chase scenes serial #20

to be thoroughly exploited or even explored. One would have to construct a very savvy definition of ‘wilderness’ to even describe what the terrestrial characteristics needed to be. He also mentioned that the day was ‘Earth Day.’ It was the day of our long hike which I found pleasing, for, although I have a sense of appreciation for conserved lands and ‘wilderness’ all year round, it is not ever so concrete to me as when I am exploring a national park. Breaking through the treeline as we climbed the north slope of some badland formations and emerging into a broad, high, grassy prairie that spread rolling out all around us filled me with a profound sense of humble awe. To the east a group of bison grazed. I could see a few reddish calves romping while the dark adults were head down to the grasslands. To the southeast the continuous golden green was pocked by white spots and patches, the telltale signs of a prairie dog town‡. Looking back down the grassy slope to the treeline and the badlands below I thought about how oblivious I was to this landscape I now trod. We had walked all around the bases of the sedimentary formations without a thought as to what was above them, or atop them, or even whether we would find out. It was the

chase 12

“Why do things have to die?” Why can’t everything exist in a state of equilibrium, the barter system I wondered if Bismarck could bring itself to operate on, without any single participant needing to sacrifice itself to maintain, equilibrium. Why could the prairie dogs not be left in peace? Why can’t a second, if there is a second, where nothing dies, nothing feels pain, nothing is anxious, be protracted, held onto, dwelt within, for all the rest of the seconds. Or that is the final second. Close your eyes. It would mean that you slip away, that you forfeit your power, you slip lower, equilibrium, there are billions of wood ticks in North Dakota, you must sink for each of those wood ticks to rise just a bit, you must be annihilated, your consciousness annihilated, you see with the prairie breeze across your carapace, it is a vision of feeling, your consciousness is grey, equilibrium is not a state in which the strong remain strong and the weak remain weak, the bison cannot eat the grass forever, the prairie dogs cannot eat the grass forever, the planet would be bald, and you and I would starve, if there was nothing to stand in their way, or ours.

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