• Holocene
  • Bon Iver
  • Bon Iver

Someway, baby, it’s part of me, apart from me”
You’re laying waste to Halloween
You fucked it, friend, it’s on its head, it struck the street
You’re in Milwaukee, off your feet

And at once I knew I was not magnificent

There’s actually no such thing as an adult. That word is a placeholder. We never grow up. We’re not supposed to. We’re born and that’s it. We get bigger. We live through great storms. We get soaked to the bone. We realize we’re waterproof. We strive for calm. We discover what makes us feel good. We do those things over and over. We learn what doesn’t feel good. We avoid those things at all cost. Sometimes we come together: huge groups in agreement. Sometimes we clap and dance. Sometimes we look like a migration of birds. We need to remind ourselves—each other—that we’re mere breaths. But, and this is important, sometimes we can be magnificent, to one person, even for a short time, like the perfect touch—the first time you see the ocean from the middle. Like every time you see the low, full moon. We keep on eating: chewing, pretending we know what’s going on. The secret is that we don’t. We don’t, and don’t, and don’t. Each day we’re infants: plucking flower petals, full of wonder.
—   Micah Ling, from “Bon Iver: Holocene,” published in Hobart


Bon Iver - Holocene (cover by Evan Chapman)


When Did the Human Epoch Begin?

Many geologists believe that humanity’s imprint on Earth is clear enough to warrant the naming of a new epoch. Michelle Nijhuis writes:

Geologic time periods are usually bounded by markers in rock or ice: for instance, the beginning of our current era, the Cenozoic, is identified by a dusting of iridium that fell across the globe about sixty-six million years ago. (The element, otherwise rare in Earth’s crust, may have been dropped here by the same asteroid that purportedly killed off the dinosaurs.) The year 1610 is distinguished in Antarctic ice cores by a dip in atmospheric carbon dioxide. In the decades after the Europeans—and their germs—arrived in the Americas, some fifty million people died; huge swaths of abandoned farmland reverted to forest, and the trees absorbed more carbon than the crops. The year 1964, meanwhile, is discernible in rock layers by its high proportion of radioactive isotopes—fallout from nuclear-weapons testing.

Above: Tourists visit the the Mendenhall Glacier, in Alaska. Photograph by Matthew Ryan Williams/The New York Times/Redux