m v n v m10th July, 2008
while sitting in an artist’s studio yesterday i noticed how insulated i felt from the forest just yards away, and how pretty the woods looked through the small window cut out of the cinderblock wall, framed by all sorts of chemicals and gizmos.
last month i spent time visiting my father in massachusetts and spent a lot of time in the woods, which i loved. on the return trip i found a deer tick embedded in my leg. i’m still waiting to find out if i have lyme disease or not.
tonight, just after sunset i was looking at the sky and hills across a football field cut into the woods. the humidity began to increase, and i heard a high-pitched, rustling, patter coming toward me from the trees to the west. it was beautiful and i couldn’t figure out what it was.
a moment later i felt rain drops and realized i was hearing the rain coming toward me.
i walked under a tree for cover, saw a rail thin cat scrounging around for food, and was suddenly harassed by a squadron of mosquitoes. i headed indoors.
sitting with the artist we talked about how toxic to the environment concrete is, and how we’ve used it extensively.
i wondered if our aboriginal ancestors (we all have aboriginal ancestors) experienced nature as violent, chaotic, dangerous and agonizing. it occurred to me that if they had, then the recent environmental onslaught that we call industrialized society seems to be a sort embodiment and monument to what i imagine as our ancestor’s wish for control and violence against that great uncontrollable and dominant force that sustained, tormented, toyed with, and killed them. an entire epoch in human development that could be characterized as the ‘fuck you, nature!’ phase.
having temporarily isolated ourselves from much of the chaos and difficulty of living (as opposed to vacationing) close to nature the view through our assorted windows looks pretty and maybe even more healthy and comfortable that our rooms, studios, and offices.
like a lot things we’ve distanced ourselves from we’ve romanticized it.
our built environment may even be causing us more harm, confusion and misery than that view of a tree with a squirrel in it ever could. maybe we’ve gone too far away from nature and should live closer to the earth. why not?
except that our garbage and chemicals seem to be buried everywhere, and like much of our technology the essential stuff (in this case the most nasty and toxic materials and processes) is active but often undetectable except to some select experts.
the causes and effects of our actions are on a global scale and the causes and effects are highly dispersed across space and time, and as i’ve been writing about, our ability to sense relationships and coordinations of distant events is poor to begin with. we’ve set a trap for ourselves.
one could even argue that as our technology caused us to spread further apart we began to require our technology and other intellectual constructions to keep us ‘together’. by privileging the intellectually constructed we find ourselves increasingly clumsy in regard to our instincts. perhaps our instincts, seemingly constant for at least thousands of years, provided a sort of check and balance system for our relationship with the earth. perhaps lately we’ve been blindly building (or digging) ourselves into a toxic hole of our own design.
it seems that many hazardous chemicals that we’ve put down are leached out of the earth by plants that look, feel and taste good to us.
our forays into ‘anti’ biotics may have set the stage for highly virulent, uncontrollable bacteria and viruses.
fresh water crisis?
hmmm. nice moves, nature.