The Racket #21 : NATURE
Poster by Eli Myers
07.23.2018 - ADOBE BOOKS - 7PM
It was our original intention for our upcoming theme of NATURE to be a positive one. We believed that the gifts of the great outdoors - sun, rain, grass, deer scat, hands covered in soil, rivers weaving and winding, you know nature-y stuff - would be a boon to our writers, a way to reflect on the most nature soaked of all seasons. Because we are short-sighted and occasionally, quite frankly, dumb, we thought, "Nature, you're the best. Let's hear people talk about picnics and thunderstorms and their toes dipped in warm lakes."
At some point, while thinking about writing this essay, we thought about polar bears. We thought about a village in Canada where polar bears took over for a day, it's inhabitants resigned to their log cabins (or whatever). We thought of a video we saw where polar bears hugged (hugged!) with bear smiles plastered on poofy white faces, the alpha dogs from a sled team. We thought of short we saw once on a hippo who'd been befriended by a family and now just wandered in the back door when it was dinner time. We thought of a family friend and the de-skunked skunk she grew up with, the deer her family had made a pet. We thought of a hot tub near a bay and a family of foxes, elfin ears peaked, scampering across a green, green hillside.
And then we thought of ice caps, of those same polar bear's ancestral chunks of ice disappearing and the lengths they were now pushed to just to grab a bite to eat. We thought of a day in a desert when the lowest the temperature got was 120 degrees. We thought of the bees, the frogs, and the snakes slowly, for reasons explained but ignored, disappearing. We thought of Chinese carp and tree-killing bark beetles and zebra mussels. We thought of floods and super-tornados and wine-country fires and the parched earth and how it always seems parched and that no amount of water can sate it.
We tried not to think about the future. Of water wars and another American election where climate change doesn't crack the issues needed to discuss. We thought of our orange-mopped dictator-in-waiting and his unfettered assault on regulation. We thought of Scott fucking Pruitt and private jets and dinner with coal executives.
We thought and we thought and we thought and we wondered, "Is nature all that positive anymore?"
And to that we thought, "who gives a shit?" We've done the damage and we continue to do it and our time on this Earth, as individuals and as a species, will be shorter-lived than we probably hoped for. But nature - you big beautiful bastard - you're still out there for now, you're still wet and green and bountiful in some places, dry and spiky and poisonous in others. You're still an enigma, a source of inspiration, a unending supply of jaw-dropping serenity. You're still out there, and you're still amazing, and if we can still write something about you, we'll call that a tally on the good side of thing.
We thought let's write about floods and earthquakes and Earth's grim fist trying as it may to shake off our horrible inhabitance. Let's write about a picnic, about the wings of a butterfly, about polar bears hugging their dog friends. Let's just keep capturing the essence of our natural world on the blank page (or the blank screen or canvas or grain of rice) because one of these days, it's all we're going to have left.