I belong to the Derrick Jensen Reading Club. Periodically, he sends members emails talking about his: upcoming shows, health, writing projects; and stories that are of signifigance. A few days ago, he sent us a really cool story describing an experience he had while filming a documentary about Peak Oil. I thought I would post it here.
I had something pretty amazing happen today. I was going to get interviewed for a film on peak oil. I wore my sweater that has a ferret on the front that my mom countstitched on there. We went up to Mill Creek, in the old growth redwoods, to this one spot where I go often. Once when I was there I was talking to students from the Audubon Expedition Institute, and just when I said the whole thing about hope, about how I do not hope that coho salmon survive, I will do whatever it takes to make sure the dominant culture doesn't drive them extinct, RIGHT at that moment a salmon came up to the edge of the creek and stayed there a moment right next to me, opening and closing its mouth. Anyway, we went right back to that exact spot. I was sitting on a downed trunk, and the interviewer/cameraoperator was sitting on another a few feet away, with the stream behind me. I was telling him about the dream I had about the demons, the visitation I had by them after I wrote the chapter in Endgame about how if someone believes humans are inherently destructive (I don't) then they should just go ahead and put up or shut up and come up with a virus or something (once again, I don't believe humans are inherently destructive), and then the night I wrote that stuff having that vistation by the demons in a dream, about the demons coming in to kill everyone, the stuff I wrote about in Songs of the Dead. And I told him about the Jack Forbes stuff, about the wetiko sickness (also in Songs of the Dead). And then I told him that the Indians I've spoken with often have said that creatures don't go extinct, that they go away, and that they'll come back when the land is treated better. And then I told him about that time at Yontocket where I asked a hawk sitting on a tree if this was right about the demons coming and if it was right about how the animals would come back if the land is treated better, and I asked the hawk if that was right to fly a circle above my head, and right then it took off, and flew a half-circle and landed in a tree 180 degrees from where it started. i thought, "Okay, that's half right." But then I looked up and saw a vulture finishing the circle. So it was clear the animals would need the demons to come in and wipe out the humans and then someone to clean up. And then later i wondered why the demons haven't shown up already, and it came clear to me that we are being given one last chance to show we are redeemable: either we clean up this mess or the demons will, and if they do we're not going to like it because they'll kill more or less all of us. Anyway, as I'm telling him this story, I notice he keeps looking over my shoulder, and then toward the end he shifts the camera so it's not facing me directly, but I'm in the side. And then he moves it so it's just on the water. I keep talking. I finish the story. I ask him what's up. He tells me to look around. There's an otter in the stream. I've never seen an otter there before. i've only seen three since I've been here. He said at one point he had me and my sweater on one side of the screen, and the otter had climbed up on a big old downed redwood in the water and was sitting there looking at us, and it was on the other half of the screen. AND I have to say that the reason I chose this sweater is too long and convoluted to tell, but it involved making a couple three other decisions, after which this sweater was the first one I saw. It was so clear to all three of us there (the film's producer was there too) that this was a visitation, in some ways another confirmation of what the dream and then the hawk told me. It was pretty amazing.
Derrick Jensen Environment Authors