top of page

The thing that will save us in the end

Karl update, Day 14: …Perhaps when you read these updates, ( I know when I – Elyn – write them), there is a feeling, a memory: like when a smell suddenly out of the blue reminds you of a childhood memory. A chance to return to a place that feels… like home.

In the podcast episode of "The Emerald" -- Animism is Normative Consciousness, the author describes this feeling as a recognition that animism IS normative consciousness: that for all time, until just recently, being in relationship with the natural world around us, was… normal. We now have layers between us and nature. We are more comfortable navigating interstate traffic than we are navigating by starlight. We use a calendar to tell us when spring has arrived, rather than smelling the earth change, warmed finally by the sun. Perhaps we feel, through these updates, through Karl’s experience, we are able to touch again that part of us that still knows what home feels like…

“Back on track. The energy over there at the DEW line was not good. Grateful for the rest… and water… but there are animal tracks here again. Going to camp below a burned down old hunter’s cabin. Bones everywhere. I’m back where the energy is flowing. There are bear tracks close…”

“When postmodern culture looks at animism it does so through the lens of '-isms'… it must be an abstract overlay of belief and is applied through the world through mental construct and not so much the felt somatic experience of the way things… are” -- (podcast quote)

“The wind slices right through. The area is a desert. Almost lunar. All rocks. Little tufts of mosses and lichens trying to make a go of it. There little emerald lakes hidden behind rises with ridges of rocks like bones sticking out. Bone chips scattered everywhere among the rocks…”

“I bet whoever used to hunt here really misses this spot. It is special. Deep deep energy.”

“I found water. I have 24 L of water. I am a wealthy man.”

“Hunter gatherers as a rule don’t approach their environment as an external world of nature that has to be grasped intellectually. Indeed, the separation of mind and nature has no place in their thought and practice. And to perceive the world in this way, to perceive the world as a seamless continuum means that you are already situated in a world, and committed to the relationship this entails.” -- (podcast quote)

“The Arctic has opened up to me. It is strict… will challenge those parts of you that need it most.. But kind and loving, too. The spots I have found are ones used for a long time. I can feel it. I’ve been here many times. I think it’s interesting how anxious and shitty I felt right over there, under the DEW line… Everything was wrong. Moving just right here… not far… and I’m ok again. I know everything will be alright.”

“Sitting on my log. Watching it all rotate. I love it here. I’m tired of doing everything alone though. I think I can leave that behind. That is one thing this paddle has done for me: Shown me my strength, and allowed me to see that sharing this… that is what is most important.”

“The pressing question is have we the lost the eyes to see? When one does not see what one does not see, one does not even see that one is blind.” -- (podcast quote)

“Been studying the chart. The miles I have to go to Paulatuk are almost insignificant compared to what I've done already. It's almost like what I experienced at Cape Fox before Ketchikan. That time I didn’t want to come home. This time I do.”

“The best part, with this project, I finally feel like I'm playing in the right arena. Like I didn’t aim too low. Like all the shit I went through wasn’t for nothing. Like I did more than just make my ancestors proud.”

“Yet this simplicity and rawness is something I want to hold close. I don’t want to leave this behind. I want to live it everyday. These are the skills I’ve been trying to build this time. If I could navigate life the way I do out here…”

“It is getting smokier. The light right now is intense in almost a desert SW way. Creamy pastels. I just heard a loon call.”

“The world is full of persons”, say the Ojibwe. “Only some of which are human”, as personhood is a wider category than humans. Rock persons, bear persons … We have never been separate, unique or alone. It’s time to stop deluding ourselves. Human cultures are not “Surrounded by nature” or resources, but by a world full of cacophonous agencies., ie by many other vociferous persons. We are at home when our relations are all around us.” -- (podcast quote)

“I think what I’m feeling is the shift… last time I didn’t want to come home, and would have done anything to avoid going back. This time I’m irrationally concerned something will prevent me from coming back and doing the work I’m meant to do. This is my home and where every fiber of me sings.. But my WORK… my work is to bring that to people.”

Podcast quote: “It’s a feeling all of us have had. A feeling of deep tingling breathy relationality that exists between us and the land the sky, the rivers, the oceans around us. A feeling that is so fundamental so familiar, so primal so foundational that we wander like lost children without it… and it just might be the thing that saves us, in the end.”

9 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page