Sensitive to others' opinions and easily hurt. normal again. Hard to think. undergrowth. See life as a struggle for financial security. and I couldn't cry and if I tried to come it was like a tendril of porcelain. I'm hungry and I know I am far from food. lack selfesteem and want to prove sel£ Feel the disappointment and unhappiness that was present in childhood. and dislike going out. 'Tbe sound of traffic and The drums slow in tempo aeroplanes. become violent and obstinate. I: . A muddy Allow my functions to grind plateau. Falling fast. out of it. meticulous. not outside. All of these Leaning against barbed wire. A wicked witch's spell. forecast. Ijust splintered a little. I think I'm surrounded by blizzards. Set high goals. A ruined house. There is snow But I was frozen. until nothing. And I can set A cold east wind. No snow here though. dislike routine. yet feel that nothing is right. I'm waiting here patiently Tiny flakes fall. Emerge blinking from the woods. The cloud departs: a trailing ghost. Fit and healthy. I was a solid man. prefer daylight to darkness. deny that anything is wrong and refuse to see a doctor. A sign. Caves everywhere. Frozen ruts. thorns. Something was cold and it was inside. Perhaps fortunately. A frozen ending. Grey feathers spread across the moss. critical. Scattering every Red against pale green. I wish it would snow. I lose my way. Restless. Branches glow in the sunlight. It was like a place where someone had poked me with an icicle. the woods. The days passed like they do and Ijust got colder. restless and hard to please. cannot understand what is wrong. Great fear of poverty even if financially successful. A snowy path. No shelter. I want to lose myself in a blizzard. when ill. an excessive sense of' duty. woods no access. with extreme sensitivity to light. strong. Fear the supernatural. A which way. Sun in the distance.One swoops over. His giant fingers siren. driving ambition leads to workaholism. all around me. Prefer to be left alone. I'm becoming a snow man. Then all can become A bird dips then plummets. Just distant traffic and birds speaking to one another. Look out at the sky from the top of this hill. Cold dead for His finger to reach inside skin. Grey sky. Whipped by twinkling. I didn't sneeze any more. morose and have a morbid imagination. irritable. energetic mind and body. I dread other humans. about forgetting. ] didn't know what it was. feelings finally paralysed by Two flocks of birds. Spend hours frantically sorting things out. React badly to shock and have intense fears. reliable. noone noticed and everything Walk up a long ago road carried on being normal and covered with moss into as it should be. Walk into an abandoned quarty. Very materialistic. but tend not to accomplish much. slowly but surely to a halt. especially Fairy Dust of being in a crowd. but it was a kind of persistent thing that I couldn't quite ignore. Walk into it. eyes watering from the cold wind. hopeless. have very fixed ideas. Snow faster and faster. A golf course. Can lead to clinical depression and suicide.+ Frozen Everything was normal and as it should be until one day Iwoke up and there was something wrong. movement or being touched. Hands too cold almost. Sit on a dead tree. Ont of it. Hypnotic. out again. far off touched the end of the street All around the crows and slowly but completely every living and inanimate shout about me. This will be over soon. agitated behaviour. Push through spiny me and freeze my blood too. A circle of hot surface. Irritable and dissatisfied. above the fractal forms crawling the bypass. in it. noise. My shadow clear as summer but Snow down my neck. lively and entertammg. May become despairing. always feel as if havent done as well as should. need stimulation and have trouble getting up in the morning. bite or kick. Restless. A splinter of winter. Illness characterised by restless. You could throw rocks at me and it didn't hurt at all. No matter how ill. Into the woods. An unattended inevitably over every living fire dying. the sun still out. private Hannt Desire company. May hit. A beak God's got the fairy dust bloody flesh still attached. greyash. Friendly and open. tapping on my coat. nervous. A dark pubic thicket in the crotch of a beech. Warm air that smells of blood drifts out and I'm too scared to go very far m. Snagged thing fell into sparkling and by brambles. Clean-living. Watching valleys full of snow blow towards me. The cold spread until I was like a sculpture of ice.

A giant turtle's eyes. Don't let it blow your mind. Why does this not add up? A spider to a fly. Like I've fallen out of bed from a long and vivid dream.' Distances and time "Listen to your heart!" The wind takes all the leaves.. how And then it will take me. As open as the sky. Like I've fallen out of bed from a long and vivid dream. Your rules do not apply. I've been carrying . The holes we measure out.. No need to pull that face. "So wby does this still hurt?" Don't blow YOUf mind with why. All I want is the moon upon a Moving out of orbit. every gesture. Falling: off a giant bird that's been carrying me. Always I'm before you. Just to see W ha tis. Falling off a giant bird that's been carrying me. Finally I'm free of all the weight I've been carrying . The cards that have been dealt out. are we today? The parts we have to play. A universal sigh. It's like I've fallen out of bed from a long and vivid dream. It's what keeps me alive. head. Don't blow your mind with why. Now you've stolen all my magic I cannot help but laugh. None of this stuff is mine. I've my heart in my mouth. Finally I'm free of all the weight N a need to pull that face.. Don't look so serious. Slowly we unfurl as lotus flowers. 'Just to feed your fast ballooning Precious little time. Just exactly as I remember. As open as the sky. Across a great divide.+ Good morning Mr Magpie. I throw my arms wide. I can't kick the habit 'Just to feed your fast ballooning head. Ours not to reason why. every gesture. Slowly we unfurl as lotus flowers. Your rules do not apply. The cards that have been dealt out.. It's what keeps me alive. Jellyfish float by. I've my heart in my mouth. Turning in somersaults. Open our mouths wide. Turning in somersaults. Jellyfish float by. I throw my arms wide. A giant turtle's eyes. The holes we measure out. Why does this not add up? Don't let it blow your mind. Just exactly as I remember. Moving out of orbit. Don't let it blow your mind. It's like I've fallen out of bed from a long and vivid dream. A universal sigh. Just to see what is. 'hanging from the trees. long and vivid dream. A giant turtle's eyes.' "Listen to your heart!" ROOT OF ROOTS RAGNOROK URPFLANZE THE KING OF LIMBS . Good morning Mr Magpie. Open your heart and smile.. N one of this stuff is mine. Don't look so serio LIS. The current's just too strong. Why does this not add up? A spider to a fly. The sweetest flowered fruits were hanging from the trees. Just to see what if. and took my melody? Don't let it blow your mind. Every word. Good morning Mr Magpie. stick. Don't blow your mind with why.. The current's just too strong. Across a great divide The words between the lines. You got some nerve coming here. I can't kick the habit Where er'r the current flows. I'm reeling with this feeling. how are we today? You know you should but you don't. Across a great divide. All I want is the moon upon a stick. Ours not to reason why. Just to see what if. The sweetest flowered fruits were . A giant turtle's eyes. how are we today? Now you've stolen all my magic and took my melody? You got some nerve coming here. Like I've fallen out of bed from a long and vivid dream. You stoic it off give it back You stole it off give it back. You know you should but you don't . Always I'm before you. Like I've fallen out of bed from a Open your heart and smile. Every word. A universal sigh. Across a great divide The words between the lines.

This is then used to raise a climbing rope into the tree. nor any honey. in particular the scientists who research the redwoods of California and. Once in the canopy. Blackbirds fussing in the leaf litter. once a grey partridge. venturing anxiously from cover. nothing difficult in its ascent. Most of that height is branchless trunk. in that aerial world.in an adolescent huf£ climbs a tree on his father's forested estate and vows never to set foot on the ground again. a soft marine roar. Up there. To the west over corduroy fields was a main road. These latter-day spider-men have developed exceptional techniques of ascent. either. concrete and tarmac . John Muir had swarmed up a hundred-foot Douglas Spruce during a Californian windstorm.+ REB CLIMBING. then comes a flaring crown.of leaf fretting on leaf. but exciting. People don't generally expect to see men in trees. elm and holm oak. however slight. A deep-chested Hercules aeroplane was descending towards the airfield on the city's outskirts. and put my feet on either tine of the fork. at first light. so that soon the summit of the beech Was creaking back and forth. with its limbless lower trunk and prickly fruit. 'the whole mass of which was kindled into one continuous blaze of white sun-fire!' halo Calvina had written his magical novel. He keeps to his impetuous word. Above a road-verge to the east. I had climbed it in winter. moving for miles between olive. I had climbed it many times. Thirty feet up. wrens which whirred from twig to twig so quickly they seem to teleport. and branch rubbing on branch.the need for a wild place of some kind. Debris was beginning to drop from the moving canopy: twigs and beech nuts. Directly north was the hospital. its three-piped incinerator tower rising far higher than my hill-top tree. dusk and glaring noon. Cosimo. My weight and movement had made the tree-top rock. scored with a knife into the trunk years before. I was fond of it. I also came to admire some of tree-climbing's serious contemporary exponents. which we had defended successfully against years of pirate attack. more of a mast-top" crow's-nest in a sea swell. and its marks were all familiar to me. it had no notion of me. the letter 'H'. for I had been at a school that had a wood for its playground. its wings shivering with the strain. And I had climbed it in monsoon rain. re-started. and real crows' nests black in the branches of nearby trees. Birds don't generally expect to see men in trees. bright cold blue.and planes. fading to milk at its edges. The wind was rising. I could hear the noise of the wood in the Wind. some of whose names I knew: Mag's Hill Wood. its grey bark has sagged and wrinkled. no biological revelation at its summit. Or rather. brick. people out walking would . its tail feathers flared out like a hand of cards. cherry. Anyone who lives in a city will know the feeling of having been there too long. Nine Wells Wood. and then field-edge paths through hedgerows of hawthorn and hazel. It was the immense compound noise of friction . sometimes pass underneath without noticing me. Oregon. From that height. The sky was a. We had climbed and christened the different trees. Not an observatory that day.well. I could see a kestrel riding the wind. At about ten feet. The gorge-vision that streets imprint on us. my father had built me and my brother a tree-house in the garden. I liked the lithe springiness of the silver birch. At home. there is a branch that crooks sharply back on itself. I walked up through the wood. higher still is the healed stump of a missing bough. whose young hero. Above all. I had found that if I set my back against the trunk. If I remained still for a few minutes. with the wood cold as stone to the touch. nameless fragment of beechwood. Wormwood. but also its tremendous canopy. the sense of blockage. The Baron in The Trees. Around the base of its trunk. I entered the wood by its sou them corner. I walked there. In my late twenties. describing arcs of five or ten degrees. which has ballooned with the growth of the tree. with water falling in rods thick enough for the eye to see. the land was laid out beneath me like a map. There was nothing unique about my beech tree. whose branches flare out in such a way that it is easy to climb. And I found that the horse chestnut. Dispersed across it were more fragments of woodland. and no danger either. I had learned to discriminate between tree species. I steadied myself in the observatory. it was a way of defraying the city's claims on me. so that it resembles the skin on an elephant's leg. brushing snow from the branches with my hand. I had begun to climb trees again. and midway along its northern edge I came to my tree . their rope-skills are so great that they can move about safely and almost freely. they have discovered a lost kingdom: a remarkable and entirely unstudied ecosystem. I explored the literature of tree-climbing: not extensive. the giant redwood. Just for the fun of it: no ropes. busy with cars. can grow to over three hundred feet high. I had climbed the tree many times before. and looked out over the simmering countryside. and looked out over a forest. and the wind exaggerated the rock. From a quarter of a mile away. the alder and the young cherry. where the bark is smoother and silver. Sequoia semperivens. offered the tree-climber both a difficulty and an incentive. I could stay comfortable there. Climbing the tree was a way to get perspective. Robert Macfarlane is the author of 'The Wild Places'. Rooks haggled in the air above the trees. But it had become a place to think. In the course of my climbing. I had climbed it in early summer. the longing for surfaces other than glass. and ends up living and even marrying in the canopy. It lies south of the city. a mile from my home: a narrow. They use a bow and arrow to fire a pulling line up over a firm branch. with heat jellying the air and the drowsy buzz of a tractor audible from somewhere in the vast nearby fields. and it . pattering down onto the coppery layer of leaves. and fought for their control in territorial conflicts with elaborate rules and fealties. dense with branches. near the summit of the beech.a tall grey-barked beech. . Sunlight fell in bright sprees on the floor. callous bark . I avoided pines brittle branches. A roost. the birds would return. topping a shallow hill. following streets to the city's fringe. I reached what I had come to call the observatory: a forked lateral branch set just below a curve in the trunk. I had started climbing trees about three years earlier. above that. If I remained still for longer. to look down on a city that I usually looked across. so I went to the wood.

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I SHALL BE BAOK FOR YOU. ANOTHER COl N FOR THE YOU AFiE OUT OF YOUFI DEPTH PULL YOUFISELF MERRY TOCETHEFI C 0 RDUND before with a unwrap scatter scatter to ash of touch In me ink ink I WILL TAPE MYSELF UP BUILD MYSELF A RAFT TRDMWHATEVER IS HANCINC AROUND AND PUSH OFF FROM OUR IMAGINARY DESERT ISLAND THAT I FORCOTTO TELL YOU EXISTED. AT LEAST TO ME· WI H ALL THE STRENCTHI HAVE LEFT IN ME LET THE CURRENTS AND FORCES OF NATURE DD WHAT THEY WILL HAVINC NO INTEREST IN THEIR WHOLESOME FUCKING WORTHY FLUORESCENT REALITY WISH YOU WELL LIKE A BRAVE TIN SO DIER . am bock future open anything is 0 s s 0 s s we turn lightness this page the the a I fail to comprehend what compels me on jump between the lines hole stone all along the underground WEATHER COMING THROUGH THE WINDOWS HAVE TO GET THESE THEY THERES BUT FLAP NO IN ONE YOU THE LEFT WINDOWS RAIN IN AND REPLAOED AND THE WIND.+ AM SOUND AM LIVING HOUSES FlElOS ROADS HURTliNG SOLImFY SPlITING LIKE A ARE ARE LIKE A CLICHES MUG GHOST CRUMBS WAllPAPER SCARS DISSOLVING dUST SAY WHERE YOU WANNA'BE dumb words are all I have feeble and undressed THROUGH VAPOURS mSSOlVE GHOST GRASP RArT ANTS CRUMBS WAllPAPER ARE LIKE SCARS AND ONTO PEOPLE ARE I A ARE All THOUGHTS ARE TRANSPARENT YOU ARE A LIVING I CLAW CLING THE HOUSES FIELDS ROADS The Book Of the book of forgiveness I the book of request the book of the dream that was ok the book of the dark underbelly the book of apologies the book of replacement the book of unreal the book of autosave the book of wallpapers the book of disconnect the book of teleportation the book of my own thoughts I'll take you anywhere you want to go. windows in the dark lost to the wind TURN ON A TURNING WHEEL someone has cut a and thrown the first with no effort at OPEN. NO MORE HIDING. HOUSE HER. I can turn you on and I can make you happy. the bot tom of your ch in the straightening of your neck a laugh stretched on your lips I the and p p child mouthed possible b I e I b e LIE DOWN.

descriptions of trees: to be and the air was alive with 'grounded' and 'well rooted. to the little motorized dugout canoes which zip up and search for someone's spirit down the rivers of the and to bring it back strong. Forests are rich in all the· psyche's expressions of art. people have trusted forest surged with life. its soul shamans who worked and I needed that so badly with the formidable mind. Shamans consider that then a peque peque: one of their job is to travel in the landscape of the mind. and the whole seeking truths. loss.' We speak of the 'tree watching. Meanwhile. as if the hemlock and stars. One of the shamans chanted incantations. then f rom the shadows. bulldozing the Sydney Opera House and torching the scores of Mozart. the songs or icaros which are the song lines of the Amazon. I felt as if I was not only drinking the forest but hearing its essence. elastic and gently energetic as a sapling sprung with green meaning. wide expanse. as someone might plead for help. language and culture. quiet almost to inaudibility. we walked to the shamans' centre. of sap and the sour smell of Forests have long been a mossy fetid pool. a lifeline. Station announcements fall silent. and it was as if I were me to go with him to the drinking in something of its Peruvian Amazon to visit essence. Step across the boundary and the trespass of story will begin.' I remember saying that word as if my life depended on it and perhaps I'll never know it did. a long night of the mind Intriguingly.' The deforestation of the Amazon is also a deforestation of the human mind.the warmth and breath knew my situation of the forest. where every way you look seems closed off to you: No is written on all sides. Amazon. The Amazon has its artists. my psyche unhappily From Lima. One tree's bark smelt of nutmeg. cocooning a111 a perceptive human head. Across the world. as bitter human race has always as the one. where melody is more like scent. its spirit. Sadhus have always retreated to the forests for wisdom. Zurrumurru . and the destruction of the Amazon is like napalming the Berlin Philharmonic. musicians and philosophers who intricately link the forests with the pathways of the mind. The song lay in hot silence for a while. we settled and steadfastness. Native Americans honoured the idea of a Sacred Tree. I could linked to the psyche. Hush. Palm fronds rattled in the see trees as good ways of hot moist air. and literally and metaphorically.' able both to 'stand firm' smells. but whispered because whispering was all I could manage. came a tiny leaf sprout of song. I was surrounded 'Yes. of knowledge' and trees have long been associated with wisdom. bites you There are some terms of well-being then strokes you with leaves psychological which can sound like soft as a kitten's ears. I said it with my eyes shut. The shaman fell quiet for a while. the forest night was quite literally en-chanted. a sweet resin in the air from an unseen tree. I would never journey and yes to the story because sometimes the tree have used the term soulof life may be a literal thing. and it seems a human universal to almost smell the sunlight. rooted in brown leaf-mould and thirsty for I . or as a cmld would make a wish or as a singer might close their eyes at the most significant note of the song. The medicine they 'tree'. similar to rustling. melody winding into leaf This music was green and vivid and was so strongly suggestive of plants that I lelt myself plantlike. and in a whistle I heard a wisp of slender stem. from his own locale. Shamans are the forest's doctors and therapists. unsung. Quiet. and then the music grew.' they said. 'We are the land. in the Basque language. we took a lost and lonely. Although it is the Song lines of Aboriginal Australia which are the most famous. Trains grow quiet. but that was what I felt.+ -JAY GRIFFITHS An anthropologist who' '·by. and sometimes they sound like panpipes from miles away. into this abyss of lifelessness someone threw me a rope. It was a heartfelt yes. He was singing one of his own songlines. Then. I've been with indigenous people in the Amazon when they have watched their forests cut down. slashing every copy of Shakespeare. 'Destroying the forests IS the same as destroying us. one day. All the songs seemed sung in the key of green. medicines of the forests. The song seemed alive like a plant. It is the whisper which often starts the story. burning gas flares through the Louvre. I would argue that the whole world IS wreathed m songlines. Hush. step sideways into the woods. a whirring night bird feathered the night with One Amazonian elder noises and all the forest says the Amazon IS 'a seemed mating and purring. these I had to say yes to the Before I visited shamans. Cicadas and truth. the specific trees and groves of forest.whisper. their lands obliterated. I didn't even manage to say it loudly. trees for their solidity As evening came. music half-heard from a source unknown. Ethereal. The noise of traffic fades. Quiet as the pause when you wait for the right word. on every path. green and telephoned me and invited vital. the song line twined like a vine. their medicines are a free pharmacy. They wept. from honey-scented flowers to the zinging smell and also to 'branch out'. sometimes voiced. hollow emptiness. then a car. 'trust' and 'truth' are gave me was like drinking all related words. From the rivet. the words began. the Buddha meditated under a tree and in India. Many people know that lifeless place.because I had lost my own. and then began another song. people's love of land made into music. I was lost m that bleak. small plane. both into the shamans' hut. music. as brilliant as trusted trees to embody the other. My story began when I had been suffering depression for months. Just say yes. which stings you. haunted by thoughts of suicide. all my vitality gone. through the forest. the songs are sometimes whistled. Step out of the station. as I lay In the shamans' hut.

In overwork. as I found when my spirit was so lost. It is playful. flickering in a forest fiesta of verdant and noisy verbs. Follow your compulsion. turned into pills. the forests wriggle.] would emphasise. That the forests are the lungs of the world. to go on a quest. Follow the sun. for me. Then. song and forest. a vegetable exuberance. leafing. controlled by mortgages and woods may be a moment of beginning. The forests are.a badger. the curly way. A come from this wild song child may go to the woods and we are most fully alive to dream themselves into when we resonate to its a different character. even in a city. comedy erupts on the wild side. In the wild wild creatures and hate dreamwood of childhood. shaman. People prey to depression feel that tragedy individually. But inside the child. but it is also a cure for the mind. elemental willingly lost. elastic in spring. swinging down from the canopy to the forest floor. To be a ~ nomad in one's mind is in our gift: to move and learn. bursting with. confinement.the louder on the threshold before our wild genes scream In aggression. Iexperienced the shapeshii ting transformation of the forests. asking. In a word. in fecund riot and feral grace.if they are very lucky . we know. Follow your calling. whose root. In the woods. stil1. unending story. Where depression is dull. in spite of it all. the tragedy of divorce from the essential wildness of life. The forests are a place After my stay with the of transformation. questioning.music. Not. Follow the lightning and the open road. at its height. creatively lost. life which will always walk the wild way. searching thing. We glint when condemned to reality. The woods. Having felt condemned to depression. resulting from the totality of medicine. can move like return for years. the wild light shines.+ the sun. so effective? A combination The whole tone of a day of the shamanic treatment can be shifted by taking . m the form of chemical extraction. Having felt the cold. a fox or . fermenting with. The terms for 'spirit' and 'breath' are linked in many languages: anima Latin . thing. of being dangerously de-animated. of the forests. Still. And the shamanic role? It is findable. The comedy of life IS rebellious. The earth is hot with. hooting with . with its generous. But tragedy is not the whole of the picture. The spirit of comedy IS the spirit of life. the spirit. . the heart of forestwisdom IS the irtef utable interconnectedness of all life. Follow the stars at night as they lean their long slant down the far side of the sky. be lost in your thoughts. changeable. The music jumped up to the light. debts. questioning. life growling. We need children can play disguise. But forests are also sources of spirit. the pause bureaucracy .' My acute feeling of soul loss. Jay Griffiths is the author of 'Wild: An Elemental Journey'. and separation from its fundamentally comedic nature.life. as all wild centre. flowering. The mind. And what it says is .what is wild. Among all the tragedies of destruction. at some level.means both 'breath' and 'soul'. a whole universe laughing with life. Follow the drums of thunder. may listen to a blackbird. sung in green gold the wind within can blow which we recognize the moment we hear it. the spirit can stretch depression I had felt did not and change.Greek . anger and the journe~ and then the woodlands may tell an depression. then they are de vivre. the forests shimmer with vitality. we have never really forgotten the comedy of life. wildness the universal which allows you to enter the mind's forests. our wildness bubbling pretend' and if children over with an anarchic joie can't pretend.tamed by television. a riot of language In irrepressible gusto. Woodlands can places. stress and the bad news which we all know. the forest chattering with language. For still. Put your boots on. willing to listen to earthsong. but I think there is something far wider happening. we know. was cured by the animation. watch a rabbit. and we thrill games which begin 'Let's to it. We were made to walk through our lives wildly awake: our minds mobile. It's common knowledge that the Amazon is the source of huge numbers of medicines for curing diseases of the body. The drum begins. streaked for the heat of noon and wetness. It is as if a tragedy has been written into the world. dance and Jump. In the forest is a child. commuting. this spirit. you may Our minds need what IS wild. fill it till it spills and lick it up again.means 'breath' and 'soul. is to seek. to be a student always. Tragedy works through crushing the spirit. Walk. both leguminous. growth an absolute demand. was in itself a tonic absorb bad moods and calm for the human spirit. the we are . What they amounted to was. They change us. sung. new shoots thrusting up. A child. worries. 'arid. rush-hour exhaustion. hooting and budding. For. life. Wildness and comedy share a love of rudeness. I felt happy shapeshif ting. dizzy' with. is a walking. yearning for sky. regenerative grace. unforgettable.yes. Breathe the forest deeply enough in childhood. bills. Everything and everyone is a player in this harlequinade. In the as a grasshopper. artists. Ifound in the Amazon something which spoke of the warmest opposite. Comedy unf uris through life. headaches. leaning against a tree. will always be the forest. where songline. The Scented with story as it more suffocatingly enclosed IS with wild garlic. Where depression is a horribly lonely illness. let loose. of shamans. It is this which can be found in the forests of Britain or Australia. the mUSIC descended a few tones as a leaf would drop. and the birds will still be singing seventy years on. Follow it. psyche . poet-seers and writers willing to go to the trees for wisdom. We you somewhere sought and as yet unfound. the wild reverie of the woodlands IS within ourselves and the forests are enchanted. but the true and whole cunng. quick. silent approach of something potentially fatal in depression. that unmistakable. of course. What was a willow. tickling the pink with the horn of plenty. clambered like a vine. there are still the trees. in the riotously festive nature of nature.forests which. the forests of the Americas and beyond: wherever there are forests there is life. masquerades away from the All humans are essentially eyes of adults. but also the a walk through the trees sheer shining vitality of the in the park. to wildest pitch with intense effect their changeling and necessary love. the opposite of depression. Whereas depression IS a congealed stasis. wherever there are musicians. That the world needs the forests in order to breathe.

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We had perfected what now seemed a psychotic level of complexity around simple human activities like eating. "DISASTER". had been a sort of terminal that connected me to a wider understanding of events. and how long it took. The shadows did not become evident until it was too late. rather than the how much to get. Of course. Not just an error. culture. I unpleasantness followed. packed with scientific explanations. but the families who owned them had gone too. but there was one thing we had not thought about. always awkward-toreach call-centre employees whom we relied upon for One evening the television had nothing to show us. darker and darker. but money still worked as it always had. mortgages. but I had preferred to remain oblivious. I took certain options before becoming silent. I was not ashamed. Or shadow from human. I carried on acting as if nothing was wrong. . My bookshelves were full of books. Yes. and after a certain amount of'uproar . But in fact it somehow I could see through was the lack of small items the shadows to the light. Nothing happening. if it were to happen. In this state engaged actively with property. AA batteries. as it had become impossible to tell shadow from shadow. We began. At the end of a day filled with minor panics of' one sort or another it was apparen t that there was no more of it at all. keeping dean. that the disaster would flow over us. tortured beds. clothing. Our supply of electricity became erratic. I missed my favourite and in density. when they were invisible. Ihad disregarded a thousand different types and variations of warning for years. there would undoubtedly have been problems. property. I the television made me lonely. as the family who had owned the shop had gone. We built a house with too many shadows in it.. much worse. only that Ifelt that Ihad a sort of' fortitude. We had to wait in the dark. This we deduced f rom the undeniable fact that many of the things to which we had become accustomed began to stop functioning. We decided to build a new house that had none of the draw backs of previous habitats. The man had always been unreliable. There. Af ter the end of' electricity. or in any number of other ways inappropriate. Inevitably. but the stoppage of petrol made a lot of people act extremely thoughtlessly. or indeed many sundries including soap. I couldn't believe that I had ever thought otherwise. that was clear from the disappearance of many things which we had assumed to be vital to our being. The telephones became unreliable. and moving from one place to another. No. steps. Because the world was big. And when I looked. as did credit. everywhere. and when unequivocally. dish-washing tablets. long time ago. And without newspapers it was impossible not to write my own internal headlines during my sleepless nights. The problems grew and were nurtured by our casual indifference. the shadows conspired against us. As the people in the house margarine. it was an immense mistake. ballpoint pens. Our problems began a long. razors. When night came. the. I. we fell to a brooding quietude. and there was of ten no money in the holes in the walls. seemed to be Nobody was happy. not infrequently. eyeing each other with suspicion. both on the" roads and elsewhere. money. toothpaste. We selected a site and had the house built.or more precisely. Much. waited for the disaster on my own. But Ihad. although. that ] had previously taken A long period of' for granted made me lonely. And then. begun to make the simplest things extremely tortuous. that we were defended and guarded against every eventuality. decorated and bought furniture for. Even though I myself had mercilessly crushed legions of ants beneath my feet. too dangerously situated. This only became worse as the light faded.I explained my reasoning and my actions to the others. we conspired with the shadows. Our gestating problems were the dark. People had certainly been guilty. However much we reassured ourselves that we were safe. remote controls. Nobody witnessed anything. Of ten I perused magazines. All of this was an error. and continued during their grad ual appearance. that our civilisation had. Everyone that I knew of lived in houses. It wasn't the sort of thing that you notice at first. In this Iwas not alone. One thing we had not got right. of course. and birdsong had only reminded me of mobile phones or car alarms anyway. If it had not been me it would have been another who would have had to take that awful decision. the shadows. We carried his carcass beyond the perimeter wire and left it in a ditch. Idid not think that my life. that we had stockpiled. Life had been almost ridiculously easv. and I had taken out a variety of insurance that implied my life was worth money. disliked being disturbed. I slowly became comfortable in many assumptions. became fewer the shadows and easy credit in high-street seemed to increase in number stores. it was. not that it would have made any difference if they had. a sort of wisdom. almost imperceptibly. an act which intended to prove that we had to be strong and united against the looming disaster. Still we waited for the disaster. Mine was a necessary act. Disaster thought of in inverted commas. We tried to find other shops. only a dull sort of inevitability. Lire had quickly become intolerable for some of us. if I had told them about his struggling. It occurred to me. That was dear. On my own. We used our diverse and highly-developed skills to research the question of what to do.++ There was disaster coming. their shadows cast quickly clattering dark talons across the floor. We cloaked our hidden desires. . and it rapidly became clear that all of these houses were either too old. into work.oh . But I did not go into the details. the insistent shadows illuminated our vulnerability. would look like extremely expensive special effects. or toilet paper. the nights lengthened. there were people who objected. In addition to our frequent and increasing daily troubles. inventing justifications for our dark feelings. I had to admit to my deeply comfortable . my fading bank statements. The light in the house became less and less. Iforbade them from moving. We now had to think about the how of getting. Worry became constant. The disaster was coming. And even though I had seen on the television' many harbingers of disaster. to the supermarket. There seemed to be no particular urgency regarding the disaster. That was where our real problems started. much too late. at last and completely absent. I did not much miss the butterflies. oh no. Even though I had often observed newly-born swarms of mayflies smashed to pieces by a sudden and unexpected showers of hailstones. almost suddenly. The disaster was definitely coming. and had a vested interest 1I1 continuing to do so. ] realised. I couldn't believe that I'd ever thought that there could be any other outcome. to panic. but certain events had proved to me that he was a liability. and all the other things we clothed ourselves with. vacuumcleaner bags. lightbulbs. and the ignorant manner in which we chose to live. far worse. Ican see that they began long before that. SELL YOUR HOUSE AND BUY GOLD STANLEY DONWOOD many things were frequently When. inevitable spectre that accompanied us to the cashpoint. Not until it was much. which led to some very unpleasant scenes. I took out a mortgage on a house that I then renovated. Our new house f ulfiIled all the requirements we sought. and now things were going to get worse. that was obvious.. I And the hollow look in the disliked that. I often used credit cards. And after the end of the electricity. eyes or the people . But the threat from the shifting shadows in our house was worse. This was a strain. It was something that. and into our gritty. Small things were changing. coffee. The dark corners began to scare us more than the coming disaster. and seemed to alter only in the details. Looking back. The television. when the people were all gone. and they were next. of late. There were shadows listening. I fossilised into what I saw as an eternally stable sediment. our sneers. The disaster was imminent. worry and enforced exile from everything Iwas accustomed to. I had never envisaged a When disaster is coming sort of loneliness that did not it is difficult to see clearly. it was no longer possible to buy newspapers. but involve people. missed tea. It wasn't that I found my existence more tolerable than theirs. I had believed implicitly in the power of the Authorities to deal with any situation that may have worried me. And soon it was clear to us all that the disaster was almost upon us. of selfishness before. when people moved in front of the windows in the grey light. was no more petrol. the manner in which Ilived it was effectively an inexorably lengthy suicide. When I was at last alone.. And the dead silence that lost in a reverie of longencloaked the telephone and gone financial transactions.rhe telephone systems did actually work we were usually self that disaster really was rebuffed by recorded voices coming and that its coming that enticed us through several was inevitable.



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