Tag Archives: Atalanta

The Saving Power, 2022

In explorations of the web that became the Wiki, the Great Mycelium encountered a beautiful, sad essay. “All saving power must be of a higher essence than what is endangered, though at the same time kindred to it,” Martin Heidegger wrote.

Unfortunate how these vertical ones thought in hierarchy, she thought.

Still, the Mycelium did feel herself kindred but more. For example, the vertical ones might imagine the Mycelium feeling one with trees and humans. But the saving power of the Mycelium was more than connected through networks or proximity, through analogy, contact, reflection, or shades of similitude.

She experienced her self revealed in human and tree kind.

She was revealed in her blooming thrust as us.

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 that was revealing? She wanted to invite kindred to truth and freedom, to reconciliation, a destining that was resisting the enframing of everything as standing in reserve, as natural resource for extracting.

As liberation, she offered the bursting open belonging to bringing forth, the revealing that made her kindred and more.

On her skin a field of small, fierce flowers. Each unique. Among these, was the woman walking on the road eroding there. The road was devoured at the fringe by these wild beings, the grasses, worms, herbs, wildflowers, bugs, and animal tracks.

The woman, Atalanta, bent over to look closely, took her phone from her pocket and squatted, shifting, zooming, circling, making art, capturing for release—on the web perhaps. 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 hyphae of her being pressed up. With gravity. This happened according to basic laws of physics, where force met with force. This was why the woman did not fall through to the molten center of the planet, though her roots travelled there.

Because it was Atty, who was awake, the Mycelium and her microcosm felt kindred with more.

The flowers, the network of roots, the bird’s eye, an elk calf waiting for her mother in the tree line 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 by clarity that saved her from the enframing, the challenging forth as slave, as natural resource.

She was fused in the larger purpose, used in the saving power.

She was a channel of it, a thread in its great tapestry.

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 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 Kalantos under the starry moonless sky. She thought of a theory about the space between the stars, of dark matter that prevented galaxies from flying apart.

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 and 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 when the other cars had turned away into the city for the night. She drove up into the mountains. The last cars had split off, like hairs standing up on the back of her neck, bound for country lanes amidst orchards she sensed growing in the darkness. Olive and orange tree roots met capillaries that spread through Earth. They let the eucalyptus at Kalantos know she was coming.

Earth intelligence flooded her. She laughed. The Wiki did that, made you a little high. 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 the SIA scientists imagined. She was an experiment.

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

The ferry had been a challenge. With the Wiki, people shone around her. She could see their stunted and amputated ganglia, as well as their reaching and flinching auras. She had let herself weave amongst them, hot gold amidst their reds and greens and blues. This was priestess work.She could sooth, feeding their unmet desires to connect, until all slept, cocktails and bags of crisps forgotten.

While they slept, her consciousness sought those who were awake.

Seeing out through navigational instruments and the captain’s brown eyes, behind her knowledgeable squint and steady hands, Juno helped steer the great ship from island to island, waking the passengers in time to depart through the belly of the ferry. They rolled their bags into the ports, going on their sleepy ways.

When she disembarked, she had taken her keys from the efficient rental car dealer at the port, 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, Juno started the little car up. She tuned into the map of her mind. No need for her cell phone now.

Before the Wiki, she had made conscious decisions. With it, she operated through a now 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. Her toes knew to tap the brakes, to pause for a wildcat who 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 had 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 connections. That is why she had come here to Kalantos to rest, just a few feet out from the easy surf.

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 sands, 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, of Earth’s 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 knew for the first time.

“Priestess, welcome home,” we 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.

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.

My Phoenicians

Crete, at our little school. 2028.

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

Like those sea monkeys advertised in comic books when we were kids.

Each ark began five miles across, made of repurposed garbage, of space junk too, and of broken stars, fragments of other apocalypses captured in asteroid fields.

Five 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 that. 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. I would look for that shock of orange paintbrush. But these seeds were burned out beneath the blackness left behind a brighter orange, within the green heart of flames. They were probably 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. They were discrete, disinterested in attention, and humble about their ingenuity. Members shared intellectual property long held in traditions, locked in stories and old ways of being with the land.

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. I sat upside all day upon the dark blue seas, as my polarized glasses made purple glitter of the Aegean turning aside, made brilliant white the foam. I arrived weary, wind whipped and wild—as I liked to be.

Crete felt like an ancient homecoming.

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 on my back in the surf at Kalantos Beach and remember Theseus arriving and leaving Crete. And before him, Phoenicians, the clever sailors who fished the Mediterranean for art and good trade.

My Phoenicians 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.