primordial forest

TIKKI

Kwami of Creation & Fortune, mother of the fae, spring of new life and protector of peace.

This ephemeral being drifts through the primordial forests, flowers and new life blossoming in her footsteps. Those who lay eyes upon her are said to be blessed with tranquility and prosperity. But the carapace of the lady is as hard as steel, and when the skies are darkest, the queen is ready for war.

I was talking to a friend who was feeling down about human-caused global climate change. “It may be,” I told a friend in London as we walked across Tower Bridge, “that our ticket was punched before we ever got started.” While there is no doubt we’re cutting our time on earth shorter through carbon emissions and the destruction of the ecology, it might be that our species was never going to make it past the end of the womb of our ice-age birth. I explained this, about how fragile an organism we are, and how the ice ages cycle. She laughed, she was used to my strange form of hope.

“You have to choose to have hope, or just jump out of a window,” a person I was interviewing once told me, a person who’d been accused of techno-utopianism. We were walking along the California coast hills at sunset, talking about all the ways our technological lives could go wrong, and the many ways it is going wrong. He wasn’t utopian, it turned out, he’d thought of the worst long before his detractors had. He’d decided to try to head it off, instead of jumping out of a window.

We are diseased and angry and we kill each other and ourselves and all the world. We are killing off life on Earth like a slow moving asteroid. I try to look at this, and my own part in it. Sometimes it is overwhelming. I feel so powerless trying to comprehend all the terrible things we face, much less get past them into our future, with our humanity and our inconceivably beautiful little blue-green planet preserved.

All these grown-up monsters for my grown-up mind, they are there in the nights I wake up terrified and taunted by death. When I feel so small and broken, when despair and terror take me, I have a secret tool, a talisman against the night. I don’t use it too often so that it doesn’t lose its power. I learned it on airplanes, which are strange and thrilling and full of fear and boredom and discomfort. When I am very frightened, I look out the window on airplanes and say very quietly:

I have seen the tops of clouds

And I have. In all the history of humanity, I am one of the few that has seen the tops of clouds. Many would have died to do so, and some did. I have seen them many times. I have seen the Earth from space, and spun it around like a god to see what’s on the other side. We are the only consciousness we’ve ever found that has looked deep into the infinite dark, and instead of dark, we saw galaxies. Galaxies! Suns and worlds beyond number. We have looked into our world and found atoms, atomic forces, systems that dance to the glorious music of the universe. We have seen actual wonders that verge on the ineffable. We have coined a word for the ineffable. We have coined thousands of words for the ineffable. In our pain we find a kind of magic, in our worst and meanest specimens we find the flesh of a common human story. We are red with it.

I know mysteries that great philosophers would have died for, just to have them whispered in their dying ears. I can look them up on my smartphone. I live in the middle of miracles, conceptions and magics easily worth many lifetimes to learn, from which I can pick and choose. I have wisdom and knowledge poured around me like a river, more than I could learn in a thousand lifetimes, and I am still alive. It is good that I am alive, it is good that we are alive. Even if we kill ourselves off with nuclear fire, or gray goo, or drown ourselves in stinking acid oceans, it is good that we have lived, that we did all of this, and that we grew into what we are, and learned to dream of what we could be. The only thing we can say for sure is that we will die, but we will die having gone so far above our primordial ponds and primate forests that we saw the tops of clouds.

The professor who teaches metalworking and shop classes gets called the Old Professor, but he isn’t old. At least, he doesn’t look it. He gets called the Old Professor, but he calls himself Sequoia.

Sequoia is eight feet tall, with metal in his eyes and kindness in his hands and silence in his mouth. You’re a psych major without a drop of poetry in your soul but when you first heard his voice, something in your lizard-brain said “this is what a forest’s voice would sound like.”

There are indeed forests, inked into his dark brown arms - woods going up into misty mountains, ancient trees in forests primordial growing amongst ferns the size of houses, twiggy saplings rearing their heads above the fertile ash of pyroclasric flow.

There’s probably iron in the ink, an art major tells you. “Lots,” says another, subdued. “Red caps chased me to the shop building. He caught the leader by the arm and…I saw it burn.”

You don’t believe that, but it makes you shiver anyway. Even if his touch did burn Them, wouldn’t it be from the iron in his skin thanks to his line of work?

Among his red-black locs are iron rings made from old nails, silver rings so pure one of Them grumbled to you that they sing, and beads of green sea-glass and jade and one glittery chartreuse pony bead that Jimothy gave him in exchange for a whole sack of red ones. He’s free with the rings (usually to students) and the glass (usually to Them) but he treasures that damn ugly little plastic bead and you’ve seen him press it lightly to his mouth when he’s thinking.

Sequoia must have been a false name when he chose it. You don’t think anyone on campus would claim it is now. Really, you find that the most telling thing of all - though what it tells, you’re never sure.

But there is kindness in his hands, and welcome in his silence, and when you’ve all but fallen through his doorway with the tang of blood in the back of your throat from running and the sound of hooves behind you (not running; it would have been less frightening if whatever was back there had bothered to RUN) there is tea in his hands too, and you feel the hollow in your chest begin to heal as you pour out your story and your terror to a watchful face full of quiet interest and altogether free of judgement.

[x]

2

Salt shaker. Want the story? OK.

So, this particular thrift store was in the middle of nowhere, Texas. Surrounded by primordial forest. The hand-painted sign outside the beat-up building listed much stuff inside and one of the items was misspelled, I forget what.

I couldn’t say no, right?

The proprietor was a weird old man with tons of energy and some missing teeth. He prevailed upon me to go outside, to the outbuildings in back. “That’s where the real good stuff is!” 

I walked out there alone and saw seven corrugated tin shacks, big ones. Doors were all open but there was no electricity. Did I mention it was hotter than hades? 

Everything inside these big shacks was helter-skelter. Computer books from the 80s, cassette tapes, mah-jongg, cutlery. Piled high on rickety card tables, 1970s weighs-a-ton furniture, car hoods. And it was hot. Oh my gosh, it was hot.

All I wanted was to get out of there. I was thirsty but I had no water and I didn’t want to ask the weird old man for a drink. But first I had to find something to photograph. One thing. For the blog. So, slowly at first, I began shuffling crap.

And then I picked up the pace. Faster and faster. SO HOT. Sweat was pouring off me, staining some bullshit Herbie Hancock book that I *almost* photographed but discarded. Not good enough.

Nothing. So I walked to the next shack. 

And the next.

And the next.

Finally I stood in the last tin hot house, throwing crap everywhere, screaming “WHERE IS IT? WHERE IS IT?!! IT’S GOT TO BE HERE!!!!!!!!!” Dehydration had made me demented, crazed, an animal. But still there was only awful stuff that should have been in a landfill: 1960s milk bottles, an ugly porcelain baby’s pacifier, stuffed tomatoes that upon inspection were ratty sewing pincushions, cheap-o water glasses. Where does this old guy buy all this garbage, I wondered. And why does he keep it?

I nearly swooned and fell down. I realized I had been in these corrugated prisoner-of-war hothouses for hours. But I would not give up. 

And then, as if by divine mercy, I saw this little angel salt shaker. So tiny–couldn’t hold more than a teaspoon of sel. Two holes atop its little head. Somehow, it was perfect. I cried, I was so happy. I knew it! I knew it was here!

And I do realize in retrospect that this salt shaker is “blah,” especially for the (dare I say) high standards of this blog. However, at the time, I truly thought I’d discovered the Grail. I was so ecstatic I wanted to buy the thing, for any price the old man asked. But back in the store, he had disappeared. Where? There was nowhere to go, except the woods. 

Finally, I couldn’t wait any longer. I set the little salt shaker reverently upon the man’s ancient cash register, strolled out, got in my vehicle, and drove away.

I did it for you.

Eurosong's ESC '17 ranking and commentary

Good afternoon, folks! The clock is ticking down to the final and it’s now about that time of the year where I unleash my commentary on all the songs. I tried to limit myself to a few sentences per song, but since there´s 42, this will doubtless be considered by some as a big read. Tongue in cheek in part but very candid about my views on some of the songs - don’t proceed if you don’t want to see a few songs savaged. As the ancient Romans said, de gustibus non est disputandum, and these are just my views and tastes.

1 Portugal
From which planet did this extraterrestrial talent come and why do his people want to break our hearts so exquisitely? I cannot speak highly enough of these three perfect minutes of melancholy, longing, and yet, at the same time, love and hope. This performance speaks to the soul so intimately. It is a pure and timeless composition that I feel like I’ve known all my life, but have been waiting all this time to hear. Extraördinary and twelve cuts above everything else in the contest in my eyes.

2. Hungary
How I love the fearless Magyars and their tendency to dance to the beat of their own drums, sending things that sound like nothing else in the contest. This is one of the most emotional performances in the contest and certainly one of the most meaningful lyrics - talking about the prejudice he faced as a Romani and the salvation he found in songwriting. The music is a sui generis blend of rap, traditional folk and other elements - and the pure passion invested into the lyrics and their delivery gives me goosebumps.

3 Belarus
This is what three minutes of unshackled, care-free joy sounds like. Naviband are adorable, their chemistry pure, and their song is so full of joie de vivre. I feel like I’m out in the primordial forests of Belarus hearing the call of the ancients.

4 Armenia
Another nation keen to exhibit its traditional music in curious new blends is Armenia, who this year bring us something that sounds at once distinctly Caucasian and East Asian. A curious mélange of genres and influences make this almost as far as you can get from the tired “Melfest reject” mould. I love the non-linearity of this song, and the æthereal feel that makes the song feel like a forgotten psalm to the gods. Great effort.

5 Iceland
If you combine dark but infectious electro beats with some of the most subtly meaningful lyrics of the contest, you get this, in my book, one of Iceland’s best contributions to the contest in some time. Svala’s song is very personal to her and, through an extended metaphor, talks about struggling with accepting yourself for who you are. A very underrated track in my eyes.

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anonymous asked:

Okay. This might sound stupid but I seriously don't understand why Cas leaves Dean. As in the infamous crypt scene where Dean confessed his feelings. And then again where he leaves to hunt Lucifer directly after he tells Mary he thinks he doesn't belong. Also when Dean is talking to Cas about his mother living in the bunker and how awkward it is and Cas just says something and hangs up on him. I mean why!? Why!? Doesnt Cas love Dean?!! 😭😭😭😫😫😫😑

Hey! Apologies for getting to this so late - Christmas has turned into the freaking apocalypse around here (but, then again, that’s sort of our Christmas family tradition, so I feel both resentful and weirdly reassured and thank God for raw cookie dough).

So, first things first - Cas does love Dean. Cas loves Dean very much. In fact, Cas loves Dean so much he can’t focus on anything else, which means he can’t function, which means he’s useless and broken, because angels are not people - as far as we know, they were never supposed to have free will and were created to obey orders and carry out missions, so if they aren’t capable of doing that - then what? If your laptop stopped working and started doing its own random thing instead (and, I don’t know, set fire to the whole house just to save one beetle trapped against a window), you wouldn’t keep it around, right? You’d bring it back to the factory and have it reset.

(Or, as it happened in this amazing fic, you’d fall in love with it and then hate yourself, because, yeah, that’s not normal until it is.)

So, no - if Cas walks away, it’s not because he doesn’t love Dean. 

Mostly, Cas walks away because he doesn’t feel like he deserves to be there (and Dean’s understated signals are not strong enough for him to pick up). In his mind, he hardly deserves to exist, let alone to live a life of diner food and Star Wars marathons with the Winchesters in the Bunker. I mean, Cas failed as an angel - apparently, he fucked up every single mission he was ever given, had to be tortured into obedience way too many times to count, and yet he kept fucking up and now his brothers hate him and even God himself didn’t bother to acknowledge him in any way. And Cas also failed as a human, so much so even Dean sent him away. He failed as a hunter, he failed as a guardian angel, he failed as a surrogate father (look at Claire and how her family was torn apart and destroyed). And, well, he failed as a friend, because he couldn’t protect and keep safe those people he loves most in the world.

(This is not the way I see it, obviously, but from what we know, it’s definitely how Cas feels.)

And, well - some of it is all Cas - we know that ‘too much heart’ was always his problem, after all - but lately, every single ‘wrong’ choice Cas has made, he made because of Dean, from rebelling against Heaven to hurting Sam to letting loose an ancient and terrifying force whose only purpose was to swallow the world whole. Because Cas is learning feelings from Dean, so it doesn’t matter if the actual responsibilities are much harder to pin down - Cas will think it’s his fault, because without him Sam would never have managed to save his brother and the correct course of action in that situation was Death’s, not Cas’: Dean sent to space somehow, or to some alternate dimension of primordial forests and loneliness, and Sam - Cas could have erased Dean form Sam’s mind, just like he erased him from Lisa’s and Ben’s.

(As for his own mind - yeah.)

But, of course, Cas couldn’t do it. And those people who died? On him. Lucifer out of the Cage? On him. And you could argue many of Cas’ ‘mistakes’ are now old history, but in my opinion - we are human - we are designed to forget and overcome and heal - our pain blurs, bad memories fade, mistakes are excused and buried. But Cas - Cas is a machine, and all the things he’s done, all the choices he’s made, every single angel he killed, every person who died on his watch, every single flower which withered and wilted and got extinct - also that one Tongtianlong limosus who stumbled and fell and drowned in a bog, his wings flailing uselessly, his mind a black music of urgency and panic - all those creatures Cas had to kill or couldn’t save - they’re all right there, and Cas can’t let go, and he doesn’t know how to get over it -

(“We were supposed to be their shepherds.”)

- and it plain hurts. And Dean is not helping, because every damn step of the way, Dean wordlessly confirms that yeah, this is completely normal, man, and welcome to the fucking club (feeling guilty about everything, giving up on the stuff you want, because you were never supposed to get it; always putting others first).

So, to answer your questions more specifically -

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The quick grey lynx has chased and hunted after the white snow-hare for eons. On a winter’s night millenia ago, before the moon or even the stars were alive to color the night sky, the white hare bounded in the blackness of the primordial forest with the silver lynx in hot pursuit.

The hare was fast and white as lightening, bright fur gleamed in the darkness of the prehistoric night. The green eyes of the lynx glowed furtively behind her, goading her forward across snow drifts and fallen branches.

The hare’s strength began to fail her, and she cried out in desperation to the heavens for salvation from the hungry lynx. With the remainder of her strength the hare sprung up, and up, into the sky, white fur still gleaming in the dark. She settled there, far beyond the reach of the lynx’s claws, and became the moon.

The lynx however does not surrender his dinner so easily. On clear nights when the winds that blow between the earth and the stars hits the pale blue arc of atmosphere that encloses the world below- green and yellow lights begin to dance in the northern sky.

This is the eyeshine of the green eyed lynx as he stalks his prey the eternal lunar hare across the bend of the heavens, forever hunting the moon as she leaps across the sky.

Quiet slow steps on lush foliage, eyes wide and focused to take in the light of the prey, a feathered meal in waiting… A tale well known by anyone who knows cats. This saber-toothed feline takes advantage of a preening bird who feels a little too safe in the treetops of this primordial forest. Pay attention bird, your doom is just a few feet away!

This one is for Spottacus, of his saber-toothed cat, Toofs. Played with some fun new brushes on this one, and exactly zero texture/photographic elements this time!

27 hours in Photoshop CS6 with an Intuos 3 tablet

yeah but do you ever stop to think about how nerve endings

and trees

and lightning

all have similar shapes

i mean fuck that ‘you are made of the sea and the stars’ shit

you are not far away or made of a giant body of water

you are a human being

you have life and feelings and nature and the unholy power of a storm brewing and pulsing right underneath your skin

you are right here

and you are beautiful