correct doomsday sayer, there are generations who lived out their years with the collapse, the revolution, the cleansing, the apocalypse, the wishfull or dreaded change never coming. That's why I've had an aversion to the growing numbers of people I run into who believe the end is nigh. In my house is a serious collection of books written by counter-cultural thinkers of the 60s and 70s, whether off-the-grid homesteaders or Volkswagen LSD nomads, I think of them all as hippies. I group them together in their failure. The revolution failed, and the presumed collapse of capitalist industrialism never occurred. Every generation is choked full of people who believed civilization is on the brink of collapse, and you'll find that many 'regular' people hold this belief too, it's not a phenomenon limited to the nuts and radicals. My grandfather, as a young soldier, absolutely believed that humanity would not survive World War II. The generation Xers used the 'inevitable' nuclear holocaust as an excuse to drop out of high-school and experiment with mullets and punk music.
I'm not saying our civilization isn't fucked. I'm just saying piss off with the complex doomsday theories and embrace the uncertainty that is truth. The wisest men ever, great sages of the orient, and also the founders of western enlightenment would tell you that imagining the origin or fate of the universe is a waste of your precious time. And there is a contemporary saying that should be our mantra. "I woke up in the morning and got myself a beer. The future's uncertain and the end is always near. ALright."