Earlier this year I added a sidebar for the most popular posts. So below is a list of what I think are the 5 best posts that are not in that Sidebar (as of December 2016):
This is the text of a little mini-zine that I’m working on. I plan to include some illustrations/ a poster as well as a little recommended reading list.
Earth and Humus hold a deep, intimate meaning for me that is hard to
describe. Awe, hope, meaning, a sense of joy, a vastness
and mystery similar to that of space or the abyssal ocean.
sustain all plant & animal life on earth and are themselves
teeming, darkly vibrant, full of life.
that once lived will live again through the steady transformative
actions of these intricate webs of grains of sand, particles of silt
and clay, water, fungal networks, microbial communes, worms and other
invertebrates. With time, in eons, even plastics will degrade. The
soil is patient.
and resourceful alchemists, fungi
and bacteria produce a stunning array of enzymes & acids with
which to break down almost any molecules. They
and the mosses and
lichens and pioneer
soil from bare rock.
networks, intricate webs of one cell thin strands called hyphae,
weave and burrow through the earth, connecting with plant roots,
receiving photosynthesised sugars and offering water, vital minerals
and protection against pathogens to trees, grasses and other plants.
These mycorrhizae connect plants of different species, enabling them
to exchange nutrients and information, nursing saplings or struggling
In this mini-zine I can barely
scratch the surface of the rich and multi-layered communities of soil
organisms, the amoebas, algae and other single-celled life, tiny wormlike nematodes, springtails,
waterbears, mites, pillbugs, millipedes, earthworms, snails &
slugs, insects and their brood, spiders and centipedes, moles and
shrews… breaking down shed leaves, old roots and wood, feeding on
each other and on excrements; building humus and a nourishing
habitat for seedlings and plant roots, the larger ones important prey
for birds, for badgers, hedgehogs and wild boars.
the soil, death and life are inextricably entwined, one becoming the
other almost imperceptibly.
Never sterile, soils and the
life within them know no dirt, no waste. Healthy soil communities can
degrade and bind toxins, aerobically digest dead things so they won’t
putrefy, and hold, store and cleanse water.
want to call them clean and pure, yet those words are ill-fitting, do
not quite encompass the richness of it. And
still, all that passes through them will be groomed, will be rotted
clean; a wordless quality of dark, decaying purity; a
tenderness and grace.
It seems to me that boundaries
are fleeting. Plants have endophytic fungi living within their
tissues, animals including humans have vast arrays of beneficial
microbes in our guts, on our skins without which we could not live.
Fungal mycelium weaves through the earth, around and into rocks and
roots, with symbiotic bacteria on each uncounted hyphal tip. Who is
to say where one ends and the other begins?
consider humans to be at the ‘top of the food chain’. This has
never made sense to me. Interwoven circles and webs stream to no
endpoint and know no hierarchies, hold no one thing superior to
beings of the soil support all other earth life in almost selfless
ways, creating ever richer, ever deeper humus in which to digest,
almost selflessly, the dead.