Does the word that just popped into your head show up here? Find out:

08 November, 2009


Only just now, typing the title, did the Dead Kennedys initial-joke click in my delayed response brain. DK = decay. Jello Biafra, be happy that you continue to provoke and amuse after all these years.

Like the punks and some of their fancy-pants intellectual allies, I embrace decay and believe that any good recipe for creation has to have at least a dash of destruction. But this is not just some intellectual BS (though I have plenty of that), not a philosophical position or a post-modern pose. In the most grounded ways possible, decay is crucial to my life.

Take away decay, and you rob me and every other archaeologist of a livelihood. Banish decomposition from this earth, and the material traces of our past all stand whole and ready for any chump to recognize. Part of the magic I possess that makes me an 'expert' is my eye for the pre-decayed reality of a place. The cabin that once stood where only a few fireplace stones remain today, the sumptuous meal reduced to some greasy cracked rocks buried in the ground, the hubris-wracked republic implied by a desert scattered with scorched human bone and cratered roads. If most of the past does not burn and rot, if parts of it are not swept away by floods and toppled by temblors, then my tribe's feat of reconstructing panoramas from a few random puzzle pieces becomes no more useful or interesting than broccoli in the lion's den.

And as with every other gardener, the pleasures and sustenance that grow from the earth would be denied me were decay to halt forever. The soil shat by microbes, worms and bugs, by rats, cows and compost bins--none of it would exist. And we'd be stuck trying to squeeze blood from stones. Life on earth would have run its course and died off long ago, like Dick Cheney's soul.

And so I embrace decay and adore entropy, those generators of middens and loams.

No comments:

Post a Comment