Coming Down the Mountain: a farewell

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Eighteen months ago, I spent four days and four nights alone in a very old wood in Devon, in the West of England. I took a tarpaulin and a sleeping bag, a lot of water and no food, and I sat in a small area of woodland, on a stone escarpment, overlooking the rolling forest. It was a contemporary version of a very old experience – an initiation, a vision quest – which many cultures on Earth have practised for as long, probably, as there have been people.

Even at the time, I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing there. I had come looking for answers to questions I didn’t yet know how to formulate. Perhaps I still don’t know, perhaps I never will. I just felt a pull: I knew that this was something I needed to do. I didn’t really expect anything to happen, and in one sense, nothing did. There were no great revelations, no magical experiences, no blinding lights, no clear answers. But in another sense, a lot happened. Things which seemed small at the time seem bigger in retrospect. Animals, birds, winds and weather patterns appeared at moments which seem now to be perhaps significant. One evening, I sat on the escarpment looking down over the great, old, seemingly empty forest and I heard music where no music should have been. There was nothing and nobody there which could have been creating it, but it was music for sure. It sounded like pipes. I have no explanation.

Strange things happen when you go out searching.

After four days I walked back down into the valley, tired and hungry, where a small camp was being held by a group of guides for the half-dozen of us who’d been out in the woods going through this experience. We all told our stories, and then we came back home. We were warned, at this stage, that the trickiest part of this experience was not the four-day fast, but the return. That sitting out there with no food and little sleep for days was easy compared to going back out into the world and explaining to people what we had been doing, and making sense of the experience of being tossed around by the wild world in some strange green embrace.

This turned out to be true. Most people I know don’t quite understand why I would have done this, and I find it hard to explain. Mostly, I don’t explain. But in my own small experience here, as in the old folk and fairy tales from pre-modern societies, as in the old indigenous wisdom traditions, it is the case that coming down from the mountain is sometimes more of a challenge than going up it. You need to climb the mountain to get some perspective on your life and on the world you live in. But you can’t stay up there forever. Eventually, you need to return to the village and bring back what you have learned, even if you don’t quite know how to put it into words.

I tell this story now because one of the results of that experience, one of the things I have learned, is that it is time now for me to step back from my work with the Dark Mountain Project, which I helped to found. It’s time for me to come down off of this mountain and see what I can do with what I found up on the slopes.

It’s been a long, strange journey.

Ten years ago this month, I announced on my then-blog that I was ‘resigning’ from the media. The landscape of ‘news’ and ‘features’ journalism that I had been working for, fitfully and increasingly reluctantly as a freelance journalist, didn’t seem to be telling any of the stories that mattered. That was the summer my father died; death tends to bring life into clear focus, and it became clear to me that I had to stop doing something I no longer believed in. From now on, I decided, I was a writer, not a journalist.

I decided something else too: I wanted to start a new publication, which would hunt down the stories, and the ways of telling them, that I wasn’t seeing anywhere in the so-called ‘mainstream’. As I wrote at the time, I wanted to start:

… A new publication: not a magazine, exactly, not quite a journal either, but something between the two and somewhere else as well. A publication which will match the beauty of its writing with the beauty of its design. A publication whose mission will be to reclaim beauty and truth in writing, but without sounding too pompous about it. A publication which will reject both celebrity culture and consumer society with equal vehemence. A publication which will celebrate our true place in nature in prose, poetry and art; which will hunt down ancient truths for modern consumption.

That was the vision. I even had a name for it: the Dark Mountain Project.

Beyond that, things were less clear. Quite what this thing would be – what it would look like, what it would contain, who would write for it, how it would be published, where the money would come from, what shape it would all take – I didn’t know. What I did know was  that I couldn’t do it alone, so I asked, in that same blog post, for ‘collaborators; fellow writers and artists who see a space out there for something deeply, darkly unfashionable and defiant, and who would like to help make it happen.’

Big things often start from small beginnings.  

Two years later I found myself standing on a makeshift stage in the back room of a pub on the River Thames with a man who had responded to that call, and together we launched into the world a little red pamphlet we had called Uncivilisation. Dougald Hine and I were both disillusioned journalists and confused environmentalists, whose answers to the problems we had seen around us in our society seemed somehow not good enough anymore. The notion of ‘answers’, in fact, seemed increasingly to be part of the problem.

And we were writers too, aspiring artists. We had a stumbling intuition that the role of creativity, of stories, images and myths, of the mystery underlying our small existences, had some role to play in negotiating the strange falling apart of the society we were living in. Inspired by the Modernist manifestos that had appeared a century or so earlier, at another time of turmoil and change, we wanted to start some kind of literary movement. We weren’t sure what it would look like, or what it would quite do, or how we could do it, but we knew we wanted to encourage a certain type of writing and art: the kind that would try to engage truthfully with what it was like to live through an age of climate change, extinction, ecological and social collapse. We wanted to know what words, images, dreams, poetry could do to help us as humans on the path ahead.

Eight years on, our little pamphlet has gone to a lot of strange and unexpected places. It has inspired writers, academics, activists, playwrights, scientists, musicians. It has led to an ongoing publishing project, to public events, festivals, films, plays, albums, academic theses. We have helped, in our way, to do something which I still haven’t quite seen done anywhere else: to curate a school of writing and art which engages with the really big question of our time: how can we live as humans in a world which humans are destroying?

At times this work has overwhelmed me; it has often taken up every waking hour and some sleeping hours too. Everyone who has been involved in running Dark Mountain knows this feeling. We started with nothing, never quite really knowing exactly where this thing would go, and we had to invent everything from scratch. I have had to learn, over the last eight years, how to run a business, how to start and grow a small but expanding publishing house, how to run a festival, how not to run a festival, how to deal with unexpected and sudden financial crises, how to handle the media when you’re promoting something that even you find it difficult to explain. Most of these I have not learned very well. Others around the core of the project have shared this steep learning curve with me, and have had their own to contend with.  

All of this has been exhausting, frustrating, inspiring and fascinating in equal measure. Over the years, we have inevitably engaged in politics, argument, sometimes even fights. Our work invites it. If you base your new initiative on the notion that the society around you is falling apart, that maybe it deserves to fall apart, and that most of the ‘solutions’ proposed to prevent this are inadequate or beside the point, you can expect people to throw rocks at you. You should expect the rocks, and not complain about them. Still, if there is one thing I would change, looking back, it would probably be to spend less time dodging the rocks, or throwing them back again. Despite what some people thought, and maybe continue to think, Dark Mountain has never been a political project. Its central purpose was never to ‘change the world’, least of all to ‘save the world’. Rather, the state of our planet, our society, our culture, our minds – this great dying, of species, systems, stories – is the backdrop to the work we set out to do.

What was that work? The answer would have been the same in that Oxford pub as it is now, eight years on: to create and curate writing and art appropriate to the moment we are in. To promote and promulgate what we called, what we still call, ‘uncivilised’ writing and art: work which steps outside our bubble of human narcissism, and which engages with the ecological crisis – which is, at root, really a human cultural crisis. To curate a cultural response to the times we live in.

I tend to use the word curate a lot these days, I’ve noticed. Back when we launched the project, I think I used to use the word create instead, because then I thought our challenge was to make this kind of ‘uncivilised’ work happen. This turned out to be misguided. This work was already happening, all around the world, with or without a label. The planet, it turns out, is packed with writers and artists dissatisfied with the state of things, unhappy with both the civilised story and the standard responses to it from the acceptable dissidents. We didn’t, it turned out, need to tell anyone what to do. We just needed to create a space in which they could do it, and give them some pointers: a framework, perhaps, for their explorations.

It’s interesting to me, looking back, to see how the world, and the debate, has shifted since we started. The claims we made in that manifesto all those years ago – that the human Machine is hitting a wall, that the wall cannot be avoided, and that engaging with that reality is a creative as well as a political or economic duty – seemed edgy and unusual when we made them. They seem less so now. Articles with titles like ‘The Case Against Civilisation’ made regular appearances on this blog in the early days, and would usually see us attacked as ‘doomers’ or ‘nihilists’ by angry denizens of the cult of Progress. These days, such essays can be found in the glossy pages of the New Yorker. Eight more years of failed treaties, of rising emissions, of expanding human numbers, of plastic in the oceans, of species slipping away, have made the reality clearer to us all. In another eight years, it will be clearer again.

None of the vaunted ‘solutions’ to this predicament, from nuclear fission to colonising Mars to top-down ‘new stories’ developed by worthy intellectuals, shows any sign of shifting the Machine from its designated course. Here we are. What do we see? I see, I suppose, the same thing I saw back then: a riddle without an answer. I hope that the work we have all done here, up on this mountain, has helped to make things clearer; to provide some insight, some guidance, some help – hopefully, too, some beauty.

But I don’t know what more I can add, myself, now. I have said and written everything I can say and write. I have argued everything I can argue. I have done everything I came to do. So this post is an announcement and a valediction; a farewell. I’m stepping back now from my role as one of the directors of the project I helped to found. I leave this strange, messy, contradictory, wonderful, necessary thing I helped to birth in the hands of a group of people who I know will steer it onwards in new directions. There comes a point in any organisation when a founder, with his or her particular vision, has to step back to give new people and ideas some space to breathe. It’s time to do that now; to leave this thing to move on without me, and with my blessing.

I can’t pretend I don’t have mixed feelings about this. Dark Mountain has been a major part of my life for the last decade. But we ignore the inner voice at our peril. There is a time for everything, including endings. There is some bend in the road ahead, and I have to walk around it. I don’t know what I will see around the corner. But it is, it seems, time for me to come down from the mountain. I will miss it. But it will always be there, on the horizon, rising over the lights of the city, older than the lights.

This project began, appropriately I suppose, with the words of a poet – Robinson Jeffers, whose work, when I discovered it in 2007, thrilled me with what seemed a stark and sharp voice, from half a century back, warning of what was to come. Jeffers’ poem Rearmament provided me with the inspiration to name this project. So it was with some excitement, and a sense of having come full circle, that I recently accepted an invitation to speak at Jeffers’ self-built stone home on the Californian cliffs, Tor House. I ended that talk – which you can listen to here if you’re so inclined – by quoting what Jeffers said in 1941 in a packed speech to the US Library of Congress.

I’ll end this piece, and my own journey on the dark mountain, with the same voice which began it. I will steal Jeffers’ words and use them as the epitaph for my work here, because they say what I want to say. And I will remember that over all of these words, over all of the human words and beyond them, speaks the voice of the mountain itself: the stone, the streams, the low cloud, the cry of the hawks. The great Earth, entire of itself, moving and listening, making its way and ours. Life, still churning, and all of the rivers flowing on.

I have heard myself called a pessimist, and perhaps I have written some words of ill omen in my books … and perhaps I have spoken tonight some words of ill omen – but they are not words of despair. If we conjecture the decline and fall of this civilisation, it is because we hope for a better one. We are a tough race, we human beings; we have lived through an ice age and many ages of barbarism; we can live through this age of civilisation; and when at length it wears out and crumbles under us, we can “plot our agony of resurrection” and make a new age. Our business is to live. To live through… anything. And to keep alive, through everything, our ideal values, of freedom and courage, and mercy and tolerance.

Image: Paul Kingsnorth and Dougald Hine launching Uncivilisation: the Dark Mountain manifesto, in Oxford, summer 2009.

Paul Kingsnorth is co-founder of the Dark Mountain Project. His personal website is here.

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31 thoughts on “Coming Down the Mountain: a farewell

  1. Paul, without The Dark Mountain I would have never had the courage to step away from the void of society that tries to fill every waking moment with false hopes and promises. I would have failed to see the thin veneer of civilisation that plasters over the pain of our disconnection from the natural world. The project continues to keep my heart and mind alert to what is important. And the inner voice is one of those things, so I know you cannot ignore it. Thank you for having the courage to help create something amazing, and the courage to know whether it is you need to walk away. I for one will be forever grateful of your words of inspiration. And I look forward to reading of your new adventures.

  2. I look forward to hearing about your new path. Thank you for your bravery, your willingness to speak what many of us feel. It gives us all hope when we see that we are not alone. We all know that our world is disintegrating. I had always hoped for a gentle process of adaptation but that does not seem to be what is happening. It would be nice if we did not need to be smacked upside the head to make changes.

    Godspeed and best wishes.

  3. Paul,

    A few years ago, before I discovered the Dark Mountain, I was wretchedly alone in my feelings about people, our civilization, and where we’re bound. I am grateful for whatever contingency brought me here, and to you, of course, because I feel a great deal less isolated, and in communing with so many like-minded people through reading their work, I’ve derived a sense of peace, without which I am uncertain about the longer viability of my life.

    While I am as deeply doubtful as ever about the capacity of the machine to reach very much further without toppling, I am sure that certainty of failure is no absolution of responsibility to act rightly–and for me, at least, the courage to do this can only come from these others who are indescribably braver, more decent and intelligent, and wiser than I am. Your absence from the Mountain will be felt keenly, but I look forward to linking arms with friends I’ve not yet met to stand here, together.

    • Well put, I’ll gladly link arms with you on the smooth cliffs of DM, as we see the sun and Paul wandering in the horizon..

  4. We’ll miss you Paul!

    On a personal note, I’m noticing the fragmentation that endings create—you’re my only contact at Dark Mountain! Hopefully I’ll get to know others within the Project, and maybe they’ll have interest or ideas for my interest in pulling together a New England Dark Mountain something.

  5. Paul, Thank you seems inadequate for work of The Dark Mountain Project. Here, in Florida where we will no doubt be forced to model new behaviors for facing climate crisis, I have felt — and feel — less lonely for having this as a companion and guide.

    • You put it so well, Marika, thank you. DM has been a relatively recent discovery for me, and it feels like, ‘Oh, found a home at last.’ Every good wish to big Paul as he journeys onward.

  6. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for listening to those pipes in the wood. Were they bamboo flutes? I post a short piece below on the bansuri, a bamboo flute from India which I now play.

    After reading this piece you wrote, I am cancelling my subscription to the Financial Times of London, a superb paper less intent on egging us on to another war than its peers. I need to spend more time with that pipe in the woods. Matt in California

    Rehumanize Myself
    By Matt Dubuque
    Copyright 2017, Every Right Reserved

    The question arose last week asking what it means to be human, or more fully human. Although I have lived for decades, it is only since May 24th that I have an answer which resonates for me and may strike a chord in others.

    As I strive to become a bird, the issue of my song comes to the fore. How sweet is it? Does it attract potential mates? Can I carry a tune from tree to tree on a summer’s day?

    In response to these questions, I now play the bansuri, a bamboo flute from India, which assists me on this journey to arrive at my humanity and become more like a bird. My goal is to play lilting ragas on languid days, blowing sound rings of purity to help heal the same nature which my kin has raped. These thoughts of my healing nature seems an appropriate response to what I have witnessed. So many of us speak with rapture of how nature has healed them. We lament the plunder of her beauty with the hammer of civilization. Why not return the favour somehow and enter our forests to help heal them? My book on this topic is titled, “Healing the World in Seventy Days: Meditations on Futility”.

    So the gig is to get this exquisite piece of bamboo from Assam to produce the tones I need to become a singing member of the natural world. With an unfortunate background in mathematics, I have realized this is a matter of gracefully manipulating at least nine random variables at the same time, including the shape of my mouth and position of my tongue and lips, the position of the flute in three dimensional space, the rate and manner at which the river of air exits my diaphragm and is expelled into the flute, and more.

    All this complexity is well worth it. Venugopal and Nityanand each get exquisite tones from the bansuri. This isn’t about being in a hurry. It starts from being relaxed and peaceful, a feeling helped by the awareness of breath and the inspiration of beauty; the simplicity of one man trying to make a sweet sound with one piece of bamboo. The more relaxed you are, the rounder your tone. It all flows from that.

    The rewards are profound. Through a combination of luck and skill, I don’t think I could have purchased a finer instrument. I’ve attached a photo to show its beauty.

    The tone is exquisite. The bamboo was handpicked from the massive hurricane marshes in northeast India and is intimately responsive to every breathy nuance I channel into it. The players I most admire agree that if you have a superior piece of bamboo, obtaining lush tones is a process of listening carefully to the sounds you produce and then following how the flute instructs you to play it.

    Playing pure tones is a profoundly seductive undertaking. My teacher Venugopal Hegde is from Karnatka, which still has a population of tigers sufficient to make it surreal. I told Venugopal that tracing and seducing the tone from the flute is very much like walking softly in the forest, waiting for a tiger to appear. It requires the utmost in calm and internal silence to accomplish. When the tones appear from the deep camouflage, you know it instantly. Venugopal laughed with a deep feeling of recognition when I told him this. The purity of tone I saw when he played Raga Bairagi Bhairav on YouTube is what caused me to select him as my teacher. While others play fast, he plays pure.

    The shakuhachi is a bamboo flute from Japan . A friend who studied there said some of its top teachers there insist their students begin by practicing only playing for two or three years until they get the desired tone. If the students object, they are told once this is achieved, the other notes are much easier.

    When I first began to get tones sufficient to transform life, I flinched. I must have startled something because thereafter I could not get my wooden stick to make a sound. The tiger vanishes when you freak out at its beauty. When it does appear, you have to become more calm. When you are in the African plain, hungry beyond words, and you come upon dinner in the form of a gazelle, you must become more serene and more aware. It’s a meditation of sorts, like Chora’s 18th Century Haiku:

    “Moon gazing;
    Looking at it, it clouds over;
    Not looking, it becomes clear.”

    So playing the bansuri is like simultaneously solving multiple complex probability density functions (PDFs) and cumulative distribution functions (CDFs), all without thinking. I see. Just keep practicing, Matt. Follow the shape of the sound, my friend; it sound will teach you.

    Playing the bansuri feels so elemental and human. There are no intervening valves and handles and steel and technology to alter the sound of your singing breath. The bansuri maker cannot use a drill to create the holes which you play; this would split the bamboo and destroy the flute. Instead, they take a red hot poker and burn seven holes into it. Because these holes of burnt bamboo smell better than marshmallows roasted on a campfire, I savour the smell of my flute for a few minutes prior to each practice. Yummy!

    I’m still trying to gtt the sounds I need first time, every time. It requires patience and persistence, as Venugopal first told me. If I am manipulating nine or more random variables and only get eight out of nine close to perfect, the one remaining variable could still render me unable to produce a tone. What does one do when that occurs?

    With my perfect bansuri, all I need to do is listen even more carefully to what I have just blown. Its shape contains the roadmap back to serenity.

    More than a few times, I have been unable to distinguish a sequence of notes I play from the struggles of newborn finches and sparrows learning to sing in the springtime at my house here in the treetops. I hear these fledglings every year trying to get their sound right, with tentative tweets and plaintive squeaks, as they try to assemble their tunes. I am like that.

    As with all life, humans are smart and opportunistic. We capitalize on new phenomena and this is true with how the bamboo flute was created. In India, it is said that Krishna created the bansuri after he heard the sound bamboo made after it had been partially eaten by termites, as it whistled in the wind. In the United States, the Sioux tell how a heavenly woodpecker summoned a warrior in a dream to walk into the forest where that woodpecker had created a wooden flute by pecking holes into a tree branch. Limestone carvings from Saqqara, Egypt from 4500 years ago clearly show a seated bamboo flute player. Bamboo flutes have been in China and Europe for thousands of years.

    Most of the bamboo flutes throughout history were rather small in length, with a voice more like a piccolo or meadowlark than an owl. Fortunately for me, Pannalal Ghosh invented the lengthy E bass bamboo flute in 1936 with a range of two and a half octaves. It plays fully chromatic scales using subtle fingering techniques with between twenty four notes and sixty four individual notes per octave, depending on the raga. The extraordinary tonal control, visible on YouTube, obtained by Nityanand Haldipur, the teacher of my teacher was life changing for me. These large bansuris have a very deep, rich tone reminiscent of how Beethoven gave bassoons a central role in his later symphonies; most notably in his 6th Symphony (the “Pastorale”).

    Now that I often produce heavenly tones on my bansuri, my study of how to assemble them into scales and melodies has begun. The birds are waiting, and have been most encouraging.

  7. I still remember your story in Orion magazine about cutting grass with a scythe. It reminded me of the peace we feel when we are connected. Our challenge then, is not to surrender to the despair we may feel around us in the face of overwhelming forces, but to connect and find what peace we may during troubling times. And in that peace, though it may start small, great things may grow. Sisu.

    Thank you for having the courage and fortitude to start the Dark Mountain journey. Best wishes for your next adventure!

  8. I want to honour the mutuallity of the seeing that has occured over the past 10 years , Yourself and Dougal Hine had the courage and foresite to light a small and bright campfire in the dark woods. Many of us have warmed ourselves by the glow of that fire and those flames in the dark have cast there light on both the strange convivial company of those that have gathered and truths within that i never expected to find. For myself , I have grown ,These days I have learnt to light that fire myself. Your undertakings have been no small part in this. Blessings on you dear Paul Kingsnorth .

  9. I am selfish!y sorry to read this, but I look forward to hearing more th you in whatever you do next. I hope The Dark Mountain Project continues to grow as a community;as others have, I’ve found something here that is lacking in our daily dialofue, and finding it has made me less alone. And the work here has made me want to create again.

  10. Thanks for all of your hard work on the project, Paul, and for taking a chance on publishing a scientist’s sometimes incoherent thoughts. Dark Mountain has been an opportunity for me to think more broadly about my work and what I do as a teacher and researcher. I’ve not always agreed with everything you’ve written, nor indeed all of what the project is about, but it has always been stimulating and thought provoking. Best of luck in the future!

  11. Strange things happen when you don’t go out searching too. Several years ago I idly picked up Real England from the ‘just out’ table in my local bookshop, and felt that I was reading something written just for me. Or rather, a more erudite version of my own brain seemed to be talking to me.

    At around the same time, your name appeared in the Guardian. You had set up this thing called The Dark Mountain Project. At first it seemed a little crazy, like giving up, but of course it is the only sane response possible in these times.

    Since then I’ve followed your journey through your web postings, books and of course Dark Mountain. I’ve always been struck by the weight of thought that lies behind your words.

    It strikes me as interesting that one goes out searching for things when, seen from the outside, it seems like the path was always there. You just glimpse it from the corner of your eye, or hear it just as you fall asleep. It’s fair to say that your words have been a comfort and inspiration to me these last ten years. I wish you the best of luck in your search that music.

  12. I’m 52, poor, and live in a big city in loud, coarse America. My life, on the outside, is very different from your’s Paul (as I told you in an e-letter), yet I have truly enjoyed reading your writings in the last month since I found them.
    Thanks for all of the work, and for sharing.
    Good luck with everything.
    I’ll keep my eye out for future Kingsnorth writings.

      • We do need some groups in the U.S. I’m hoping the new web site that is in production will enable DM’ers to connect up?

        P.S. @ Paul, your courage to follow your inner voice has also – numerous times – given me the courage to follow mine. It’s an echo that keeps reverberating. Best of luck & we’ll look forward to updates.

  13. Paul… I’d like to add my voice to all of these appreciations.

    Dark Mountain is a very particular voice in a world that finds it difficult to articulate or to hear uncomfortable truths. Thank you for the time and energy you have devoted to this work and thanks too for the gift of your words which, as others have said, have often put form on my own pre-formed intuitions.

    I wish you well as you take the next step on your path, and say thank you to those who will keep Dark Mountain aloft and alive.

  14. I’d like to chime in here and say thank you for all the kind comments. It’s clear how much DM means, and has meant, to many people; as indeed it has to me. It will continue to do the things it needs to do, and which so few others are doing. I’ll be watching supportively from the sidelines. I don’t know what comes next for me, but it will always be informed by my time on the slopes. Thanks again for all your kindness.

    • Thanks to you Paul!

      Feel very blessed to have studied with you and Martin Shaw last year on Dartmoor. Such an important weekend for me during a personal period of great change – your inspiring words were like medicine. I read ‘The Wake’ shortly afterwards and it hit me like a tonne of bricks. Thanks for everything and best of luck for the future.

  15. Damn, look at this community of wonderfulness you’ve established and connected over the years, Paul. This, at long last, is a viable answer to Jack Johnson’s sage ‘where’d all the good people go?’ question (only wish it was easier to connect with fellow mountaineers along the ancient goatpaths of the DM). A truly impressive and important feat – all the best on your path down to the tree-line and beyond.

    • Being a newer subscriber, It saddens me to hear this. However, I am at the same time reminded that Dark Mountain is such a collective of voices that I have a strong belief that it’s spirit and sense will not diminish, just change, as always.

      Paul, may your path take you amazing places as you continue on, and Thank You.

  16. Many thanks Paul. Since 2003 in “One No Many Yeses” and through your blogs and the Dark Mountain Project you, and of course the many contributors, have helped crystallise my nascent thoughts about the deteriorating state of the globe and our responsibility toward it.
    I will continue to follow the path up the Dark Mountain in search of truth and beauty and of course your future meanderings. Good luck on the next stage of your life’s journey.

  17. Paul, I wish you the best. Your work has, only recently, influenced my thoughts on the environment and how best to move forward. I’ve been trying to save the world, writing about renewable energy and all those other “solutions” environmentalists talk about. Don’t get me wrong, I think renewables are much better than burning fossil fuels, but all of our actions have environmental consequences.

    It was Brian Calvert’s essay in High Country News, however, that introduced me to your work and an alternate perspective, which I greatly appreciate. As a result, I’ve started sharing that perspective on my website and reading publications, such as Resilience. I’m not sure where I’m headed because I see the complexities of it all, now. But most importantly, you remind me to reach deeper, and, for that, I’m forever grateful.

  18. Whatever you set out to do, I wish you all the best. Dark Mountain is a truly unique project with a special place in my heart and in the hearts of many others. I am truly grateful for your contributions to the project, and may your new endeavors be lively, fulfilling and intense!

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