The habits of habitat. Also, a poem

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my house, wondering if this could be her natural habitat

I said I would write about human habitat and I will. In building a house and in placing it in different types of settings, a static room in a changing environment, I have gone further than before in exploring the relationship between human and habitat.

I could rant about this endlessly, about how we still see nature as something outside our bodies, something put here for our sake, and not as what we are.

About how we think we can build ourselves away from the water we drink and the air that we breathe.

About how we want to save trees, but not the earthworm, fungi, bacteria, and beetle that make it possible for trees to exist.

About how we ruin the places we could have lived with little effort in order to make habitable the places of the planet less suited for our hairless, soft bodies, even willing to wipe out everything in order to find a new planet to ruin, thinking that space travel is a magical thing that doesn’t use earth’s resources instead of the ultimate consumerist fantasy.

But I’m tired of the sound of words, so I’ll condense it all in a jolly little poem. I call it:

De Naturae (from nature)

I thought that we made this abundantly clear

your new promised land doesn’t want you here

If the ground is covered with nettles that stings

it’s because it was made for the things that have wings

For the fur and the claw and the shimmering scale

the long curving tooth and the short stubby tail

If the sun is too sharp and the insects all bite

it’s a place for the things that will come out at night

If the rain is too cold and the wind blows right through

it was meant for the ones with skin tougher than you

If you need to make houses of concrete and steel

come here fiddlemonkey, I’ll make you a deal

Human, go back to your Eden and rest

leave the bear to her den and the bird to his nest

And if overcrowding should bring you distress

then limit your numbers, make yourself less

And should your creator with this not agree

Then tell the old bugger to piss off from me

 

We need to talk about water, again

I have posted bits about water before, about the relation to rain, about the way and the road, but there is also the everyday need for and constant search for water.

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and we’re searching…

 

Recently, social media has been picking up an article from last summer from the guardian about plastic bottles.

The article and the response circles around the need to recycle the bottles, or call to companies to use recycled plastic in their bottles. The reporter also blames the want for a ‘western lifestyle’ for the bottled water consumption in countries like China.  This is both arrogant and helps hide the real problem.

The real problem is that practically all fresh water sources are being held hostage by governments or companies. When outside the system, you see this clearly, but seldom have a voice to point it out.

To get access to water, you need to buy your way into the system, one way or the other.  You need a house, or similar, either hooked up to a pipe system, or with large enough tanks to find and store water yourself. This water you either need to buy, indirectly by being at a caravan site or boat dock, or clean and filter yourself, something that also requires time, space and money. Or, of course, steal and risk being pushed even further away from the government-stolen necessities.

For now, I have the option of checking in to campsites now and then and fill the water tanks with safe, clean water, but not all do. Also, not all have a house or a car or anywhere to store water for longer periods of time.  Some gas stations will let you fill your tanks, but you need to get to them somehow. And means to transport the water. And water is bloody heavy.

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When poor and stuck in urban life, as a lot of people are, bottle water, expensive, polluting, and often not particularly good, is your only choice. Restaurants will leave bowls of water out for dogs, but not for poor people. Finding fresh water in a city can be a desperate search, and while food can be foraged in dumpsters, clean water can’t.

The fact that it has even gotten to this is the real tragedy and the real problem. And it won’t go away even if every single plastic bottle is recycled and reused. They should not exist in the first place.

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The road is not the road

Look very carefully. This is a road.

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To move along it, on water or land, is to travel. Following the paths animals make through the woods, is to follow a road, for they know where they are going.

Humans, as a rule, don’t.

I have said it before and I will again, a highway is not a road. All roads that are roads are in some way linked to water. Either by the movement of water or by paths animals make to find water, it follows underground sources and roots of trees, carrying water. Sometimes humans alter the course of water, creating floods or droughts. And highways were invented to carry soldiers and weapons to invade your neighbor. They are not anything close to a road merely tools for human destruction.

I have no illustrative pictures of highways, because when I land on one, I’m quite enough busy with finding my way off again.

This past week I’ve been driving for longer stretches than usual. One drawback of having a car-towed house is that you’re confined to mostly false roads made for cars, and they are only built for transporting things and humans from place to place, and therefore extremely uncomfortable, with no time to think, or to look or to consider where you’re going. I’ve kept to county lanes, when possible, but even here it’s too easy to take one wrong turn and then be caught on a lane with no turning back.

The lane of no turning back is a narrative I understand that people like to use as a metaphor for life choices. This is, of course, a construct and has nothing at all to do with real roads, or real lives. There are no straight roads, and if there are, they’re human inventions. And there are no straight stories, no inherent cause and effect. And always another way.

Treading the space between

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In earlier years, I traveled the world as one does, as a body moving through space and time. It’s easy, and encouraged in western soliptic society, to see travel just like this, a comet, isolated, moving through the world. But you don’t and you’re not. You move energy.

Now that I have a whole house, a microcosmos, I move around quite a lot of things I had never foreseen.

There’s the physical movement of things, the car and the trailer, the energy needed and the roads needed.

And there are the materials, outside and in, things that I have found, changed, shifted on the way. Windowpanes from one place, a bench made of driftwood here, a horseshoe from a farm there, a piece of amber found on a beach. I take things and, rather than shift them from one place to another, move them about. This does something, but I’m not sure what.

But then there is the movement of thoughts, and of wonder. I bring with me a sense of ‘what on earth is that’. People wonder what the house is, and how, and why. And this is something I’m starting to physically feel the presence of. And I think this was something I had in mind all along and part of the whole point of this piece of enclosed air and dream.

An object placed somewhere might evoke wonder at first, and then gradually be defined by its surroundings. But my house is a shape-shifter. It is not one place, one thing. It changes form, appearance and purpose from place to place and time of day. For me , of course, it stays the same, for I know it’s soul. But it will never be one thing, and nor will I.

Winter crossing

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These past weeks I have been moving la Chouette out of the country. I’m still in Scandinavia, it’s still winter. And the best way to move, is by boat.

I have always had a love for the sea and I was a bit worried that building and living in a house on wheels would make me too land-bound. But using ferries to get across borders has so far been surprisingly easy. Of course, I can’t live in the house during transit. But I can park it near the ocean when I reach my destination.

During moving and living more actively on the road I have also discovered quite a few repairs and adjustments I need to make. So now I’ll try to find somewhere slightly secluded, preferably near the sea, where i can work on my house, preparing it for further adventures.

I also notice more than before the dual pull of comfort and push of the road. Having found somewhere I’m comfy I find myself both longing to move on after a short while, felling that I’m done with that place for now, and a desire to stay inside my newfound comfortsone. Having the possibility to leave and live somewhere else on very short notice has brought this internal conflict into the light. I suppose the friction of these kind of conflicts are what keeps life truly interesting. Never do I wish to be without any doubt. I think. Possibly.

Tiny resolutions

According to Simone De Beauvoir, Human freedom can be expressed only in concrete projects, not in the abstract. Freedom “requires the realization of concrete ends, of particular projects’. She does, however, presume that the shaping of those projects are practically  pure and free from influence.

During 2017, I made my dreams pretty concrete. And in doing so I became aware of the constant attacks on freedom and will by seemingly harmless but utterly irrelevant questions. Like ‘Can you make money out of that?’,’Does the roof still have a leak?’,’Is it safe?’ etc.

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Well, is it?

In posing a question, you demand an answer, and you create a structure in the brain of the person you pose the question to by making them create sides and choose one. And the answer will always result in a verdict, which will result in an emotional response, further deepening the structure.

A question will always represent a certain measure of success. And your answer determine the degree of this. And in relating an action or a life according to certain lines of judgement, you nudge those dreams that are questioned in the direction of the themes represented in the question. People usually never as each other  ‘Are you happy?'(without the wildly passive-aggressive underlying statement ‘as long as it makes you happy) or ‘Is this what you wanted to say?’ or ‘Do you feel free?’

The kind of freedom that matters the most to me is freedom of movement. To get up and leave, to listen to my senses and have the room to act on what they tell me, to rest when I wish and to run when I want, not necessarily to strange and exotic places, but simply to move like my body needs and wants, and not have my motions decided or limited by laws, morals or architecture.

So for the new year, I will rid myself further of the rigid measurements of the dreams we are presented and I will continue to make the world a larger and stranger place. I will dream between the lines.

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Also hunt windmills. On, Rocinante!