• Jeremy Pataky

The Warbler's Answer


The country’s social fabric is inflamed, in flames, insane, unequal; the global ecological fabric is likewise sliced, lit, subject, sodden, kneeled upon. With privilege and luck enough to inhabit and use our safe bodies to get far enough out to almost ignore pandemics, to nail a weather window last week, to know with confidence that physical exertion would be the only tax on our breath (breathing fresh air miles away from any nearest other), to almost ignore how killable our bodies would be if they were another color in nearly any urban American place, we witnessed instead the backcountry and marked its fast melt, marked its old routes as eroded, marked a new landslide reshaping unstable ground, marked mountain goats marking us from a thousand feet above, rightfully wary, though we thought ‘don’t worry’ at them. And then, recharged, we returned to consume—angrily, remotely, tiredly, culpably, incredulously, knowingly—the latest, the litany, the flashpoint, the news, damnable, distant, dumb. We blast manned darts into space but skewer neighborhoods in place. It gets worse before it gets better? Maybe if we lever it right—viruses, ourselves, our all-too-possible poser leaders, our systems worse and worsening, our selves relating to or hating each other, brush growing tall under jet contrails, moulins swallowing the melt we fuel, the brief noise of one plane hauling humans scared of each other’s exhalations or intentions, the sound of the one thing they share, their trajectory, interrupting the pair of curious yellow Wilson’s warblers watching us—openly curious about the odd not-from-here humans making coffee and oatmeal on a hill above a glacier in the sunshine of a morning good for anything anyone could imagine to do with such a gift. What to do?


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© 2020 by JEREMY PATAKY

background image by Eamon Mac Mahon