In our artificial human-crafted environments, we can stop time or rearrange the evidence of its passing. At least, that’s the illusion to which we willingly submit in our closed spaces where the light is always how we want it no matter the hour, the temperature just right no matter the season, the surfaces uniform and constant, unaltered by persistent wind, slow thaw, sudden flood.
However, time and its passage is an underlayment to most nature writing, in one way or another.
I realized I have been saying goodbye to the land for some time.
One thing I love about Chris Clarke’s writing is that it always sounds like he has meditated, pondered a while, turned over and over the thing that moved him to write, and also the best way to make us see it with the attention it deserves. It’s difficult to effectively show the drama of the natural world, and the constant threat of its imminent demise, and Chris does it here with a solemn fullness.
All landscapes die and are reborn, and the apathetic, the soulless would take that as an excuse to further wound the land, as if mortality was sufficient grounds for murder.
In nature, time is always moving and the evidence of such is displayed in a disparate but balanced patchwork. Abrupt events that unilaterally and uniformly disrupt that are usually, predictably, the work of humans seeking to construct yet more artifice:
It was the wildest thing they could imagine and they killed it: an outcome both improbable and unsurprising.