Tag Archives: Atalanta

The Wiki

Juno lay in her beloved body, naked on the subtle rise and fall of the Aegean. Her hair spread out over the surface, pulling gently at her scalp. She could hear the sands and stones moving on the sea floor. Her slim feet dangled from her knees in the dark water. That liquid resistance stroked her arches.

She wiggled her toes and felt the new presence there. The Wiki. Between her big toe and her first toe on her right foot.

Juno had returned to Crete in the early morning hours, stepped off the slow ferry into Iraklion and driven her rented Fiat down to Kommos under the starry moonless sky. She thought of something she now knew about the space between the stars: “evidence for dark matter comes from calculations showing that many galaxies would fly apart, or that they would not have formed or would not move as they do, if they did not contain a large amount of unseen matter.”[1]

She felt how she did not fly apart. She felt the network now interlacing itself into her vagus nerve, mirroring and tying into her body. Already the bottoms of her feet and the palms of her hands were tattooed with delicate patterns, like maps of neurons or of the web she had seen, could call up quickly now. Into her mind’s eye.

Driving here, she had felt the road and her car handling tightly, hugging curves and opening wide on the empty highway. She felt all of the other cars that had turned away into the city for the night as she drove up into the mountains. The last ones splitting off, like hairs standing up on the back of her neck, bound for country lanes amidst orchards she sensed growing in the darkness, their roots fit deep into Earth letting the eucalyptus at Kommos know she was coming.

The intelligence amazed her and flooded her. And she laughed. The Wiki did that. It was a side effect encouraged to counteract the negative effects of the fungi her body was integrating.

It would take time to process the massive download of information, or so they imagined. She was an experiment.

Just another transition in a long history of them, Juno thought.

The ferry had been a trip, all of the people shining out around her, their stunted and numbed and amputated ganglia, their reaching and flinching light. She had let herself weave amongst them, hot gold amidst their reds and greens and blues. Soothing, feeding their unmet desires to connect. Until all slept, cocktails and bags of crisps forgotten. Through the captain’s brown eyes and steady hands, behind her knowledgeable squint, Juno steered the great ship from island to island, waking the passengers in time to depart through the belly of the ferry, rolling their bags on their sleepy way.

She had taken her keys from the efficient rental car dealer, assuring him that yes, yes, she could drive stick. Why the United States had gone automatic, they agreed to wonder, shaking their heads. She felt his laugh push his sternum out into the space between them. Then storing her bag, started the little car up and tuned into the map of her mind.

Once a decision, now became a perfectly timed physical impulse. Her body drove the car and looked out to the night, sensing without needing to know that a car was approaching, then peeling off. To pause, for a wildcat would be walking across the road here. The kri kri, wild goat, would swerve at the sound of her engine and wind her way back up amongst the shrubs to seek her pre-dawn snack.

Juno’s foot pressed pedal to the floor and the wind whirled into her skin.

She was part satellite, part plant intelligence, retracing the routes of roads like filaments unto the sea, as the early morning darkness swelled with promise. A bumpy dirt road roared up at her with anticipation, until she parked. Barefoot, she walked the short distance over the coarse, cool sand, stripped off her travel heavy clothes, and slipped into summer warm waves.

Water worked as a buffer, not silencing but muting the noise of knowledge. That is why she had come here to Kommos to rest, just a few feet out from the easy surf.

That was why she was surprised when she heard her name called out over the water.

“Juno!” It was Xan.

“Juno!” It was Attie. Juno found her feet in the waves, felt the planet speak to her again, gently, just hushing her startled heart.

For the first time she could see these two women: the amber of Alexandra reading the mind of the galaxy, her faint and holographic memory of what was, of what would be, the licking of a snake’s tongue, our vague, terrifying future.

Atalanta’s indigo aura went deep down into the roots and out into nerves and hearts – of birds just waking into the new day. A cat laying casually at the edge of shrubs above the beach, lifted her eyes with Attie and looked at me too.

I saw how Juno for the first time knew. [Atalanta]

“Priestess, welcome home,” they said.

And we did not need to, but we reached out for one another’s hands, the cooled and solemn palms and fingers, the warmth of our blood, the meeting of green and brown and blue eyes. [Alexandra]

There is still nothing like hugging a dear friend, Juno thought, feeling more. She was now woven into the muscle and bone and minds of these women…with whom she was ready to travel to the stars.

Funny, she thought, how the teacher can feel like the student.

And in this moment, we all remembered, how arbitrary the structures on which we can arrange our relations.


[1] “Dark Matter” on Wikipedia. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter. Accessed: 10.04.2020.]

Crete

Crete, at our little school. 2035.

The arks now above us, planted with the “seeds” of everything on Earth. Some cultivated, much stored for when we returned in a millennium. Somehow our SIA scientists and the mycelium had found a way to freeze the genetic material of an entire planet in tiny packets that could bloom again.

I thought of sea monkeys I saw advertised in comic books as a kid.

(I am a historian, not a biologist! I don’t know. I know so little about what I am a part of.)

Each ark was five miles across, made of repurposed garbage, of space junk too, and of broken stars captured in asteroid fields, of the endings of earlier worlds.

“Sculptors of ruins,” Dido calls us.

She writes me from New York, saying “Today we live in the shadow world of what will soon be. Can we make it of ash? What other sources and seeds are there, in the place of no future? Love, amor, expansion, togetherness. It is what we have.”[1]

I say, Yes. We have made it of ash.

5 miles across: massive scale for a ship, but such small containers for a desperate world.

When the fires of 2020 blazed through the Pacific Northwest, I thought of Australia the winter before. The Amazon the summer before. We collectors grieved wilderness that raised us, places we had touched, creatures we had heard rustling there. Birds.

Or a place where bright flowers had yearly bloomed–shock of orange paintbrush. Now quiet. Burned out beneath the blackness left behind a brighter orange. Under the green heart of flames. Already choked in dust of drought before the blaze was even set.

But by 2019, Juno and the scientists of SIA were already ready. They had been combing those woods for years, carrying it all gently, lovingly, down into labs underground. Discrete, disinterested in attention, humble about their ingenuity. Codes for intellectual property long held in traditions, locked in stories and old ways of being with the land that the Western world could never have access to.

I joined the collectors on Crete soon after, shipping down from Athens on a slow ferry that dropped me off in the middle of the night. All day upon the dark blue seas, as my polarized glasses made purple glitter of it turning aside, made brilliant white the foam. Wind whipped and wild as I liked to be.

Crete felt like an ancient homecoming.

And the more I studied, the more I understood why. Our purpose, the great cycles of history and consciousness, also opened like the sea there will: suddenly to aquamarine shallows like sea beasts that heaved gently on rocks burned gold in Aegean sunlight.

I would lay naked on my back in the surf at Kommos Beach and remember Theseus arriving and leaving. And before him, Phoenicians, the clever sailors who fished the Mediterranean for arts and good trade.

They carried the tiny turtle islands, earth seeds, up into the heavens on ships that all believed transported garbage. They secreted them away on those temporary satellites, our arks, until we were ready to join them.

Meanwhile, I was part of a team of knowledge collectors, archivists, historians, and educators for schools of the refugees of capitalism, of climate change, of authoritarianism, of militarism, of colonialism, of toxic masculinity and white supremacy. Children who had come across the dark seas, in the night, at great cost and their mothers, their queer uncles, their trans-aunts.

We are all orphans of these forces we called the isms, all survivors. From our suffering and our healing we developed curriculum for the newcomers to our shores—in hopes of healing trauma, lest we build from it and build new monsters.

How to transform survivalism into utopias? This would be our project.

We would try and try many ways, fail, and try again. But the children remembered and they taught us much of the time before birth. We began to piece the great hologram together, the faint complete picture on each of the elements that made us, becoming clearer.

In a practical sense, we were creating a massive database. We were learning and saving all the tongues of our planet to keep them safe and return them one day, to let them loose on Earth’s winds long after we died and went into the soil to feed the Great Mycelium of our arks.

Our priestesses would carry the knowledge we gathered and the visions we dreamed on tiny implants that woke their minds, wove them back into the collective consciousness.

We would be remembered forever there.

As would Earth.


[1] Lines from a friend’s note. Macarena Gómez-Barris, September 11, 2020.