“What we lack, and what alone can help us to understand this new age, are new concepts and a revision
of the originally metaphysical concepts and central categories of philosophy we already possess.”
-A. Avanessian, Future Metaphysics. Cambridge UK, 2020. p.25



Although it is not yet spring a warm wind whispers, be green again. A few plants stand
and bow as if sensing a god soon to be born in their roots. Upstream the river is wider,
but tamer. I wade into the shallows, where the water’s voices are flopping in my throat
like beached fish frantic to keep breathing.


Vulcanists don’t take a mountain’s solidity for granted but imagine it blasting through
the planet’s mantle, “to make a point about causation.”
(1) While geologists are digging,
chipping, sorting through horizons of rock, the planet is vibrating on a frequency
between being Earth or nothing at all. As I pondered this a mosquito buzzed in my ear:
Now you have entered the Critical Zone…then bit me.


When my fingers are splayed across her gray density Old Stony Face and I don’t speak,
but listen to each other.
What do geologists hear while hammering through horizons of
rock? For artists, philosophers and scientists the question is: How will we tell our story?”
An inclusive "our" is what's most important.


In 1987 the distinguished biologist Lynn Margulis wrote: “The history of human beings
is a mere moment compared with what went before—the first modern human remains,
those of Homo sapiens sapiens, appear in the fossil record of only about 35,000 years
Is humanity's knowledge advancing so fast that Margulis’ estimate fell short?
Or have the cladograms been parsed too fine?
The next step would be clambering up a path leading into a field of old dualities:
yin/yang, sacred/profane, his/her, melting like ice into “a new concept of matter,
both affective and autopoietic, or self-organizing.”


As the sky brightens, the air is slowly warming. I pull my hood back and walk
deeper into the mountains. How can a mountain be scaled when each stone
has its own place? If kicked to another place, does Gaia’s relationship to the
universe change?


In Japan, Matsuo Basho told his students: “If you want to write a poem about
bamboo, first you must become bamboo.” “We are woven together, entwined
in each other’s fates.”
In China, Wu Tao-tzu painted “a glorious landscape,
with mountains, forests, clouds, birds, men, all things / as if in nature.”(5)
In Paris, darkness began seeping into Alberto Giacometti’s paintings, into h
subjects, and into himself, a darkness is into which we are all disappearing.


From initial causes that enlightened minds of the European Middle Ages,
knowledge and belief continued to rub against each other, flaring up and
burning through what for scientists is “developmentally progressive. But
developmentally progressive towards what?”


A paleoarchaeologist would ask: “What do these paintings on the walls
of caves mean?” Those artists would have had a concept of meaning,
essentially different from what we think of as meaningful today, when
meaning and value coexist.
Perhaps Paleolithic Art is akin to being "not a picture but an event,"(7)
foreseeing when art would be “evolving so rapidly in sync with the
surrounding world,”
(8) that its meaning has become kaleidoscopic.


Before dawn, not a coyote’s howl but human chatter breaks through. A flashlight
bounces up the trail… a figure appears. “Is this the summit?" Just for a moment
the physicist thought he could calculate the reason the universe was rushing
away from him at the speed of light.


Burn scars, debris flows, atmospheric rivers have joined a growing lexicon of
natural-disaster terminology. But whose conversation is this? Branches brush
my fingers like the strings of a guitar waiting for a new song to sing.


At a 2019 meeting, the Anthropocene Working Group voted that “the primary guide
for the base of the Anthropocene be one of the stratigraphic signals around the mid-
twentieth century of the Common Era.”
This was also when Allan Ginsberg “read Howl and started an epoch.”
An epoch
can’t be defined solely on geologic evidence. It must also consider cultural artifacts.


During the Upper Paleolithic hominid creativity responded to changing conditions
of the planet, such as the Laschamp ge magnetic event that reversed its magnetic
fields, causing another mass extinction of life.
Will the “new climate regime”drive
artists underground again, and out of reach of the market’s magnetic attraction?


A long time ago this rock's face was born hot and complete. Marked now
with graffiti, whose messages seem pointless, I remember that the oracle
at Delphi spoke only in riddles.


Approaching the Wall of Gods, its faces crumble like a mind gripped by its
own solitude. Thus, I and my ancestors leap over the same synaptic gaps


Predictions are like sinking into melting permafrost and sloshing around on what
was once firm ecological ground. Thawing limestone coughs up hydrocarbons,
gas, hydrates, awakening viruses from their cold pandemical dreams. Everything
flows, and if you linger too long predictions turn into eddies, whirlpools, shifting
currents, and an outdated undertow that draws you back in.


Crossing the river, not falling but wading in, shoes dangling around neck. What is
philosophy but thinking in depth? Like societies, we drown only when the weight
of an obsolete god is dragging us down.


The high steps of rocks are difficult on knees working to raise me to where tall
plants are waving. Is it the wind? There is no wind. We make an appearance in
this world. but what does appearance mean?


A fawn sees me, turns and bounds away. This is the distance that self-consciousness
opened between us. In a world that consists of feedback loops and recursive adaptive
systems, climbing to where “the mountains flow faintly like smoke,”
(11) every thought
becomes a mind of its own.


Only in retrospect can we say, “These were the forces at play.” Subject to context,
which is subject to time, rocks grow slowly, while mountains suddenly spring up.


Was this universe conceived from quanta streaming from a former universe?
Particles are eternal in their nonexistence. Where cosmology morphs into a
story of creation, There’s nothing new under the sun includes the sun itself.


He could swear the rock had altered its angle and he fell to where Gaia greeted him
as one of her own. Sprawled on drought-hardened ground, knees bleeding, I stood
and continued to climb. “You ask me who I am. If you wish to know, you must seek
me in the clouds.”



1. D. Edmonds & Eidinow J., Wittgenstein’s Poker. New York, 2001. p.18
2. L. Margulis, “Early Life: The Microbes Have Priority.” In, W.I. Thompson, ed. Gaia: A Way of Knowing. Great Barrington, MA, 1987. p.99. Scientists may argue as to exactly what constitutes a species, or subspecies, and that Homo sapiens sapiens "are us," as opposed to just Homo sapiens. However, we are learning that a species is more inclusive than just us, and Homo sapiens is becoming the more commonly accepted term.
3. T. Ingold, “Posthuman Prehistory.” Nature and Culture. Vol.16, No.1, Spring 2021. p.86.
4. R. Braidotti, The Posthuman. Cambridge UK. p.158.
5. J. Weishaus. From, “Feeling for Stones.”
6. J. Bernstein, “The Borderland Patient: Reintroducing Nature as the Missing Dimension in Clinical Treatment. What I’ve Learned From Navajo Medicine Men.” In, P. Bennett, ed., Montreal 2010 - Facing Multiplicity: Psyche, Nature, Culture: Proceedings of the 18th Congress of the International Association for Analytical Psychology. Einsiedeln, 2015.
7. “The Art Story”
8. T. Lykkeberg, “Extemporary Art.” Nordic Art Review, June 6, 2020.
10. K. Rexroth, American Poetry in the Twentieth Century. New York, 1973. p.141. The reading took place on October 13, 1955 at San Francisco’s Six Gallery.The other poets who read that night were Michael McClure, Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Philip Lamantia.
11. K. Miyazawa. From, “Spring.” In, Spring & Asura: Poems of Kenji Miyazawa. B. Watson, trans. Chicago, 1973.
12. Keesh-ke-mun. Crane Clan Hereditary Chief of the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa. Quoted in, G. Vizenor, Interior Landscapes. Minneapolis, 1990. p.5