Note from Mel: This is Ptery’s first post here. He blogs also at Biscuit Root about rewilding and his associated work with biscuit root, a plant that he eats and replants a lot of on his travels. I welcome him to Henkimaa, where his spirit joins the cool breeze running through my soul. He knows what I mean. He refers to me here as his “best friend ex” but that’s for lack of words that either of us that can explain what we have been & continue to be to each other.
He asked me what to call this post, & I said, how about In media res, because it starts in the midst of things rather than at the beginning (wherever that might be) — & hence the title he chose. The photo I chose, from a walk we took during his visit here.
I’ve been in the city, and dang it’s hard to do biscuit work in the city; the climate just ain’t right. I spent 5 months in Seattle getting my IDs replaced, found a girlfriend that has been satisfying as well as distracting, took a 5-week trip to Anchorage, AK, where my nephew and best friend ex live and then came back here to Seattle.
I need to be in wild places already to follow the principle of strengthening what remains of native habitat, which in the biscuitroot’s case is the Great Basin and the Eastern side of the Sierras, etc. It is from a place that is whole that I can begin to remember what wholeness may be and feel the strain of being far from my own ancestor’s homeland that my bones call for… and make peace with that somehow. This is one place where the Hoop is still intact, though patchy. Finisia says the Buffalo hoop has been decimated, I hope that she is wrong, but here it is still strong and needs our help in restoring.
The hoop again, is the migratory route and also the way of life that the Shoshone, Paiute, and Wasco people’s traveled and lived in a interdependent relationship before much of Empire came and broke much of what Native people had. The People are still strong underneath all their invisibility and they still gather their roots, and tell their stories. Efforts abound at restoring more common usage of their languages. I personally can’t speak to what all of what being indigenous in place entails, but I do know that much of the world’s people have been migratory throughout the year in order to live lightly on the land. Settling down has its downsides in that our knowledge of the world gets secondhand, myopism and it is harder on the Mother. I am just putting myself out there to move myself to thinking more like my ancestors did.
Seems I have come up against the challenge of being in civilization in that it requires some kind of exchange for goods — in my case, food, since I don’t have gun or license to support part of my diet. I also need to travel the whole of the hoop. I’ve covered a great deal of it, but missed Pinon camp and most of Winter camp. A truck would be mighty dandy, though in truth I could hitchhike my way as I’ve got the practice down pretty well.
As far as I know Finisia and Mikhailia are still at Badger’s where I last saw them during a spring sweat. They looked good and two wolf puppies had joined their camp, giving a certain joy to the camp. My opinion of course.
I am now at Tent City 4 in Seattle, a tent city organized by Share/Wheel and of course self run by the camp itself as everyone provides security and one community contribution a week, as an auction item once a month to raise money. They have weekly meetings as well to elect service reps. I have yet to figure out how I of no income will find something worth 25$ for the auction. I’m thinking of doing a work trade with Soul Food Books, a really cool cafe in the heart of Redmond that has been a spiritual haven for me in the Kingdom realm of Microsoft. I feel quite safe there and so does my girlfriend.
Just last week I attended the Free Activist Witch Camp at Wolf Creek and on my way down spent one night at Dignity Village in Portland. Ten years ago they were founded and these little bitty houses were built to house folks who have been living there and finding their way back to real homes and jobs and normal lives.
I was welcomed by one of the residents who fed me hot spicy hot dogs and grilled potatoes. They were a riot, he and his friend. A few of the people there participated in the thrift store and/or the locally grown plant sale. They were also having their tenth anniversary
While I was in Portland I read an article in the city paper that talked about how Whites needed to examine race a bit deeper. I was astounded that a local author was able to get it published. Portland is a leader in being ecological and now has race on the public table as well. If I’m back there soon enough, I want to write a letter to the editor in support of such writings. Already they devote a whole section of their paper to sustainability.
City Repair, I think, has done a great deal to bring all this forward, but also the city officials have allowed the conversation to exist by listening and responding. This is hopeful to me. It may be that Seattle is beginning to have this effect with the new mayor. I sure hope so.
Meantime, I want to finish my book review of Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker. The most exciting book I have read in a long time. I have been having a short attention span when it comes to books, but I’ve been hanging in there. He writes clearly and spot-on about psychiatry’s use of drugs and how they are worsening our mental health in the modern world. He has made a call to the community to rise up and take our mental health back!! He is not against the drugs, he just documents the trends for most people, which is not good. He knows that it helps some people and they are lifesavers for some. I hope you will all check it out.
You may wonder what this has to do with re-wilding — well, it mostly has to do with how I got here. Psychiatry didn’t help me. In fact, I see psychiatry as interrupting the process of becoming wild, which includes accessing our deep feelings and awareness es and looking at uncomfortable perspectives. Dealing with pain the best way we can is the process and I for one vote for collective sharing, something that our system thinks is best shared alone with a therapist. Well, that’s not how the feminist movement was born, nor the beginnings of really good social movements. People began with opening up with what was choking them into silence and bringing voice to it.
The more we are caught up in self doubt, insecurity, shame, well the more a system that is destroying the earth continues to thrive. This system is set up to keep us all in paralyzing apathy.
One of the important movements I want to see is one that the present day folk deal with what has happened in this country, to confront the history of genocide, slavery, internment of the Japanese, civil war. All these things are in our collective American psyches, sitting there festering as folks continue to be ground up in the Empire’s machinery that live organic humans need to come forth to take it apart, or at least get out of the way while it falls over. (Hopefully soon). An important part of this healing is the reconnecting with the Earth as part of us, and we part of Her. That’s it, really. In this process we would have to listen to each other, and to Nature around us, take local responsibility in giving back what was stolen from Native People still in place. Each of us alone, must deal with who we are and who our individual ancestors are and what they have done or not done and decide what we must do and we need to start it yesterday.
Therapists, well, those are individual problems being dealt with and what we have before us are collective problems. Everyone has it in there body, whether they are conscious or not, the awareness of what the whole of the life web is up to. From where I’m at its frightening, and am glad to have many people to share my feelings with on Facebook. I vastly prefer face to face in real time. More is possible this way. So, here I am in Tent City 4, talking to people as I can, people who have time on their hands. I share my perspective and offer support, or I listen in to understand where they are coming from. The self rule aspect is what I most like participating in and miss it from my Rainbow Grocery days, where the collective ran and still runs in an intelligently fashioned manner not available to hierarchical jobs.
I’m looking for partners now, and a truck, a gun and gas money to take us on the replanting and rewilding venture to transform us as we go. I am starting out by moving to Portland so I can be closer to the opportunity, and as well as have meaningful conversations with people in power. It may be possible there to plant some wild native plants in the city, under the direction of local Native elders who know what they are doing and open the possibility of moving a piece of America back to Gaia’s realm.
I gladly take prayers and sweet spells to help me move safely in the world and to tilt me ever more closer to being my feral self.
Aho, All my Relations.