Urban Green Man is the both the title and intended subject matter of a forthcoming theme anthology from Edge Publishing for which I’ve been invited to submit a story. Considering all this moss that’s been creeping from my armpits and between my toes of late and the details of my living circumstances over the past couple years, you’d think this would be right up my alley, right in my hermitage, so to speak… but for some reason I’m really having a hard time at it.
The below ramblings on nature and the city are the result of an attempt at writing-avoidance aka “brainstorming” in order to figure out what the green man myth could possibly mean in an urban context and in the modern age.
Some variety of blue lobelia, best guess Lobelia kalmii, Franklin Park Wilderness, Roxbury, MA.
They’re like March Hares, you know.
Rue Anemone, Thalictrum Thalictroides, moist oak ridge, Ortonville, MI
Some variety of flowering sedge I am unlikely to ever identify. Sandy trailside, mixed deciduous woods, Ortonville, MI
Donwy Serviceberry, Amelanchier arborea, mixed deciduous woods, Ortonville, MI
American Fly Honeysuckle, Lonicera canadensis, oak and pine ridge, Ortonville, MI
After all these years of photo blogging I finally caved and started using the convenient “web 2.0” image upload features of WordPress. So much easier! Why am I so stubborn.
My story “The Eater”, about the guy at the beginning of time whose job it is to taste everything and decide what will kill us and what will keep us alive, (which originally appeared in Apex back in July), is live today at Pseudopod!
Pseudopod, should you have been unaware, is a weekly horror fiction podcast, sister to Escape Pod and Podcastle, a triumvirate I have been struggling to break my way into for quite some time. I love reading fiction aloud, and hearing fiction read aloud, and “the Pods”, as they are affectionately known, are some of the best places to do that. For a reader, I am lucky enough to have netted Laurice White. I haven’t had a chance to listen yet—will do so on my ride home—but I expect it will be great.
Pink Lady’s Slipper orchid, Cypripedium acaule, mixed deciduous woods, Bull Hill, Sunderland, MA
(AKA/e.g., the replenishing pitcher flower of legend.)
Wild columbine, Aquilegia canadensis, West-facing cliffs, Mt. Toby Reservation, Sunderland.
My camera died. Rest well, Sony Cybershot DSC-F717. You came from the factory with all kinds of defects, your autofocus algorithm was dated and finicky, but you were good to me. You let me recollect beauty in millions of colors. One time you pretended to be a handcannon to protect me from poachers. Curse the loose screw that killed you. I wish I had treated you better.
My old Powerbook G4 12″ has gone the way of the dire wolf and the dodo. Funes, you kept me alive. You ate through rechargeable batteries like a radio-controlled Mechagodzilla. Your touchpad didn’t work for shit, forcing me to wield a retro-aesthetically superheroic rubber ball mouse from my original iMac 233 circa 1998. I was ridiculously, unhealthily attached to you. I am beside myself at the prospect of letting you go—but all things must pass. With any luck, you will only sleep awhile and return from the shadows, like the coelecanth or the ivory-billed woodpecker.
Now I got me a handed-down white dual 1.8 MacBook, christened Ilom, for which I shall remain eternally grateful to parties who know who they are. It stands out less from the coffeeshop crowd than poor old Funes; on the other hand, it can run Illustrator and iTunes at the same time without destroying itself and has carried me forward into the video age. Will I ever learn to love it as much? That’s a question best put to Time.
“They must be pierced by flowers and put
Beneath the feet of dancing flowers.
However it is in some other world
I know that this is the way in ours.”
—Robert Frost, In Hardwood Groves
In which I digress (much) further about the not-coming apocalypse.
This is long. Sorry. I tried to break it into two parts, but it just wasn’t happening. Thanks in advance for your kind attention.
The Popol Vuh is the Mayan creation myth. The version available to us today was written in secret between the years 1554 and 1558 by three anonymous philosopher-priests of the Maya religion, during the early years of the Spanish occupation of Mexico, when Catholic missionaries under Friar Diego de Landa were systematically destroying all evidence they could find of indigenous religion and culture. In order to preserve it, the authors of the Popol Vuh spirited it away somewhere in the Guatemalan city of Chichicastenango (underneath a Christian altar, perhaps, as was a favorite tactic of the Maya, preserving the old beneath the new) until 1701, when it was discovered, copied, and translated from the original Roman alphabet transliteration of Quiché into Spanish by Francisco Ximenes, another Catholic friar. His copy is the only one that survives today.
All of which is to say that the contents of the Popol Vuh as we know them have been deeply, irrevocably compromised by the influence of a conquering culture. Some evidence mitigating against this has come to light fairly recently: a stucco frieze dating from before 100 BC has been uncovered in the ruined Mayan city of Mirador, which depicts in detail a scene from the Twin Gods cycle of the Popol Vuh myth. That’s some impressive continuity, considering what an incredibly diverse range culture and belief can be seen across mesoamerica—even from one Mayan sacred site to the next. Still, there is a huge gulf of uncertainty in the 1600 years between those two points, and in the 450 years between then and the winter solstice, 2012. And it’s exactly that kind of gulf from which new-agey doomsday conspiracy theories are born.