FOR SALE. RE/MAX ULTIMATE.

I halt before the mouth of the ravine, where the cul-de-sac serves as the portal to the other world.

I launch off the sun warmed pavement and onto the damp organic debris. My shoe crunches the vegetation underfoot. Here, mankind fades and Wild Nature engulfs me.

Among the trees and tall brush stands a plastic sign.

I’ve never seen it here before. It reads: FOR SALE. RE/MAX ULTIMATE. CALL.

I contemplate yanking the sign up and tossing it, but I ignore the urge.

I’ve come with another purpose.

I keep moving into the ravine. I pray that any development here faces disruption, either by my hand or Nature’s Providence.

A house will be built here, filled to the brim with all the marketable amenities that no one really needs.

It will swallow the grass and the flowers, the trees will be reduced to flooring, the earth will be deformed.

Deer and squirrels that already call this place home will be displaced. They will be refugees.

17 million vacant houses litter the country.

“Let them build their houses out of rock, for chrissake, or out of mud and sticks like the Papagos do. Out of bricks or cinder blocks. Out of packing crates and Karo cans like my friends in Dak Tho. Let them build houses that will last a while, say for a hundred years, like my great-grand pappy’s cabin back in Pennsylvania. Then we don’t have to strip the forests,” Hayduke once said.

What is this growth and progress bullshit when it is in reality the greatest barbarism?

We need a counter-industrial revolution. We must resist this plantery work-death machine.

All these thoughts fill my mind as I kneel ahead of a tree. I speak silently to myself as I use a can of green spray paint to write a demand: Do Not Build Here. - FC.

There is no catharsis, my anger continues to boil. This action, this demand, this act, means nothing. My mind still swirls with thoughts of tortured animal souls and unheard cries of greenery.

Does Humanity deserve salvation? G-d flooded the world before and prepares to do so again. “So God said to Noah, ‘I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them.’”

I drop the can and walk away.

A tree is knocked over but caught by its bark-peer. I duck under it and keep walking as I reach the curve of a hill, lowering myself further and moving down the hill with a level of composure, careful not to get caught up on a root or slip. As I near the bottom, I hear a small creek running.

Freyr came to Earth.

While the ground has largely dried up, the creek has become an ocean. I look over the edge and into the flowing clear water. I see my distorted reflection, and that of the canopy above me.

Before mirrors, water was the only method to appreciate our own image. If it was enough for Narcissus, it is enough for anyone.

After a while, I take note that it is midday, with how Sol and the trees interplay to make the shadows. Late May, there is intense heat, though under the green canopy, I feel cool. Even without them, being lower in the ravine helps. Sometimes, during early Spring, I notice the creek is frozen in spots and I can stand on it with confidence. Another reality. Things are different here, not even a quarter mile from home. Things feel much more alive. The inhuman seems much more comprehensible. You can walk in certain places and feel your hair stand on end, as if you are being watched. Not by people, but by things beyond. Spirits are as common, as tangible, as the grass under your feet or the annoying fly in your face. People in the distant past understood this phenomena as spiritualism, what some call Animism; where there is no duality of spirit and us. I lay against a tree, an oak tree. My eyes closed, I felt a union between us. My head and hair mangle with the bark and moss.

There is a not so distant sound and I open my eyes and look up. Above me is a squirrel running around the branches. I assume she makes her home here and I wonder what her history is. Was she born and raised in this ravine, or some other place? A tree in someone’s backyard miles from here? The wonder of Nature and Wildness is its endless possibilities, the chaos of it all. There is no domestication of species or knowledge. This is what some call Anarchy. Some contemporary thinkers look back on the thought of those such as Thoreau as proto-Anarchist, whose reflection on nature encompassed the same ethics as those of Anarchists.

Thoreau said:

In short, all good things are wild and free [...] I rejoice that horses and steers have to be broken before they can be made the slaves of men, and that men themselves have some wild oats still left to sow before they become submissive members of society. Undoubtedly, all men are not equally fit subjects for civilization; and because the majority, like dogs and sheep, are tame by inherited disposition, this is no reason why the others should have their natures broken that they may be reduced to the same level (Walking).

Hoping to not disturb the squirrel in her home, I stand and walk away. Before getting far, I slip off my shoes and socks and feel the damp mud and leaves between my toes and extend my arms out and let the rays of sun baptize me.

Eco-catharsis is not found in cities, in modernity. There, everything is imprisoned. G-d is kept in the temple and humanity at the labor camps, also known as “place of employment.” Wages are another set of chains. Barbatity is not the jungle or desert, but the modern places that enslaves us, those traps of walls and guns, of alien and lifeless machines.

Progress.

I walk for minutes, but what seems like hours. Here, time is different, the flow of reality not determined by clocks and alarms. I, like many others, are tamed by clocks. At work, you count down the time until the shift ends and you go on an extended break until you clock in again. At school, I could almost guess down to a few seconds when the bell would ring and class would end. It was a curse, having the sound of the clicking clock in your subconscious. But out here, my “clock” is the sun, and the “alarm” is when one sound is replaced by another, when the song birds hang up their music sheets and the owl sings his lullaby to the bees.

The Greeks spoke of this time, the Golden Age, followed by a general decay of morality and human culture in later Ages. (1) These Ages are defined by the relationship between humanity and the divine. The Golden Age was understood to be a time in which we directly mingled with the Gods, under the rule of the Titans. It ended with Prometheus awakening us from so-called primitive ignorance and the overthrow of Titans by Olympus. We lived in a mythical place of Arcadia, the land of primitive life. The later ages are characterized by a growing alienation between us and the Gods and the divine experience. Perhaps Arcadia is much like the Garden of Eden, both a place and a state of being. Is the Abrahamic Fall, Hesiod’s Bronze Age, telling us something about our past?

These are thoughts I have as I wander the ravine.

I cannot help but think about them.
My thoughts can be tortuous.
Every single day, my world is razed.
Replaced by the artifice.

I plunge my feet into the cool creek. I connect with the flowing water and the rocks that lay beneath. I sit in it before rubbing the water over my shoulders and feel the coolness drip down my warm skin. My second baptism of the day. Once in divine light, once in holy water. There’s no fish here, but there are worms and water striders. Some move past me, others inspect me as a guest, not a stranger. I consider how finite their lives are compared to me, but how finite I am to the creeks’ rocks. Born from stardust, we return as earth dust. I sat on the side of the creek for a while, and the sun moved, marking my time here. Just across from me, three deer enter the creek and drink up. I could reach out and touch them, but I let them be. In the back of my mind, I consider the fact that deer don’t need us, but we need them.

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