Still a ring of water, a mirror for the sky amidst the ice, but more and more melts each day now and shadows have the sun to thank for shedding its grey veil. A shadow now has its rock.
In reading W.S. Merwin’s “The Widow” from The Lice, the first lesson is humility.
How easily the ripe grain
Leaves the husk
At the simple turning of the planet
There is no season
That requires us
From the Latin through Old French to English, to be humble; ultimately the word sprouts from humus, the ground. Think of Achilles brought to ground as he mourns for the death of Patroclus, as he tries to cover himself with dirt, to bury himself. A moment of deep grief and mourning. Consider how a cry, how terrible pain appears in Timothy Morton’s turning toward nature without a human eye in the center in “Why Ambient Poetics? Outline For A Depthless Ecology.”
What state of consciousness is appropriate to an age of global warming–apart from just a cry of terrible pain? (Which wouldn’t be a bad reaction …) Is there a poetics that might help point out this state of consciousness? I believe that there is, and have called it ambience. Ambience is a poetic enactment of a state of nondual awareness that collapses the subject-object division, upon which depends the aggressive territorialization that precipitates ecological destruction. Furthermore, this collapse of subject-object dualism, however temporary in experience, spontaneously gives rise to howsoever weak a sense of warmth towards one’s world, in which one is included. This world, to say more, is a world without center or edge that includes everything.
Past the binary, past either/or; dismissing us and them, this is mine and this is mine; walking further than Emerson through his puddle, walking further than the farm and the woods surrounding; ignoring what is to stay inside, what is to remain outside. The lesson appears again in Merwin’s poem.
In images in things that can be
Represented which is their dimensions you
Require them you say This
Is real and you do not fall down and moan
Not seeing the irony in the air
Everything that does not need you is real
Here we are in the world of Deep Ecology. Think of juniper berries and pine needles without us; think of the red deer in the grass by the lake without us. From Rachel Carson tracing links between all life in the biosphere to tracking down poisons as they move through soil and plants into birds. From Arne Næss‘ critique of “shallow” ecology only thinking of how to farm, how to mine to a “deep” thinking which is holistic, which appreciates biodiversity as key to any species’ survival. Timothy Morton and Graham Harman posit in Object-Oriented-Ontology a walk past a central human figure casting and creating the world for its own definitions and needs and into a world where a hammer or pair of shoes distance themselves from each other and from us, and in so doing set themselves equal to our own reflections on noumena and phenomena, meaning what is the thing in itself and what is what we perceive exist throughout existence, meaning we share with hammers and old work boots and red deer the same relation we thought was unique to human consciousness. Translation occurs throughout all beings, all state of being. If we all (all as each thing that exists) must translate with each other, then we all share in shaping how we exists, all on equal and unsure footing. Merwin’s poem, “The Widow” concludes,
The Widow does not
Hear you and your cry is numberless
This is the waking landscape
Dream after dream after dream walking away through it
Invisible invisible invisible