my stab at naturalist writing.

So some of y'all know I was gone backpacking for awhile there. It was good stuff.
Since I don't have anything else to share, and I don't feel like complaining about politics, i'll just transcribe something from that time. There's some other entries, but i don't know if anybody digs this stuff.
This is from Day 2. (ahem...)

Around 1:30 I reached Bruce Caves. Gnawed out of the Escarpment, the cave's ceiling is thirty feet above me. Layers of sediment have been flaking off for millenia now, converting the dimensions of rock to graceful curves. A bit of cryptic graffiti catches my eye: it proclaims '100 years' of something or other, with the date 1994, and arrows pointing to the right. Beside it are the faint yellow marks of earlier graffiti. I'm wondering if this graffiti, illegible now, was created in 1894. Such a thing would be dangerous, wouldn't it? If tourists start flocking here to read the graffiti, instead of just to create it? Why, it might create a self-sustaining spectacle, people building something for the sake of leaving part of themselves behind... something about matter and antimatter combining to blow a hole in universe... i dunno, I saw it on Star Trek. (here's another thing about Star Trek: why didn't they spend more time as tourists, caught in open-mouthed contemplation instead of just striding purposefully through bare hallways? They were all company men to the bitter end.) Letting graffiti speak might give us the wrong idea about our location in history. Textbooks are fuel for campfires. Suddenly names hearts and dates abound, written in the dirt, on the underside of leaves. The biggest lie of them all is that of the blank wall.
Back to the cave. Off the approximate centre, a pillar of rock stands, holding up the edifice. When I gaze passively, every assymmetrical curve suggests a cathedral. When I focus my eyes and follow its lines, it becomes the ecstatic etching of a gifted schizophrenic. There are no symmetries to coax the human mind into understanding. You look and you look and as soon as you look away the memory of it escapes you. I mentioned a cathedral. Scratch that, I begin to think that the cathedral was conceived in reference to the cave. It's a pity that the human mind can only fathom, much less visualize, an architecture that is symmetrical and two-dimensional. The best minds of the middle ages thought of a cave and created Baroque.
I'm already bitter at having to leave this place. I've stood shock-still, tracing and retracing the curvature. Occasionally I turn my glance to the royal curtains outside, the flat sight of lush forest. But I won't photograph this. A vow has been made. Cameras are too sly by far, tricking their meat companions into gazing into the photograph and remembering only the photograph itself. The periphery assaulted by a strict symmetrical frame, sharp as a schoolmarm's yardstick. The cave is perfectly proportioned as it is. A straight line will ruin it.
There's a reason a didn't bring a camera. When I went back to read journals I had made of childhood vacations, I was horrified to find that I had made a short catalogue of places seen, followed by arbitrary descriptions ('the water was very clear'), with each day's meals described right down to the flavour of ice cream. In an envelope pasted to the last page are the photographs. It's to my credit that even then I was avoiding the 'family pose' shot: us lined up in front of aquariums, fighter jets, blank blue sky with just the suggestion in the background of a breathtaking view. Lined up and smiling like a particularly pleasant family mugshot. So. The two rules are: 1. no snacking when there is pure existence to interface with. (I later made an exception, brewing coffee on the ledge of a cliff. There were fewer bugs there.) 2. No photographs. Either remember it or forget it by the strength of your faculties. You can't take it with you, but you can come back for more when you need it.
Sighing, I start my descent into cheerful birdcalls, holding my head silent and steady, holding the words in so I can write them down before I forget their taste.

America is talking about early withdrawal from Iraq! Is it because their Shi'ite puppet government is suddenly cozy with Iran?! Would America withdraw and let the government collapse (with their military bases intact, natch)? What do you think think the White House would rather see, now that their free market paradise has evaporated? A second Iran, or a Somalian hell-on-earth? Stay tooned!!!


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