I've always loved the concept of rivers and what they are. I always want to make the water vanish for just a moment so I can see what lays underneath -- how deep is it? What kind of rocks and trees and who knows what else is under there.

As for the sources of rivers, oh, how I love that question. I love reading articles about the quest to find the headwaters for the <insert famous river>, partly because I so love the idea that very huge things grow out of the humblest of beginnings.

As for hope vs despair, that's always tricky. I guess in the very long view, I've always taken comfort in the idea that the earth will abide -- even if we disappear. Don't get me wrong. I really REALLY don't want that to happen and look for signs -- like the insect article you mention -- that things are better than we think.

But if not? Beautiful sunrises will still be happening no matter what....

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We are at the river’s end

She bears gifts from every

continent, creature, and age

towards the sea

It has been raining on the mountains

for millions of years

the granite walls weep

she scours the banks that hold her

she is muddy with rich sediment

I hear these words from her

as we on the seashore gaze into

the dazzle of the ocean

“Dear one, come along.

Please my dear ones, Come along.”

[A shameless remake (by yours truly) of a poem by Kabir, "Please," written something like 700 years ago which still lingers in my heart, though I don’t have a copy of the original at hand, nor have I any inclination to find one.]

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Mar 14, 2023·edited Mar 14, 2023Liked by Antonia Malchik

Thank you once again, Antonia. I always look forward to reading your essays.

I read the article, "How Darkness Can Illuminate the Insect Apocalypse." Very interesting. However, because "about 1 billion pounds of conventional pesticides are used each year in the United States to control weeds, insects, and other pests" (US Geological Survey: https://www.usgs.gov/centers/ohio-kentucky-indiana-water-science-center/science/pesticides), it is difficult to imagine how insect populations are not being decimated. But poisoning the planet is a multi-billion dollar industry, dontcha know.

Also: thank you for the Solzhenitsyn excerpt. It's perfect. I'm going to use it in an upcoming presentation on Heidegger's "The Question Concerning Technology." He asserts that poetry (along with other forms of art), because of its unique way of revealing contains the "saving power." It's complicated.

Love the photo, and I loved your referring to the Moon as "Her." I know you're not religious (I am endlessly conflicted, can make no claims of knowing anything, and am not the least bit doctrinal), and I believe your are an atheist, but have you ever read "The Canticle of the Sun," by Francis of Assisi? It is beautiful in that it really stretches the bounds of how conventional Christian theology considers the non-human natural world. In it, he refers to "Sister Moon." I love that. Many times over the years I have hiked up to my favorite spot around dusk just to sit on a large rock, feel the breeze on my skin, and watch her rise over the hills. We speak to one another in a language unbounded by words.

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Wonderful images as always, both the pictures and your writing. The 15-minute cities article was disturbing by which we redirect people against their own interests -- weird. I have been following the insect studies and your post will likely lead to a story -- thanks -- its a bit of a shill so no link -- I am confident you would enjoy the insights of the survey I included in my most recent post about spring. I liked it because it intersects with what writing or walking in nature can do -- connect us to our primals. All of us are conditioned to not click on links but it is one of the things I love about Substack -- the links have been vetted in writing we enjoy.

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Mar 13, 2023Liked by Antonia Malchik

I'm saving every word of this.

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In my hours in the car this past weekend I listened to Ben Goldfarb's book EAGER, about beavers, and was reminded again that our modern concept of what rivers and streams look like, let alone even are, is also utterly wrong given the destruction the fur trade inflicted on our landscape.

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