Faced by either individual extinction (death), or collective extinction (climate catastrophe), especially if self-propelled, humans find the idea of complete senselessness almost as terrifying as physical annihilation. In Shakespeare’s immortal lines, and through his tragic protagonist’s unavailing last-minute regret for what he has done out of pride, arrogance, and ambition, we hear the echo of humanity’s lament in the face of extinction, whether individual or collective.
“Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more.”
I wandered, literally, up and down the bruited and brutal ‘Oregon Trail’ which so many nineteenth-century Americans eager (or greedy) for a ‘better life,’ for the ‘American Dream’ set out on, in unbelievably rickety wagons, with children, wives, cattle, guns, food, elders (most in small quantities, except sometimes children) for the Pacific West and Northwest.
And two night ago I arrived at the Centrum Writer’s Residency in Port Townsend, WA, to write, reflect, self-flagellate (? always!) and look at the Pacific for three weeks.
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