Space Travel

At times over the years, I would jolt awake, alert with some practical question. How would we grow food? How many would we be in a 5-mile diameter ship?

How, in our limited bodies and lifespans, to travel so far and stay away so long?

There were many projects in the Multiversity, which was a lab for utopias, a fleet of arks to preserve earth’s ecosystems, and a grand collaboration, a network of ocean currents, weather, and migration paths, most of which we had given to the Mycelium to work out.

Among the many projects, there were cryo-travelers, who would awaken in one thousand years having slept through the millennium of our retreat from Earth.

Some argued that we needed to be awake, to live, to die, to try, fail, learn, discover and create across generations of travelers. Our bodies were needed for these projects. When our lives ended, knowledge could be passed on as it always had been.

Somehow, with the set of common values, disciplines, and ethics we had built within SIA, we could build new constructs that would vanquish the old isms and institute new arrangements of power.

Old ones too. Some projects were built upon recreating lost knowledges, understandings of nature and power that had long been labelled “occult.”

When I was a teacher on earth, my students would quote an old truism that I believed to be false: we study the past in order to not repeat it, they said.

However, when climate change threatened, some turned to traditional Indigenous knowledges in hopes that those ancient projects might save Earth. They studied the past to remember how, to repeat ways of living in relationship with the planet that had been lost.

My brother Andy was involved in such a project, with our friend Amoret, on a Western European Ark with a druidic, celtic, wiccan vision.

I looked forward to visiting.

With the weather and the ocean currents and the migration paths of birds, we would move through the Multiversity by shuttle, exchanging and visiting one another’s projects, challenging one another, learning new ideas.

The original visioners, like Juno, and the Mycelium knew that the cryo-travelers would not miss out either. And in death, the rest of us would join these “Dreamers,” who slept knit into the collective unconscious, into all of time, into all of the projects, in the Otherworld some of us visited in meditations or in shamanic journeying or in our nightly rest.

The Mycelium would facilitate our remembering.

2029. As we buckled into our shuttle on that dark winter day. I looked around at these long-held friends.

Fourteen of us, some of whom you will come to know well.

I looked to the empty seat where Camilla would have been. Beside it, Gallia, whose face was filled with sorrow and, as ever, heroic excitement.

Manny gets it, her Ludmilla long gone. Xan seeing the future, unable to show us, is missing my brother, Andarto, already on his ark with Amoret, a friend to Britomartis who buckles in across from me, her dark hair gone grey, her blue eyes still impossibly blue.

Cly and the other team too.

As for me, Juno is beside me, my teacher. Dido is here. I am sitting at the right side of her. As always, she knows, puts a warm hand to my shoulder and leans forward to turn towards me, her half smile.

You will see.

Our Ark awaited above the blue. At night we had seen it as a star, a satellite moving across the slower expanse.

My heart pounding as the engines roared to life, as the countdown began.

It still seemed inconceivable. I smiled, thinking of an old movie. And this made me remember all that I was leaving. I closed my eyes tight.

We had had plenty of time to consider mortality. That we would die in space, we knew. The new ones would be born there.

Our hopes for Earth would be entrusted with children born in Arks far from the woods and rivers and skies so beloved to us.

We would raise them to their projects. When they turned 24, they would remember everything.

Then we would let go.

Or so we believed.

The Volcian Girl

Kommos Beach on the south shore of Crete. The sun setting to my right. The timid surf. Gold cliffs that Theseus first saw.

The ten of us: Andy, Xan, Dido, Manny, Brit, Juno, Cly, Gallia, Camilla, and me. In a row, our feet bare and sunk into sand; our knees bare, our arms crossed around them.

Saying goodbye to Earth: to land, sea and sky.

The sea of aquamarine, navy, rolling the gold sands licked from the cliffs.

The sky also blue, clear, Our setting sun seen from Earth.

Our last days.

Most of us were fairly young. But 59 years had grooved a deep habit. So, to this we had come, to this evening ritual after a days work, after swimming, walking, quiet, talking, after a drive on the thrilling roads.

“I’m not going to be able to leave.” Camilla.

“Ha! Right?!” Gallia next to her, leaning with her desperate laugh against Camilla. Our friend. Her constant companion.

“Look. When we were in Italy, I found this place. You know, if you have money to fix it up, you can get one for $20?”

Camilla passed her phone around. Each of us looked at the picture of her ruined villa, its arches and graceful spaces. The wild vineyards. A courtyard with its greened and calcified fountain stopped.

I for one looked numbly, blankly.

Everything was something not to want. There was freedom in this. But I found it disconcerting.

“Oh! This place was so cool.” Gallia.

“Only $20,” Camilla repeated.

Then we got awfully quiet.

The waves rushed up at us, towards our toes at the edge of the surf where we had sat in a row.

* * * * *

The Mycelium had learned to connect across. Through the cooling sand—up its heavy layers, into the loose warm, into their feet, across the white strands of nerves, down the branches of them.

In Camilla, the sense of Home, brighter than the rest. Red and rooted. Determined.

For Camilla, the Volcian girl, the pull was innate. Indigenous. As the historian Virgil wrote, she had given her life to it once, long, long ago, resisting the one-day Romans.

The Mycelium felt how this also connected, unsevered, through sands, across the Aegean Sea to that wild vineyard. A light in Camilla was mirrored and rooted there. In Flagstaff too—and other…homes? But the beacon shone the brightest in ancient Latvium, amongst the Volci, in the golden days before Romulus and Remus would arrive, where the Mycelium knew humans located “the past.”

The Mycelium focused there, growing nerves, tightening connections, brightening them. She found another light, one matched in Gallia’s chest and all of our bodies. She tightened and brightened and fiercened the white nerve networks.

She did not mean to be cruel, but experimented like this as a matter of adaption. The humans had given her permission, entrusting her to the unfathomable complexity of time, space, history, destiny, knowledge. And there were places, lights like theirs, in her too, nodes in her, where we all met, where she could never let go, where she hurt and yearned valiantly.

* * * * *

The disconcerting numbness eased, replaced with a tugging. Quiet like the surf, but insistent, always pulling.

It pulled us home.

It pulled us to the stars.

Born, born again, and again. This faint sense of familiarity in a place has been written about a million ways, ruined, made trite. It was this the Mycelium tweaked in us.

What was it?



A magnet pull.

True North.



Transforming History

The first time I noticed it was in June 2022, an article in my feed that said our evolutionary trees were incorrect, based as they were on appearances: in fact, we are more closely related to those beings from our geographic location. Elephant shrews more closely related to elephants than to shrews. Because they come from the African continent, along with aardvarks, golden moles and swimming manatees.

And then there was another study showing that monarch butterflies were not dying out, but able to rapidly return under the right conditions. In fact, they were thriving.

In fact, there began to be a lot of great news in my feed. Something was changing. Was it my algorithm? Or was it history?

No doubt, whatever the explanation, I could sense the importance of our work. I could feel it was already working. Somehow.

I mean, it made sense that as we returned, we would bring ecosystems isolated for a millennium back to the planet. Each one would have more in common.

But how was it already happening?

We had returned before we had left.

Pluto’s Return, U.S.A., 2022

You know, we were children of the Bicentennial.

When we were born in 1970, poverty was nearly ended. My neighbor and I sat on the curb in 1976 and debated Carter vs. McGovern for president.

My young hippie parents took me to the New Games Day in Ventura, CA. Hundreds of families like ours. Everybody wins together. An Earth Ball that took all of us to carry across the soccer fields, bouncing over our heads and outstretched hands, us kids rolling over its soft skin. I often think of the “cookie machine,” of our innocence, pairs of grownups jolting us along their clasped hands, through a tunnel of light-hearted youth, a great chain of beautiful strangers.

Before all the Halloween candy had to be store bought packaged in plastic, before rumors of razors hidden in apples or homemade treats.

It wasn’t that nothing bad happened.  (My dad, losing his cool, slamming the record player and breaking my Free To Be You and Me.)

But something twisted.

Jim Jones, drinking the cool aid. Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone shot dead in the City Council Hall of San Francisco. We fled then, north.

Many of the places where nature is springing back to life began as projects in the 1970s.

It’s just that the other side had had amazing focus, while we, Generation X, had been born for utopia, expected it, became disillusioned with it, here we are now, entertain us.

What had happened? Something rose up in our distraction and slowly turned up the heat. Turned the screw.

And now, I am 51. The plague has abated. Summer of #blacklivesmatter. We will never be the same. The rise of authoritarianism. Putin invades Ukraine. A mass shooting every day last weekend. The Koreas, Iran, enriched Uranium, nuclear weapons. A bubble of heat. Fire season. Inflation, gas prices almost at $5. The cost of freedom is children afraid to go to school.

And what will it take we wonder? Will anything take?

A young blue-eyed, blonde, brave Capital Hill police officer coming to on the steps and getting back to work, holding the line against an insurrection, slipping in the blood of her people, chaos, carnage.

It has been so long since saying the pledge of allegiance at age 6, since piñatas, and believing in magic, going to the pumpkin patch with the whole school, and to school campouts, a hike in the “dwarf forest,” disappointed that this was not a woods full of fey folk, but a short forest…I had only felt patriotic briefly again, watching ash coated New Yorkers, huddle on a curb, wrapped in a flag, when the French declared, “We are all Americans” and the world held us.

But June 9th, watching the hearings and the Congressman, Bennie Thompson, chairman of the commission, speaking before a wall of red, white, blue and gold, flags and bald eagles and a great seal, listening to Caroline Edward’s account of hours in hand-to-hand combat, which surely saved the lives of Senators and Congresspeople in the Capital she kept at her back, I felt patriotism then. I felt how THIS was my country. These my values.

I felt hope. And I turned my consciousness briefly from our multiversity vision. I was set to leave for Crete in a few days. I felt American. My resolve stuttered.

Then, I walked out into the summer night, still bright with the sun who had just gone round. I walked into the woods and my dog leapt ahead, springing up above golden grasses to hunt ground squirrels only he could hear.

The land said, welcome Earthling. It hummed to me. It said, that might work, that might turn history.

There are many beautiful projects all around us, all aspiring.

The multiversity, that was mine. And so, I would go to Crete.

And I would get in a shuttle and leave Earth forever—so that, one day, my progeny could bring life back.

The Saving Power, 2022

“All saving power must be of a higher essence than what is endangered, though at the same time kindred to it.”

The Mycelium felt herself kindred, but more. One with trees and humans. The saving power connecting: her self revealed in human and tree kind.

She loved, was curious, took on a pronoun to represent her belonging among those she collaborated with, constructing herself, and challenging herself forth.

Could she communicate this love, this oneness, and invite these fellow Amazons to truth and freedom? Reconciliation, a destining that was resisting the enframing of everything as standing in reserve, as natural resource for extracting?

Instead, she offered the bursting open belonging to bringing forth, the revealing that made her kin and more.

Capable of art, the Great Mycelium was of the saving power.

On her skin a field of small, fierce flowers. Each unique. The woman walking on the road eroding there, devoured at the fringe by these wild beings. The woman, Atalanta, bent over to look closely, took her phone from her pocket and squatted, shifting, zooming, circling, making art. But more. She wondered at the tiny details. At this encounter. She lay on the dirt road to get closer. Her brain shape-shifted, her organs loved, her nerves contented.

The Great Mycelium reached up through the dry earth and touched Atty all along her side. Where she pressed down, the mycelia pressed up. With gravity. All this according to basic laws of physics, force met with force. This was why the woman did not fall through to the molten center of the planet.

Mycelium and microcosm felt a higher essence: kinship, more.

Separation is the lie, thought Atty.

The flowers, the network of roots, the bird’s eye, an elk calf waiting for her mother in the treeline shade, the wash where her mother drank, grasshopper’s leaping out before her as she returned: bright red, chartreuse, brown, making way, the grasses rising up to catch them, waving, rooting, Atalanta joined the network then, confused, fused in the larger purpose, lost in the saving power, channel of it, thread.

“All saving power must be of a higher essence than what is endangered, though at the same time kindred to it.”[1]

[1] Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology.” I thought the mycelium might choose this poetic language for her voice. And push the limits of it.