To death, the love of my life
I’m standing by the edge of the river. My bare feet gently touch the surface of the crispy mulch leaning against the cold solid rocks. From my skin rises a slow pliant steam following every movement I make as I walk further down. As slowly as I can I immerse myself in the dark waters. I want to feel it all, the fullness of every tiny step.
It’s late fall, and the moon is close to dark. Amanitas and Liberty caps has been gathering in witch rings and shit dungs all around my cabin. I knew this was the time, and I felt that the sauna was the obvious choice. So, one by one, cap and stem, I had put them under my tongue, let those weird mycelial creatures sink through the floor of my mouth, penetrate my intestinal wall, enter my blood stream and eventually wrap their fungal threads around the rootlets of my prefrontal cortex.
I pause for a moment, lean my head back and look right up. Above me the stars have no street lights nor moon taking over the show. And I didn’t even know. I thought I knew, but apparently not. Cause the sky was never this clear back then in the south of what they call sweden. No one told me that the sky could be this dark.
The frost brought everything down the last couple of days. Some Valerians and Meadowsweets still hang around beside me, but look quite scruffy and ragged. All their stored up energy spent in a rush just to produce offspring and send them off into the surrounding landscape of dirt. A minor peak everything it seems, following a breakdown and sudden collapse. I realize: this is brutality. Nature is brutal and violent. Civilization created nothing of this. It just brought it up to a bigger scale and higher speed with every new medium* it built upon the other. And I know, the weeds know, something that I don’t know, something that I should know, but no one ever let me.
Everywhere I look around me I see death and decay. This is somehow new ground for me; this fall into the dark. Something my relatives or teachers didn’t show me. They said there was no need to let go of all those things any longer and let my mind wander down into this old dark and stagnant earth. It was something of the past, they said. Now you have all this technology giving you the possibility of choosing your own weather. You can have summer all year around if you want. And if you just play the game right you can have the most comfortable bed you can dream of. You can have a warm and cozy shower every morning and eat whatever you’d like. You can design your own body in your own unique fashion and travel all over the world. Why bother about freezing like some pointless bitter weed stuck among the debris of the past doing nothing when you can be a sweet flowering star climbing towards the endless summer? You could reach so far, so far.
But still death is so real, right here, right now, slowly licking my thighs. So what do I do with it? Everybody here seems to know except us. I mean us humans. The trees drop all their leaves. The Cuckoos fly to the south. The Foxes change their coats. The Valerians sink into their root. They all know exactly what to do. They’ve done this many times before, and I have not. I’ve always had the freedom to go home and stick around in the comfortable zone far away from those bitter experiences and lurking dark shadows. I was privileged, they said. Everything I needed to get around I had. In fact, it was just delivered right into my hands either in pipes or trucks, wrapped in plastic or crammed in jars. But the root was always hidden. The dirty ground of my existence was absent from me and my direct experience. And when I was done, everything was just cleaned up and flushed down or thrown in the trash and transported off somewhere else. I guess I was curious about how it was like on the other side, what the origin of my body really was, and where it later disappeared. It’s just basic things really.
So I left. Everything was chaotic anyway. The trip to South America, and the intoxication of the “vine of death” they called Ayahuasca, had broken me down completely. The old structure of my mind had been torn apart, sabotaged and swallowed whole, and now my physical reality had to go the same way. It didn’t really feel like a decision. The relationship I was in at the moment was also in some form of collapsing state, and since my girlfriend lived in a collective with most of my friends they also slipped away eventually. At the same time my autoimmune disease, which made my rectum – my own root – bleed, got worse. My depression deepened, and my band, that used to be everything to me, seemed to be on its way of dissolving. So I finally just gave away or sold most of my stuff, packed my backpack and started hitchhiking north. I had to go find something else, whatever it was. I had nothing but this vague dream; this dream about something otherly. I was like pulled and bewitched by this other. It was almost like a force in itself dragging me out; out of the city and out of my mind.
Almost every day recently trucks have been passing by through the village. Arriving empty from the city, passing the bridge, over the river, out on the other side, and then returning full of timber on their bumping way back. This is not spectacular news that will end up on the front page of some hip newspaper in town, but this is a very real thing for us living here. This is the daily reality I faced on the other side of the urban south, the other side of the city walls, and the other side of all those mediums handing things over to me from the other side.
And as I stand here halfly covered in the raw biting cold, trying to think of nothing, trying to slowly surrender myself to the old dark wisdom of this darkened moon, I cannot stop thinking about the letter that’s been on my mind ever since. It read “Logging notification of A 287 539 ”. They want to cut it down! It’s now official. This old growth forest right here, right on the other side of this river where I now stand. They’re gonna cut down and shovel away the only ones left who really know the art of dying and turn them into toilet paper and tampons for us civilized to wipe up our dirty ass. So this is where it all comes from. This is the dirty root of everything. This is the other side, the downside and backside, of the mediated artificial summer I grew up in. This is where all the things in the pipes, trucks, plastic bags and jars come from. These are the mountains that become solar panels and smartphones. This is the dammed river of bloody salmon mince nicely converted into a renewable energy source for the clean and green-washed south. This is my root, and it is bleeding. Now I see, really clear. It’s right here, right now with no walls or mediums in between. The other side is the source and building blocks of everything the city is. It’s called colonialism, and it’s the foundational structure of civilization.
The water is about to reach my chest as I turn my head up facing west, seeing an empty pack of cigarettes lying beneath the bridge on top of the thin snow crust. Someone must have thrown it out of the car. I can’t stop staring. It’s so obvious that it doesn’t fit the picture; right there in between this ancient body of intertwined beauty and me. Like a moldy stain on the window pane of some fancy shopping mall, but really quite the opposite. It seems like from the inside people tend to view things differently. From that side of the line you tend to define what’s on the other side as something dangerous, bad, wrong or mad, which of course has nothing to do with your own life and identity. It’s just something else; a shadow; a problem yet to be solved. Cause, out there, on the other side, is where all the scums of society reside who just want to taint and vandalize everything we’ve worked so hard to realize. Don’t go there. Why would you go there? Do you really wanna become a stain with all those good grades all in vain? Are you insane or what?
But how can you see that the whole damn machinery is just as misplaced as the pack of cigarettes are to me, and that the stain on the window pane actually is the beginning of a long healing process of breaking down stagnated tissues of the earth, if you’ve never seen things from the other side of the perspective? Well, you can’t really. Only in theory, and that’s just bullshit anyway. The only real way to know what is going on out there is to cross the threshold and experience it for yourself in your own body going back and forth, back and forth, learning and forgetting new things every time you leave.
And what I’ve seen is that those miserable and unlucky ones that somehow ended up in the dirt on “the wrong side of life ” actually are the best of allies and among the most loving and interesting creatures I’ve met. They tend to be defined as some...
dirty filthy violent absurd
weird psychotic and mentally disturbed
like witches queers and poisonous weeds
outlaws rioters and masked up thieves
From the inside you say that this is okay but that is not, that this is us but that’s something else, that this is a boy and that is a girl, that this is the future but that’s of the past, that this is mind and that doesn’t matter. Some even say that death is a problem someone should solve. And I’m not saying that death is better than life at all, which would be an absurd idea indeed. What I’m trying to say is that death is the love of my life. The cold is the warmest friend. The up and the down, the in and the out, the one and the other, the high and the low. They’re all just part of the ebb and flow like the peaks and the valleys of one and the same tone. That is to say that everything is one, and everything is connected to everything else. Like the flower to its root. There is no clear separation or dividing line between the one and the other side. It’s just a myth continually perpetuated by the mediums in between renovating and distorting the message.
It seems like the mediating technologies are manifesting some sort of wall building a chasm and separation between the one and the other side (and every other kind of duality) redistributing time and space unevenly. So, on the one side, everything expands and accelerates, and on the other side everything’s repressed and exploited, which means that the inside gets overloaded while the outside is undermined (but the people who is inside and above never seem to realize that their way of life is gained at the expense of everything that is outside and below). This means that as the stem grow fast and tall the roots become shallow and small. It’s either too much or too little wherever you go, so I wanna know. How do I do it? How do I die and wake up and die and wake up yet again? And where are my roots? Where are the elders that know these things? Cause if we are to inhabit this world with any kind of decency we have to be able to go through our own death. That’s what healing is about, what anarchy and resistance really means, and the only way to “enlightenment” for me. It’s about falling apart and letting go. What’s been built up has to come down. Everything needs its apocalypse, and the 37sooner the better. That’s what the other side has been showing me. That’s what the civilized culture just doesn’t see.
Cause in there, inside this urban mono-culture of humans in boxes and straight lines, you tend to become so narrow-mindedly blind in trying to find your own unique design to build that great and happy life, that you simply miss to miss and forget to forget, when all the absence is absent, and death is deported and censored out. In there, death is not a part of the day to day life. It’s distant, so far off and out of your reach that you’ll never really have to confront it. The mediums handle it for you. They go out on the other side and get you what you want. They take care of the violent, uncomfortable and dirty work for you so that you can lend your life to more positive, creative and life-affirming things instead.
So most of the people in there don’t seem to see that the path towards a happy life in sanity, wisdom, health, vitality, freedom, light, love and ecstasy and whatever good and positive words you can possibly imagine to be, is also the path towards death simultaneously (and therefor also towards madness, emptiness, sickness, sorrow, boredom, conflict, violence, darkness and so on). But the only way to widen the light is to explore the dark. The only way to grow up strong is to sink down low and expand our roots out in the unknown. We cannot flee it. It’s our only common ground. Death is at the tip of our roots. It’s where we come from, and it’s here to stay.
I take a last glimpse of the other side taking a piss before entering the sauna again. And as I stand there pissing out the remains of my own subverted stagnations my mind suddenly cuddle up in starflowers.