Posted by: atowhee | December 10, 2021


Flat Rock Journal.  A Day in the Ozark Mountains.
Ken Carey.  HarperSanFrancisco.  1994.
Set in Shannon County near Mountain View, MO

“I don’t know why more people don’t use it.  I have found pennyroyal not only more effective than the various chemical concoctions for warding off insects but far healthier.  And the smell is pleasant.”

Dawn in May  “One by one the morning stars fade, and the Milky Way recedes… The Whippoorwills become tumultuous during this hour.  I hear them off in the forest—dozens by the sound—but not so near as to drown out the surrounding martin-robin-meadowlark serenade.  This is the hour of singing.”

“The first lesson nature taught us is that only the dying rest on last season’s laurels.”

“Mental images of trees, birds, flowers prevent us from seeing them as they are.  Until that superficial layer is relaxed, thought cannot flow in the associations that bring insight and fresh perspective.”

“Entire epochs are compressed in this solitary now.  The past is here.  Encoded in these rocks, in these trees, in the multitudes of tiny lives that daily work the soil.  Without the p0ast there would be no soil, and without soil there would be no life.”

“When you add together all our various and sundry insulating barriers (walls, floors, automobiles, streets, sidewalks, shoes that keep our feet from ever touching the earth, designed entirely around commercial priorities), when you add them all up and derive your sum, it is no wonder that we have come to regard ecology as a science rather than a way of life.”

“The same intellects that enhance our capacity to create increase our ability to destroy.
Why did nature take such a gamble?
My own feeling is that the earth requires a species like ours to fully develop her potential.”

“Our historical mistake has been to turn to religion, to culture, to government—to human institutions—for explanations of who we are, what this world is, and what our lives here mean.  Why not look to nature?”

“The forest is built not upon the struggle that many still associate with the concept of evolution.  It is built upon the genius of cooperation.”

“Mature trees are intelligent life-forms whose co-operation can be solicited.”

“Trees are neither fleeting dots nor enduring lines, but dashes in the language of eternity.”

“Music buffs have not yet given frogs the credit they deserve for being among the most musically inclined of all animals.  No frog has yet been hatched from slimy gelatin mass who is not some sort of singer, croaker, crooner, or wart-wrapped rapper.”
“Why are we so hesitant to credit animals with aesthetic sense.  I have observed their ways for many years now.  I have observed their ways for many years now, and I know they appreciate beauty.”

Carey’s far more mystical than I can be.  Believes in many things unseen and immeasurable.
He had his time in the bigger world before retreating to the Ozarks.  He escaped TO the hills. Not from as did some of us raised there. Somehow our lives moved in opposite circles. Carey and his wife first met in Berkeley. Not many years after my first wife and I escaped to Palo Alto and Berkeley from our restricted Midwestern up-bringing.  When we arrived in California in 1967 I have never seen an artichoke, abalone, crab, salmon, zinfandel, a cork screw …

Carey argues for not survival of the fittest, but for survival of the most cooperative.

Carey and his family visited Scotland and one night stayed In a home loaned to them by a friend.  That it was cold and rainy.  While Ken sat in an upstairs room a raven landed ion  window ledge and pecked at the glass.  It wanted in.  Carey let the bird inside and the two of them conversed in thoughts for the next few hours. 
“I am what all ravens are, and I know what all ravens know—at least what is worthwhile. Flying in my thoughts doesn’t make me all ravens, it just makes me Raven.”
When fatigue conquered, man and bird settled onto the bed, heads upon the pillow and slept soundly side-by-side.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: