RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Friday, March 12

SONG OF THE DAY: 100 Years Ago (Piano Demo)

Over a century ago, the house I live in was some sort of supervisor’s house for the soapstone quarry down the hill. The old road is my driveway, and I can walk the dog down paths back there still that go down to some abandoned and gutted buildings, plus a lot of debris. This was one of the first places with electricity in America, apparently, and the smokestacks from two defunct power plants are visible a couple stones throws away, both of which got washed out in hurricane floods in 1969. The area itself got washed out economically by the Great Depression though, long before that. This quarry operation used to employ thousands of people, had a local narrow gauge train line that ran between quarries, and ran to connect to north-south mainline a few miles west of here, and the east-west mainline a few miles south of here. There’s an old stone church a half mile away, which used to be Episcopal but is not occupied by Mennonites, though not Old Order because there’s cars parked there on Sundays, not buggies. Houses everywhere are old company houses, strings of them identical looking still, even though a hundred years old, in varying states of care or disrepair. And there’s soapstone slag everywhere, giant rocks piled here or there that got blasted and cut but wasn’t up to snuff to be used back when it was used. It’s all a really neat and beautiful place, but one that was literally built and blasted by business, left to rot for the most part, and has gradually become one with the Earth again, though full of litter. I find old bottles all the time on my walks through woods and along the river, and have been writing poems on the more appropriate bottles.
The river right below my house, where the bridge and one of the power plants got washed out in 1969, still flows like always, diverted by the dam that’s still there but not powering anything now. I wonder what the river’s decline in this area was before the dam, how steep was it originally? Seems like the land slanted hard there, so I imagine there was a natural waterfall at one point that caused them to put a dam there. A hundred years seems like such a solid slice of time, but it’s similar to flying to Chicago, in my opinion. The years are still relatively arbitrary chunks of time, although the days represent one cycle of sun and night, and the year is meant to mark a full circle around the sun in our little corner of infinite space. But all the minutes and seconds get lost, and you just end up a hundred years away, like landing at O’Hare, missing all the little pieces and parts that got you there, from point A to point B. Chances are I won’t know “one hundred years” personally, at least not as this collection of molecules as their currently arranged into a dirtgod raven mack. Humans chase “knowing” more than their fair share of space on the timeline through reciting history and writing shit down like mad, but when I get lost in the tiny steps of walking along the river and through the woods, not keeping track of them nor wanting to, it seems like I might be happier as a human if I let that shit go entirely – all the minutes and hours and days and years, stop fretting over age or wasted time or grey hairs signifying failures of fulfilling mechanistic checklists of being a “productive” member of society. I ain’t got to do shit really. Time is a goddamn chain, tying me up in the yard of my life, leaving me stuck there, barking at the river down the hill that I want to go run to and dip my bare feet in, because I’m trapped. My oldest kid has a concept they always drive home called Time Destroyers United, and I’ve come to love that concept – just destroying time, not in some big revolutionary explosion of cataclysmic change, but just little pokes and stabs and monkey wrenches, sabotaging our concepts of time wherever we can. So I hope you destroyed some time today, and also enjoyed yourself, free from clocks, or phones, or clock phones, or phone clocks, or anything.

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