Scatter to the Hills My Children


You have probably read about people that have been tamed and taught to stay in one
place. Turn to the vegetation map to locate your friends. Still, some of their relatives may
have strayed and gone wild. Ask your less committed local officials if they know of any
such creatures cavorting just outside your designated area.
Try making a list of the uncooperative elements. Include chains and doors and
ballet teachers and criminals with a soft spot for mother. Add to your list the animals that
are not what they appear to be. The following examples might be used to help isolate the
areas in which aberrations can be identifed:
–Hogs, for example, were once bald uncles with paunches. Don’t forget they may
retain a tendency to become more attractive in the presence of alcohol.
–Horses, on the other hand, are more obvious projections of the sexual dreams of
adolescent girls. They may not really exist in the forms imagined, but the dreams are so
powerful we cannot deny their influence.
–Some fur-bearing species have been wiped out completely in the Western
provinces by trappers, except for the grumpy fathers with bushy patches on their lower
backs just above the division between the cheeks of their buttocks and small hairy
epaulets on each shoulder. Some only partially domesticated relatives from Eastern
Europe have been mistaken for these fathers, but they can be distinguished by their small
beady eyes and dark bushy eyebrows. It is no longer profitable to skin the examples
approaching the end of their lifespan.
–Several types of fish have recently become self-contained processing units
designed to recycle the lakes and streams. Since there are far too few of them, the lakes
and streams remain polluted. Pictures of fish on tuna cans were once collected by school
children when their families could still afford to eat such delicacies, but no adequate plan
for applying them ever surfaced. It once became fashionable in certain regions to save
them for the sentimental mouse processor many citizens still address with cute little
names ending in y.
–Substantial anecdotal evidence suggests that clams are not merely the burrowing
mollusks we once thought they were but the tongues of ancient Greek orators distributed
around the world by ancient sea-going slaves captured in battles with lesser civilizations
who rebelled because they could not understand what was being said. The tongues lived
on despite the detritus of the ages piled upon them and from time to time they still speak
brilliantly. If only you would make a greater effort to learn their ancient language has
become the vitamin-mantra of several over-zealous intellectual advancement proponents.
It seems to reflect the belief that the resulting social organizations once made the lives of
adherents to certain ancient burrowing principals more rewarding.
–Vicious three-legged dogs have also been discovered in the afterlife of pleasant
retiring widows on pensions who once kept lockets filled with dead fleas hidden inside
the hollowed out cores of prosthetic legs. When these animals are hit by bicycles, they do
not growl, but whimper. New research points to the possibility that this is what happens if
you can only love one person in your life and you bury the undesired excess inside your body.
Now add to the list all the animals, which you have adapted to personal use,
including those, which cannot be seen by anyone but you. Be sure to include the names
your friends and relatives have given to these tendencies so that your experience might be
of benefit to future permutations.
When you are finished, look at what you have done. You can be replaced by
unexpected possibilities. The world is not where you thought it was. Look at all the
miserable little countries in your own back yard and consider visiting them. Leap into
the void and claim something frightening is beautiful. Consider how uncertain your
limitations have become and the way they keep escaping. The only boundaries that matter
won’t be announcing themselves. You’re making these changes for your own good. Your
friends are here to help you if you if only you can figure out which ones they are. Let
them find you in their search for the ragged edges of progress.

Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.