In the forest, there is no life without death. All things live, and all things die. The Mountain Ash, when it is fallen, sighs a deep gasping breath before it dies. The remains of its body are reclaimed by the forest floor. The life of an animal is taken, but it is only an illusion that its spark is extinguished. The soil we walk on is fecund with death, an ecology of bodies and decay that is the substrate for all life. There is no darkness without light and there is always light within the darkness. Death is the lover of Life. The last gasp is the first breath as Life rises ecstatic from the marriage/deathbed, ready to birth again. The Quietus is ephemeral, transforming always into candescence, the alchemical spring of liquid gold that flows through all life. The light that sings and dances. The blissful revelation of unified movement that spins ultimately back down into beautiful silence. But nothing lasts forever. In the end, everything stops, including time, and even death and life reveal themselves to be illusory. Everything stops, and we transcend, sublime.
Some stories are universal. In 2018 we pay tribute to the power of landscape and history. We recognize that all that we have is built upon loss. There is no life without death. We claim this place at the expense of all the people who came before us. We claim this place at the expense of the forests. We claim our own existence out of the death of animals or the manipulation and loss of ecosystems. We acknowledge and respect this.