Wassail, traveler, and welcome to The Gable Grey -- a place of retreat, of renewal, and of resistance: a tree-shaded refuge in Dark Times. Now pass the threshold, and rest from journeys! For a cold wind is blowing; and here, if you wish, you may hear tidings of the world without...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Dryad Doomer Springtime

March 20 was the official First Day of Spring 2011, but in actuality it seems to have begun two or even three weeks earlier.  Even the dogwoods did not wait, and have themselves joined the sylvan parade, as if the redbuds and yellow jasmine had made them jealous.  It is too early for the fashion show, too early for 80+ degree weather.  Global warming?  Hardly matters.  We are going to positively bake this year, I fear, regardless of the cause.  That knowledge makes it hard to enjoy the comfortable days we have now, but I'm doing my best.

Speaking of shows, World War Three is gearing up to be quite an action flick.  We couldn't ask for a better villainous madman than Muammar Qaddafi, or a more hapless maiden than President Obama, who more than anything must be praying desperately for rescue from this nightmare job he probably increasingly believes he was tricked into wanting.  Meanwhile there are hints that new chapters will explore Yemeni adventures, and even Syria, where the fabulously-named Bashar al-Assad, who unfortunately resembles more an Arab version of Felix Unger than a suitable target for Indiana Jones' revolver, is studying fellow actor Qaddafi's methods very carefully.  There will be plenty of scenarios within which to set The Expendables 2.  And 3.  And 9.  Stallone will look cool, blowing up the giant portrait of Mao in Beijing.  Assuming he will, at 85, still be able to heft up a rocket launcher.  Assuming there'll be enough gas to fly him there, along with Schwarzenegger, who by then will resemble the Terminator more in real life than he ever did on the big screen.  (And not in the good way.)

Collapse proceeds apace, even as Gaia sexes herself up, as if all humanity's trials and tribulations are irrelevant in her grand scheme of things.  (They are.)    It's been quite an interesting year so far, 2011, with a veritable clusterflock (not my term, sadly) of black swans descending upon the flailing, half-putrefying monster of industrial civilization.  Most Americans, it need hardly be said, couldn't give a shit.  I have stopped trying to convince those nearest me, for the most part, excepting some close family members.  I have decided to go the route of Guy McPherson, whom I greatly admire for being one of the few among the doomosphere who actually actively practices what he preaches.  "As the industrial world comes apart at the seams," he said recently, "I'm about done waiting for people to get it.  Increasingly, it's becoming a matter of waiting to see it get them." (Emphasis added.) 

It is a sad thing to realize that you cannot save the majority of your family members and friends from coming misery, or worse.  You hope you're wrong, that you've let yourself be deluded, that you have some kind of psychological problem that renders you incapable of just letting other people enjoy being happy.  After all, if you were right, and all the evidence you bring to bear is correct, then why aren't more people taking care of themselves, getting prepared?  Why aren't those who mostly agree with you not taking action?  It must be you.  After all, you've been wrong about things before, and often so.  You in your infinite wisdom have failed to see many things coming in the past.  You are, upon cursory inspection, only a very little man in society, a man whose own life path has hit so many dead ends that one cannot help but think, "Why is this any different?"  So you dig a deep hole and crawl into it a while, feeling like a fool, wondering how you got on this road in the first place, and if you will ever be able to change course.  But you know you can't, it's gone too far, you've tried to go back to your old mental paradigm, to no avail.  You tried to immerse yourself back into the culture, into books, film, hobbies, consumerism.  None of that works any more. 

But then a strange thing begins to happen, as the false selves John Rember mentions in the prior post lose their grip on you, lose their legitimacy.  You begin to recognize them for what they were -- false selves -- and begin to see, more clearly, just who your true self is.  The false selves do not go away, really; but they become more like companions to the true self, and are recognized as such.  This is of tremendous significance:  it is a moment of utter physical and spiritual liberation.  It is a moment when one realizes the possibilites of thinking beyond old paradigms, that they are not absolute, and never were.  And then one realizes that one has become dangerously, unpredictably alive.

And even as corrupt civilization burns away, dangerous, unpredictable Spring returns, heedless of politics and war and machines.  Endings, Spring reminds us, are but beginnings, and full of possiblity, for the wise, for the prepared.  Mankind is prone to madness, but there is madness of another kind:  the madness of Pan.  I and my false selves choose the latter, and will enjoy each other's company forthwith. 

Wassail, friends.  -- C.


  1. This is a beautiful essay, Chris. Your love of nature and the humans in your life shines through. Thanks for mentioning my writing, and that of the inimitable John Rember.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Guy, and for the continuing inspriation and encouragement. Your insight and observation help chart unknown waters; your words hammer away at the brittle old paradigms.

    Hope Spring is kind to you and yours!


Whiles carried o'er the iron road,
We hurry by some fair abode;
The garden bright amidst the hay,
The yellow wain upon the way,
The dining men, the wind that sweeps
Light locks from off the sun-sweet heaps --
The gable grey, the hoary roof,
Here now -- and now so far aloof.
How sorely then we long to stay
And midst its sweetness wear the day,
And 'neath its changing shadows sit,
And feel ourselves a part of it.
Such rest, such stay, I strove to win
With these same leaves that lie herein.

-- William Morris, from
"The Roots of the Mountains"