Before the first hominins left Africa and went out to corrupt Eurasia, small groups of males have gone on walkabout, exploring the world, eating and sleeping as they could and warily interacting with the locals. There is no question that when they came to bodies of water — whether streams, lakes or the sea — they plunged in from beach and bluff and tree, trying to make waves.
Today that continues, powered by the hatred and violence authorized by the attitude of Clem Cadiddle-Hopper as he grandiosely claims that if you beat up the kind of people he doesn’t like — lesser people who think too much and aren’t even rich — he’ll pay your lawyer’s bill for court. (Though he doesn’t even pay his own lawyers and contractors, who then sue him, creating a wheel of paper to evade.) The wise don’t trust this person who is rapidly being sucked into the world of shadows and vacuums that are produced by Alzheimers.
But also the wise leave their formerly safe houses where they were on scheduled regimes that kept them alive despite their own worlds of pain, doubt, and trauma. The only name these particular hominins have is “boys-at-risk” and they MUST have meds and the support to get them and ingest them on schedule, or they will die.
There is a quasi-police force that tries to catch them, incarcerate them in improvised prisons where there are no meds, and send them south of the arbitrary border between nations where there are no meds. Without meds they die. At least they are not sent to the Philippines where THEIR president has authorized the military and police to shoot on sight any drug dealers or suspected drug dealers. If some are mistaken deaths — oh, well. Murdering them saves a lot of money that would otherwise go to pesky judges who can’t handle the reality of the big picture.
So are these wandering hominins sad and ugly? No, they are fascinating and beautiful as leopards — well, most of them. When they come to the water, their wet shoulders gleam in the sunlight and their taut torsos bend like the willows that grow alongside streams. They shout and throw their arms over each other, because they are happy to be out of their crowded caravan for a while. Their bodies demand movement. Like horses, they want to run together and jump, even when there’s nothing to hurdle. So long as they get their meds, they can live to do that.
Unique on their insides, they can imitate the locals in their jeans and hoodies, but they are armed with skills, modern technological skills of camera and internet. This changes the world, gives the world eyes to see what the quasi-police do. Which makes armed men nervous. Not all of them endorse Clem Kadiddle-Hopper or think shooting drug dealers on sight will end drug exchanges meant to shut out consciousness of such predation.
Like sweetgrass on the prairie, where their stolon-tracts go webbing, they form little nodes of consciousness, people who are learning again how to create underground railroads, how to evade the US domination of expensive drugs meant to attach us all to pharmacies, while wiser countries make the same meds available for pennies. The inconvenient truth is that oppression and unnatural laws create resistance and networking, just as it did when alcohol was supposed to be suppressed but only created speakeasies, home brew, bootleggers, smuggling, mafia, and bathtub gin. The parents and grandparents of these young hominin travelers were once free spirits and haven’t forgotten. A decades old culture, born of an unjust and hallucinatory war, is being reborn in cyberspace.
People only see what they expect to see and only expect to see what they have seen before. We’ve never seen times quite like this in the past. We’ve never had a president who proposed getting rid of Congress and the Constitution because they are archaic and inconvenient. We’ve never had representatives of the voters who believed that anyone with pre-existing or stigmatized conditions should be denied insurance coverage because then they will die, get out of the way, and not be an expense any longer. They are weak, goes the argument.
But weakness can be various and the greatest weakness of all is insisting on repeating the past because it is the only thing one knows. Soon there are bored, lonely, isolated old white men who need comforting. They call on the rhizomes. There is another network of women: tall, thin, bleached blondes with bordello wardrobes who come out of the tough plateaus of Eurasia and learn how to pose for cameras. When they have their own cameras, they take snapshots of raindrops on the un-openable windows of their high skyscrapers apartments, also decorated like bordellos. The raindrops look like tears.
Road hominins who sometimes sleep in vehicles enjoy the rain on the roofs. They are the patter of soft drums, playing on the wind instrument breathing of each other, as they sleep fitted together like jigsaw pieces. Far away is the saxophone wail of a siren, but they are safely tucked into shadows and edges, the places mainstream culture don’t go.
But also sometimes they seek out the abandoned habitats of past economies, now decayed and gaping, an ecology people try not to see because to remove it would cost money and they don’t have money anymore. The world has shrunk away from them. These hominins carry spray cans to make the rusted and rotted surfaces bloom with color and motto.
Outsiders of the group are not welcome and the insiders are unknown to the outsiders, who sometimes get curious or even want to join, but can’t because there’s not enough room. They must have the wit to knit a new rhizome. Or maybe the guts to find their own path to a habitat that will let them exist and grow.
Once I was in contact with an edge of a rhizome, but Clem Kadiddle-Hopper and his band of merry ICE enforcers have ended that. They grab people from churches and schools, from stores and libraries. They take babies from their mothers, students once promised safety and honor, and throw them in with criminals who prowl among the vulnerable. They collect all the data of my computer visits and censor what I can find. Even I, an old lady in a small prairie town, am over-alert and cautious.