Thursday, December 28, 2006

End of Winter

To meet the family for Christmas I drove five hundred miles to south eastern Wisconsin and the town and home I grew up in. When I was a child we usually had a white Christmas, sledding, skating, a trip to the ski hill while school was out.

On Christmas Eve my older brother and I took a long walk through the town we grew up in. As we started down the hill to Lake Michigan a flock of geese flew over head. I said, “remember when we were young and geese would fly south for the winter.” And so it began. We walked the trail along the lake shore, the grass was green, the sky blue, the temperature was closing on fifty degrees. We turned away from the lake and up another hill to a large park. There was no warming house in the park. We tried to remember where the skating rink once sat but could not even find a depression in the green grass where we once learned how to balance on blades.

In my mid-twenties I moved to far northern Minnesota. I made the decision to live in the midst of the lakes and forest I paddled through each summer. Though it was the desire to canoe that brought me here, it was the winter and the cross country skiing through the same lakes and forest that has kept me here and whole.

It is the twenty eighth day of December. The lakes are frozen. There is one or two inches of snow on the ground. I have yet to ski this year. I haven’t even bothered to prep my skis.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Fire and Ice

Sunrise @ -51

My hovel is perched upon a naked outcrop of bedrock on the top of a ridge above a small lake. It was built in the early seventies by an energetic hippie who would later become quite a successful contractor. This was his first building, and as such suffers from quite a few flaws, one of which is insufficient insulation. Through the years I have addressed this where possible, tripling the thermal blanket in the roof, building out the walls, finishing a crawl space. The remaining thermal gaps are a major project requiring a cash infusion that my existence does not allow, so until I win the lotto or a heretofore unknown rich relative dies I make up for the gaps by burning wood.

In the course of building the hovel the energetic hippie fell in love with and married a local woman of Finnish descent. When they added plumbing and a bathroom it included a small (4X8 feet) wood-fired sauna. During spells of extreme cold (and it gets very cold in northern Minnesota) I fire the sauna in an attempt to slow the steady creep of cold from the edges of the hovel. If the temperature is well below zero the sauna is fired, once the rocks are heated all that is required to work a sweat is to close the door and wait ten minutes.

I’ve baked in saunas and cooled myself by a sudden plunge through a hole cut in the ice of a frozen lake. I’ve run steaming and naked to roll in snow and charge back to that welcoming cedar clad heat cave. These are extreme actions, not befitting the contemplative nature of the sauna. My preference, my ritual, my method for bridging that gap between fire and ice is much more measured. I lie on the topmost cedar bench, still and quiet in the dark, and listen to the pop of the stove. I let the sweat slowly build until I feel it streaming from my skin. Then I began to douse the rocks with water, the steam rising and then washing over me, a skin searing cloud. When I cannot bear it any longer I rise and push through the wall of heat in front of the door, shove my feet into slippers and stand on my deck and lean back and watch the steam rise from my flesh into the clear star spackled sky.

On one still night I stood naked upon my deck listening to the crack and pop of freezing trees and the groan of ice on the lake below the ridge. It was –40, with a full moon and a sky empty of clouds. My head was thrown back, the steam rising from my body obscured the black sky. As my body gave up its heat I caught sight of faint glints and gleams at the corners of my vision. I stared and watched as the sweat from my body fell from the sky transformed into a fine and scarcely perceptible dust of ice.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Primitive Man - the case of the missing pony

Among the cast of strange characters that populate this town at america’s edge.

I met Primitive Man (PM) while working construction during my off seasons. PM was not a regular on the crew but was brought in for remote jobs or on days that required extreme forms of human strength. PM is relatively short, but large and lean with tremendous pride in his strength and build. Despite working with him only during the winter months, any day with sun and temps above thirty meant that PM would be working without a shirt. His tolerance of temperature was even lower if there were females on the job site, his ability to withstand cold increasing with the attractiveness of the observers.

Fortunately it was a cold winter, and PM was normally fully clothed, the mating displays were kept to a minimum. PM moved to the area about seven years before I did. He bought a 40 acre chunk of land with lakeshore that was a bargain because it was a good mile and a half from the nearest road. The only easement to his land that he could pry from the Forest Service was a special use permit to maintain a mile and a half of trail from the road to his land. He moved to Axe after a few years of factory work in Chicago, from a large poor rural family, he lived in a dump while in the city, saved every penny and was able to pay for his land in cash. PM’s dream was to live off the land, a modern pioneer in the northern forest.

Though he had enough cash to buy his land he scarcely had enough to begin to build. For the most part he built his cabin from materials from his land and goods he scavenged from job sites and buildings that were torn down. Anything he scavenged had to be carried the long mile and a half to his home site. PM claimed to be able to live off under five hundred dollars per year, and I don’t doubt it. He worked when it was convenient for him, the rest of the time he fished and hunted, gathered wild rice, worked his garden and worked on his homestead. He was an opportunistic, driven and merciless scavenger. PM survived through a constant single-minded calculus of his needs and available resources. When attending pot lucks, parties, or community feeds PM would gorge himself silly with the hope that he could skip meals the next day and conserve his scarce resources. At the job site he would fill his carpenter’s apron with nails and screws near the end of the day and show up the next day with an empty apron. If he came across a fresh road-killed deer he would butcher it on the shoulder of the road in the beams of his head lights.

PM’s frontiersman swagger and oft displayed muscularity held a certain appeal for women. He was predatory but monogamous, after a brief period of courting he would convince the woman to move out to the woods with him. Each new conquest resulted in a burst of construction on his land as he would try and modify to homestead to accommodate the new woman, her offspring or her ideas on what frontier living should be. The first time PM had me out to his land I was stunned when I came over the last rise before the lake and discovered a virtual village of small cabins and sheds, a couple of ramshackle towers and a small house with walls plastered with mirrors. One of my coworkers was the subject of active pursuit by PM while he was between women, she went so far as to actually visit the village. In dismissing his suit she said: “All he can think or talk about is food, money, sex and his body.”

Which brings us to the pony.

Back in the day when PM’s village was just a rude cabin and a woodshed he began his first and longest northern relationship with Nancy, a tall and rugged woman who prior to meeting PM was engaged to a jazz saxophonist in Chicago. While Nancy was enthusiastic about frontier living she was not satisfied with the small dirt-floor cabin they called home, and PM’s first building boom commenced. Soon they were visiting construction and demolition sites throughout the area, piling the cast off pieces of buildings atop their cars and dragging them to the homestead. They became legend around town for bringing meager offerings to pot lucks and parties and leaving with backpacks stuffed with discarded food. Late that fall PM blew out his back trying to carry a chest freezer strapped to a backpack frame down the long rugged trail to his land. With a new cabin partially complete and piles of scavenged materials waiting to be pulled down the trail Nancy heard of a family looking for a home for Stormy, a somewhat elderly Shetland pony. She figured she’d solved the problem of transportation. Nancy contacted the family and convinced them to give Stormy to her and PM with the promise that the ex-owners could visit when they wanted. A sledge was rigged and Stormy was put to work dragging material to the homesite. Unfortunately Stormy did not take well to the labor camp and required grain and hay for what limited services he did provide. About this time Nancy took a job in town, and was not available for work at the homesite. PM felt that this was an unjust division of labor and told Nancy that she would have to pay him for half the hours he worked building since she was no longer contributing. This marked the end of Nancy and PM right about the time that the new cabin was complete.

That spring the ex-owners of Stormy walked out to PM’s homestead and asked to pay a visit. PM stared at them and when they insisted on seeing stormy he led them into the root cellar he’d carved from a gravel knoll. There in the dim light of the earth bound room he gestured at shelves burdened with dark mason jars, row after row, on each metal lid scrawled in marker one word; Stormy

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Home for the Holidays

Saying goodbye to "the house"

This is the homestead. My family’s gathering spot, museum, and warehouse for the last forty years. I moved into this Victorian mansion with my four brothers and sisters at the age of three. It has been “the house” since. My parents moved out in the late seventies, but my oldest sister has owned it since. This is where we gather each Christmas from out “adult” homes scattered across the country, we don’t all make it all the time, but some of us are always there. The presents beneath the huge tree in the parlor, the family seated in furniture older than any of us.

I was married in the parlor.

Next week when I grab my son and drive the 500 miles to “the house” it will be the last Christmas we celebrate here. Health and financial pressures have made it necessary for my sister to put “the house” up for sale and move to an apartment in a distant city to be close to family.

How to say goodbye to a house.

It’s not just any house. This behemoth was constructed in 1864 by a three term mayor of the city. It is listed on the national historical registry. There are three fireplaces within it’s walls, two carved from marble mined in Italy, one from fine-grained granite. The doors are oak with walnut inlays. The ceilings sculpted plaster hung with chandeliers that were originally designed for gas lights. It is grand, stately, quiet, and despite twenty years passed in my hovel in the woods I still say “I’m going home” when I embark on that long drive.

This holiday season when I climb the steps to the door the parlor will again hold a ten foot spruce decked with lights and baubles. The marble fireplaces will be graced with evergreens and gingerbread. The great carved door will swing with it’s barely perceptible groan. But the furniture will sport small pieces of tape, claims of ownership by the siblings. There will be boxes without gaudy paper, a dumpster waiting in the back. Forty five years of accumulated debris of a scattered family to be claimed, sifted and sorted.

This season of celebration will be a funeral, a wake; my family’s preparation to bury the past.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Personal Manifesto - life in the hovel

I escape up the trail, excused….I need to get a fire in the box. I must admit, I love it up here, love the quiet, the slant of the winter light, the blueness. The solitude… no one to watch my face. I can throw shit on the floor, let the dishes pile up and my desk hide the impossible state of my life beneath a slew of papers. To feel the raw heat of the wood stove, the cold edges of the insufficient walls.

I was once able to dream in here. To dream of a future and a past held together by an unfrayed strand of time. And it is no more. I’ve achieved a certain zen mastery of living in the present, I cannot contemplate tomorrow and yesterday is hard to recall.

So I drive out here, pour heat into the stove and try to figure out how to build a future from all the anxiety and uncertainty of the present.
I need a list of what to do and what to want. A list of my own, not to be reviewed at large


Be in the woods.
I moved up here to be in the woods and for the most part this has been absent from my life for the last three years. Trips, day trips, skiing etc. Life must accommodate this.

Live in the woods.
No sense in living in the city and dealing with the annoyances of Northern Minnesota.

Make love often.
Relationships have hassles, but making love is about as good as it gets. Often and excellent.

Make a living.
I don’t want to be obsessed with things, but it would be nice to get away from the daily worries concerning money.

Friday, December 8, 2006


Two afternoons ago as I was loading wood for the coming sub-zero night my task was interrupted by the approach of a siren along the narrow twisted road that leads to town. This is a rare thing. In my sixteen years of life at this address I only remember two or three sirens splitting the quiet, and on one occasion I had summoned it. Later that night I heard that two men, locals, had gone through the ice on snowmobiles. That one had been able to crawl from the water, the other could not be reached. He was still alive when the rescue crew arrived, but slipped under before they could pull him from the dark water in the midst of a vast plane of white.

Most of the lakes have been locked in ice for a few weeks. Night time temperatures have consistently been near zero degrees. But the lake they were traveling on is large and deep, always one of the last to freeze. How could they have not known?

Last night I confronted my partner with my knowledge of her indiscretion. Too ashamed to admit that I had hacked into the log of her cell phone calls, I simply stated that I knew, would not divulge the source of my knowledge. We engaged in a long phone fight, like many in the history of our relationship, a dialectic of individual failings, a history of unforgiven transgressions. When all was said and done, the last angry hang-up past I could not sleep. I read late into the night until finally turning off my light at 2:30 in the morning. As I lay waiting for sleep I heard a car with a broken muffler climbing the steep hill before my drive, the engine got louder and I thought I saw a wash of light across my ceiling and then two blasts from a shotgun bringing me wide awake.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

On Coffee

I am in love with coffee.

Just coffee. Don’t doll it up with sugar or dairy or soy or any of the myriad additions that can push your caffeine toll above the five-dollar mark.

I want it hot. I want it straight. I want it strong.

My morning starts with the roar of a burr grinder followed by an interminable wait while my stove makes the water hot enough to push through the sacred grounds encased in my moka pot. And then the glorious, aromatic bubble and chug that marks the completion of the process. This is followed by the pour of dark liquor, the carry of the sacred mug to its perch on my desk. I take a seat, take a sip and sigh with the wonder of it all.

I am a coffee snob.

Starbucks doesn’t get a second glance. Caribou will do in a pinch. You have a better chance of a great cup at an independent, though you also run the risk of something truly awful. When I travel I bring my moka pot with me along with a camp stove, freshly ground beans in an odor proof air-tight container and a jug of fresh water. If I need a fix I can set up my works in any parking lot and in a few minutes be rewarded with my private immaculate brew. Good coffee shops do offer the elixir that cannot be achieved at home, that deep and wondrous concoction we call espresso (or in my case; a double espresso), a thick, dark concentration of cofeeness, capped by finely grained caramel colored foam floating in a seamless mat from cup wall to cup wall.

Some advice for achieving that glorious brew.

The quality of your coffee is dependent upon three factors:
-Your beans
-Your water
-Your brewing method.

In the bean department I’m lucky. I run a restaurant, in order to get my business vendors send me samples. I’ve cupped a lot of coffee from a lot of different roasters without having to pay for the privilege. You on the other hand will pay, but give yourself a head start, if there is a coffee shop who’s product you are fond of buy your beans there. Get a decent grinder and crush the beans just prior to their use.

In the water department I am also lucky. The hovel I purchased came with an excellent well, the water that flows from my tap is astonishing in its ability to meld with the bean.

If you drink bottled water because you can’t stomach the water from your tap –don’t use it to brew coffee. Buy gallon jugs of spring water at the grocery store, try a couple of different brands until you find the one that works [note: Aquafina does not work, don’t even try it]. Different roasts work better with some types of water. When I was trying to come up with the blend for the restaurant I tasted the candidates at home, when I narrowed the possibilities I brought them into town so my partner could choose. Roasts that tasted great with my water were insipid when brewed in town (and Axe has good water). In the end we realized that the chemistry of the town’s water did not work with lighter beans, if the beans did not have a faint sheen of oil the resulting brew left a chemical coating in the back of the throat.

As for methodology I am a die-hard fan of the moka pot (see picture), it is simple, quick and makes a consistent smooth, strong cup once you have the grind perfected. My favored brand is Bialatti. An added bonus is that they are cheap and durable.

If you use a French press it is important that you don’t get the water too hot (just below boiling) and don’t let the grounds steep too long (I’d recommend three minutes).

If you use an auto-drip don’t fill the pot past the six cup mark, it simply takes too long to brew and you end up with an excessively bitter cup. Use a gold filter rather than a paper filter, part of the joy of coffee is its body, much is lost when it is pushed through paper.

In both the French press and the drip method be generous with your coffee measure, at least two heaping tablespoons per 6oz of water, if the resulting brew is too strong dilute it with hot water.

In all methods of brewing cleanliness is vital. Much of coffee’s flavor is carried in oils and these oils sour rapidly as time passes. If your pot (filter, filter basket, press, water reservoir) is not clean these rancid oils will taint your brew.

Drink up, excessive wakefulness is the only known side-effect. Who wants to waste a full one third of their life unconscious.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006


“I have a story for you.”
“Hmmmm, that was nice”
They lay together on the large firm bed that filled most of her small room at the top of the house.
Isaac curled closer to her and pulled her warmth against him; soft and sticky, spent but not sad. He pulled a breath from the soft skin of her shoulders.
“I’m not ready .”
“No. Listen”
He let the quiet settle into the room until it was just the wind outside and the hum of the refrigerator below .
“Last week I took Lara for a walk down the old logging road to Coxey Pond. There was an inch or so of fresh snow and in the snow were prints of wolves and deer, many prints of wolves. On my way to the lake I saw a cluster of prints around a dark stain in the snow; and five minutes away another cluster; scent marks from the wolves to show who’d been where and who was in charge.
Isaac spoke in a low and quiet voice. It was warm, comfortable in the rich scent of the bed, his voice resonated through her back pressed to his chest. Sarah’s eyes were closed and her breathing deep and slow; she was not asleep.
“On my return I stopped and peed at each of the scent marks, my yellow stain dribbling on the mark left by the wolves; as a joke, a challenge, just pissing em off. I stopped at each mark on the way out, matched each stain with one of my own.”
Sarah squirmed closer, brought his arms about her chest and pushed her bottom to his loins.
“Not now, listen.
I’ve been working alone in the woods the last couple of weeks, hacking out an old line or searching for a lost benchmark. I wasn’t alone. I was watched, there was nothing but silence in the woods. Too much silence.
Last night I couldn’t sleep. I lay in bed listening to the cabin grumble and shift and trees snap as the temperature dropped, I thought I drifted off but can’t be sure. I got up to put wood on the fire and stepped out to look at the stars. It was sharply colder and still. The stars hung bright and steady in a dark sky.
I stepped off the deck and waded through the snow to a clearing behind the cabin, a marsh in summer but last night an open circle framed by black spruce and fir. I stopped at its edge and stared into the wide speckled dome of the sky until my feet spun beneath the snow. When I looked down there were three shapes at the edge of the marsh.
I walked to the center of the clearing and kneeled. The shapes detached themselves from the darkness and glided to the center. They stopped just in front of me and stared deep into my eyes for at least as long as I had stared into the sky.
Two of the wolves wore radio collars. I looked into their faces, leaned forward and detached the collars from their necks. The fur was deep and soft. They did not flinch at my touch. When this was done they bowed their heads and sat on their haunches around me.
One wolf seemed to speak, his speech was not with voice or even words.
“We watched you move through the land, despite having two legs you moved as a part of the land instead of merely over it. You tested the air, stopped when you sensed motion, moved with fluidity and awareness of life and space. We see too many men travel through these woods to not notice. We checked the scent you made beside our own we could not tell whether it was wolf or man. We had to come and see.
We show ourselves to you and you do not flee. You sit and look into our faces. It is meant for us to speak with you.”
All was quiet and still, as if the Earth paused. The radio collars gleamed faintly in the star light. I waited. The wolf spoke again.
“It is good that we talk. There are things that we do not understand and need clarified. There is an answer we must share.
We have questioned: is man animal or god? He seems god; he makes animals, machines, structures that change the very shape of the land. I think he is something in between; without the power of immortality or the wisdom necessary to bring real life to his creations. His animals, dogs, sheep, cattle, pale reflections of the animals they emulate.
What confuses us are horses since they seem both beautiful and capable.”
They wait patiently for me to speak and though uncertain of what to say I tell them we have changed horses little since taking them from the wild; playing only with the colors of their skins and the size to which they grow. They sigh with both understanding and relief, “it is so”, they nod.
We are quiet for a long time as the stars circle above our heads. When the Earth again stops to hold her breath the wolf speaks.
“You worry about the numbers of man. It is the same as with snowshoe hares or tent caterpillars that fill the forest every five or ten years. Man will be struck down by his numbers. Then the animals will return from the corners they’ve been pushed .
You feel the world is coming to an end. The Earth is but, but She will recover and heal this sickness before it destroys her. The mourning you feel is for your species not your planet.
You forget how old she is and how young you are. Your disturbance; it is nothing.”
We sit in silence for an hour beneath the still gleaming stars and the bright and shadowless night. Before they leave each wolf briefly holds my cheek between their fangs.

This morning I woke before dawn, hazy and thirsting for coffee to clear my head. I stepped outside to pee. The deck and yard was patterned with wolf prints a set went right to the door before returning to the woods, the only man-prints led to the slippers beneath me. I remembered the dream.
It didn’t come back clear until I returned home. Work was canceled and there was a Fish and Wildlife truck in my drive. A thin wiry guy and a big older dude waiting in the truck. They got out when I parked and walked over. The big dude introduced himself and said they were up here to follow a pack they’d collared a few months back.
“Wolves sure like your yard,” he says, “dog must be in heat, huh?”
I told him Lara was “fixed”, and that I didn’t let her out much for fear of the wolves. The young guy asked if I had heard howling last night.
I was still in a fog from the night before and without thinking I told them it was hard to tell as I dreamed of wolves all night. They looked at me strangely.
They said they had found two radio collars in the swamp over the ridge and followed the tracks to my house.
“Boot tracks,” I said.
“No, wolf tracks, four sets of them, though we thought the pack was three. Can you imagine; two perfectly good collars laying side by side in the swamp and not a man-track within four-hundred yards. Makes you wish those collars could do more than send a beep into the night.”
They piled into their truck. I let Lara out and stood on the deck trying to untangle the mess of prints of man and dog and wolf and the confusion of dream and day.
I got in the truck and raced the storm to you.

Isaac measured the length of her thigh with a stroke of his hand. Sarah’s breaths came slow and deep. Isaac sighed and rested his face in the space where Sarah’s neck and shoulder met. She did not move.
Isaac slept fitfully, waking often before rising at 4:30 to make coffee and prepare for the drive home. He walked through the dark and unfamiliar house to the kitchen, letting Lara outside while the water boiled. It was snowing steadily, a strong wind blowing the flakes about.
He took his coffee upstairs and sat beside her on the bed as he drank it. Sarah stirred, but did not speak. Lara was anxious to be off.
Isaac kissed Sarah quickly before going outside and starting his truck. He brushed the snow off while the engine warmed up, waved once back to the house and drove off into what was left of the storm. He turned north outside the city and slapped the flank of the dog on the seat beside him, perhaps a little too hard.
“What a waste of a story”.

Sarah stirs beneath the still warm shared-flesh scent of the blankets. She drifts to sleep and dreams four wolves running across a frozen lake beneath the moon. As they reach the dark border of forest and ice one of the wolves stops and turns to stare, its face rushing in to close-up before he disappears in darkness.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Ashes to Ashes II

On starting over:

I am on the edge of jack pining, burning the past to start anew. Torching the job, the significant other, even vacating the land I love.

It’s been building for quite a while, years even. This wood has been stricken by drought, aging and drying waiting for the spark. I only hope that the seeds are ripe and the ashes that remain are a fertile bed for germination.

Sunday, December 3, 2006


I live on the edge of America, just a few short miles from the Canadian Border though hundreds of miles by car from any legitimate border crossing. The view from my windows is of snow-covered forest. It’s twelve miles of twisted road from Axe to the top of this bedrock ridge where my hovel is perched and a fifty miles further to the closest community with a population measured in five digits (just barely) and possessing a “big box” store (Target).

My hovel is heated with wood from the surrounding forest. My income mined from the pockets of those who seek a brief escape from the clamor of modern life.

I live in isolation.

It’s a good time to live in isolation. Despite my frontier life and limited means I am still allowed to glean the fields of progress. My fridge holds fruit from Mexico, Florida and even New Zealand. My mug brims with the extracted essence of premium beans harvested in Central America, Indonesia and Africa. Words and images pour into my house through DSL and a satellite hovering somewhere above East Texas. And I show my world through the eyes of ten megapixel Japanese wonder filtered through a box engineered in Cupertino California.

It is a good time to live in isolation.

Friday, December 1, 2006

In the beginning

I live at the end of the earth. I say the end of the earth, but what is the end of a sphere but a point on its surface. In reality I’m not that removed from the dead center of North America, trust me, it qualifies as an end. Two roads enter this little community (I'll call it Axe) and both end within the confines of the town I call home. If you flew north the two thousand miles required to reach the Arctic Ocean you would cross but one paved road. Despite our isolation in the center of the continent, you could put a canoe in the lake on the edge of town and cross fewer than thirty portages to reach an ocean, a lot of water, but not much in the way of land. If you wish to drive to Axe count on retracing your route when you leave. Of course you could choose the other road out of town, but if your destination lies at the end of that road, your stop in Axe was a detour, not a furthering of your journey.
Like a lot of others I come to Axe to hide; what else is there to do at the end of the earth. A little town on the edge of the wild, at the margins of the boreal forest, or in reality the last great uncut chunk of the southern boreal wood lands, the beginning of the North American Tagia, the last piece of wild country yet unroaded and unsawn. Wild that was relentlessly destroyed and pursued until what little was left was legislated and preserved as wilds, not as evidence of a great enemy vanquished and penned but as a sort of rustic amusement park, a relief from the very speed and activity that was laid down in its place.
Forgive me, I digress. But it is in my nature to digress. I am a forty five year old child, a drifter with a nose for what’s out of place. A loner and an insomniac (excuse me should I say sleep-challenged), prone to waking in the wee hours desperate to feel the passage of ground beneath my feet.
I am hiding from the world, or more directly hiding from what we are doing to our world. Back in the day when I had faith I led myself to believe that man was not a cancer choking the planet so much as an organism developed by the Earth in an attempt to retrieve all that carbon trapped in rock, rendered inaccessible by the slow shifting of the planet. That this poisonous civilization was just an unfortunate by product of Earth’s need to recycle carbon. But I had faith then. Now I see it as just a matter of progress, and progress is heading in a direction I don’t particularly like. I just can’t stomach it. To stand still and feel it die around me, to use such directed unconsciousness to participate in its death. To see with such certainty it’s doom. The only comfort I can conceive is to live within reach of it’s dying touch, to feel the illusion of its life, and its power.