It quite irritated me, re-reading that I had called them “my” plants (in the previous photo journal post). Is that pronoun correct? Aren’t plants rather “ours”? Or don’t they belong to themselves?Read More
Remember those moments of careless strolling? An art known as Flâneuserie in literature1. I have enjoyed browsing through bookshops, bars or museums, practicing my collectioneuse habit of picking up postcards on my way2. Nowadays I am practicing #stayhome, and suddenly the image of people in plastic container pops to my mind. Foraging through my postcard collection, I find it. See. The motif attracted me around ten years ago, when I purchased the card at a Parisian bookshop. I’ve read into it criticism about urban office-bound lifestyles; humans spending most of the day in glass silos.
In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this setting takes on another dimension. Many of us were, or are, locked inside.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t believe that staying boxed up will keep us – or the planet – safe. On the contrary, I am worried about the separateness of all beings and the comparted knowledge that we have “cultivated”.
How to unbox ourselves and become earth-bound3? We could admit our fragility. Or as Puig suggests, we could embrace the idea that we are soil, celebrating soil aliveness4.
Let me take these thoughts to the kitchen and the balcony, I’ll soon share more on how it feels like to co-exist with my vegetables and plants.
While making morning tea, I scan the sky through the kitchen window. I look at its blueness, the cloud shapes, I enjoy the light. Then I spot it. The heron’s morning route crosses my habitat. I squeak. A heron morning is a happy morning. My muesli tastes better while imagining the heron having breakfast at the zoo. Or did it head to the Landwehrkanal?
I stay home. I’ll ask it on the way back.
In the evening I hear the quaking sound. I am calling back: I had a good day, thanks, how was yours? I can still see the contours of its big wings. Though I cannot catch an answer. Maybe someone towards Rathaus Schöneberg received it. Tomorrow I’ll give it another try.
Dinner time, I say to my partner, the heron already passed. Oh, he says, lifting his eyes from the screen, adjusting them to the fading bird in the evening sky.
This morning a spider greeted me from the Tsing printout. I had gone to bed with her quote:
“We are stuck with the problem of living despite economic and ecological ruination. Neither tales of progress nor of ruin tell us how to think about collaborative survival. It is time to pay attention to mushroom picking. Not that this will save us – but it might open our imaginations1.”Anna Tsing
“To sense this world of waters known to the creatures of the sea we must shed our human perceptions of length and breadth and time and place, and enter vicariously into a universe of all-pervading water. For to the sea’s children nothing is so important as the fluidity of their world. It is water that they breathe; water that brings them food; water through which they see, by filtered sunshine from which first the red rays, then the greens, and finally the purples have been strained; water through which they sense vibrations equivalent to sound.“Rachel Carson, Undersea
Rachel Carson, Undersea, IN: Stefanie Hessler (ed.): Tidalectics – Imagining an oceanic worldview through art and science, TBA21-Academy, London, England, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2018.