Let the river run

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Ok, perhaps more of a brook, but you get the point.

A river without a riverbank is not a river

but neither is a river a river if it doesn’t run.

 

Today I had a small insect bite under my left eye and I spent an hour or so being certain it would be the death of me.

Not because this was very likely, but because I was indoors. Outside, I would hardly notice

I don’t mean outside like out in the yard, but on the road, in the real.

The world inside walls is not real, because it is not connected. It’s not connected because nothing will recycle your body when you die. Well, eventually, but it will take an unnatural amount of time. There is no way to trust your instincts when you’re cut off from the cycle of life and death, it’s like having your whiskers cut off, I have no sense of proportions, indoors.

These days, a lot of people are spending a lot more time indoors than usually, because of restrictions put on very large populations in order to try to control an outbreak of an infectious disease.

I had already planned a time of seclusion to work on my book of hours, and I’m honestly not sure what I would do if I was on the road when the restrictions came into place.

I do know that the lockdown we’re experiencing globally now shows a great flaw in the system of borders and countries. A world that consists only of owned land and borders, with no or few vast spaces between, is suffocating. And it shows when there is no place to run. There are, for now, and for a few, places to hide. But only for the privileged, and you can’t hide for ever. 

What is happening now show the need for human dwellings to be the exception, not the norm, of the face of the earth. There needs to be places to go, and to avoid human contact without locking yourself indoors or facing an outside with no food, no water and no functioning life.

For a very long time, human life has not been allowed to breathe, for it has been denied to know death.

Life and death are never enemies, it merely seems so because humans have been trading the life of everything around them in order to prolong their own form. Not merely to sustain it, but to keep clinging to it far beyond any reason. But life is not the temporary form of the individual.

Life does not happen after death, but in death, as death happens in life, at every moment, and at once.

Life is a song.

A song starts and ends. It has a form, but you cannot take one note and say that this is the truth of the song. A song must change, but it changes after a pattern. It is a temporary harmonious meeting of a myriad of notes, of cells and microbes, and tiny organisms in and around you, the heartbeat and the lyrics.

There is a lot of high talk about ‘winning’ over diseases of all kinds, and of beating it at all costs. But it’s presented as if there is a government who pay the price and it isn’t, it’s nature.

Whenever the question of the cost of a life arises, it’s only ever talked about monetary costs, never about actual costs. Nowhere do you see an account of how many rivers are dried up, swamps drained, moors burned or forests chopped down to build hospitals, pharmaceutical factories or windmills for electricity for life-prolonging machines.  

This is not a question of attacking the weak and the ill, not a question of survival of the more adapted, but of humans accepting their mortality.

Everything living already have a life, it’s never a question of fighting for a life, it’s a question of prolonging what is already there.

Death is not the enemy of life, but the beginning and the end of it. it is a very long stretch from maintaining a life to destroying everything in your wake to expand it. To survive at any cost at some point stops being brave and becomes greedy. 

I certainly don’t want to die, and I’ll gladly feed on other life. But I hardly think it’s worth destroying entire ecosystems simply to prolong my existence a bit.

Otherwise, after all, you’ll have nowhere to go after you die. Nothing for your biomass or soul to be reabsorbed in.

So when I get panic attacks and anxiety from minor things indoors, it’s being disconnected I fear, death in the form of stagnation. The true death.

And that is something to be afraid of.

 

Tiny alienations

There’s a lot of really lovely people in the tiny house movement. There really is. I’m not one of them though. I’m not positive, mindful, cheerful, quirky, or whimsical. I’m not your manic-pixie-dream-outsider. I have an outlook on life and humanity slightly less bright than Peter Wessel Zapffe.  And while I do have a wide sense of humor, and I do laugh a lot, particularly when people fall over, I have a deep scepticism of people who smile All The Time and who always find something to be grateful about.

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Perhaps you do need to have an absurd amount of optimism to manage a project as all-consuming and impossible as building a small house is, especially in a world where individualism is widely encouraged provided you don’t really act on it.

Perhaps there is also a need to display a sort of harmless giddiness in order to seem less threatening, because there are still a lot of people deeply threatened by anyone who steps outside the order of things, and also to show these threatened ones full of schadenfreude that they are Doing alright with their unconventional choices and there’s Nothing To This Really and they’re certainly not on the verge of a financial, physical and mental breakdown.

Still, I find myself alienated by all this pointless joy, this manic serenity. There is something very excluding about all this friendliness.

Oh, and also the roof is still bloody leaking.