Shuck and Jive

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Legacy of Asphalt

The Awakening the Dreamer symposium is only two days away. If you are near our mountain I hope you will join us from 9:30-4 on Saturday. Dave and Bonnie Collacutt will be our facilitators. Here is a poem Dave sent to get us in the mood:

The Legacy of Asphalt

Imagine a past in which the future
is sustainable
in which vibrant communities
of bacteria and chickens
and worms and horses
and people and plants
can thrive in the sunshine
and enjoy the coolness
of a bright harvest moon.
That past is now,
that future is coming
whether or not we are ready for it.

Imagine small communities of people
congregating to scheme the demise of big oil,
of big everything;
banding together to preserve skills
and vegetables
that would have been forgotten,
paved over in the rush toward
asphalt prairie parkinglots
surrounding big-box buildings
where souls and entire futures,
even hairdryers and
canned cornfructose confections
were sold so cheaply to comatose consumers
that the future didn't even matter.

The ancient past was merely sunshine
stuffed into deep domed vaults
buried over eons and now
broken into and plundered;
corrupted into plastic bags and shrinkwrap
to contain our metamobile dreams
of distant fruits and cheap furnishings
whisked clear all the way from China and Chile-
the spoils of cheap oil
churning a blistering wake
through recent history
enabling skyscrapers and SUVs
to diminish our horizons;
to globalize our every whim
into distant carnage and dead soldiers
on the far side of nowhere.

Forests felled, fragile webs of life
smeared away under a thin layer
of asphalt and convenience;
the spread of civilization
or is it a disease?
Suburban slime mold suppurating
over quickly forgotten landscapes
where complex communities of creatures
used to sustain each other-
What future has this planet?

Imagine small communities of people
banding together to cooperate and learn from weeds
how to undo the legacy of asphalt,
to learn from worms and nematodes
how to overcome the shortsighted salvation
bestowed on us by Walmart and McDonalds and Monsanto-
big bellied priests of the big box, big oil temple of doom
that cannot survive the future
that we, brandishing hope,
will call into beautiful existence
from the fertile ashes of yesterday.

Roy Foster


  1. The Legacy of Asphalt is my dream. But it is very hard for me to imagine it ever coming to being through big government, since big government is the biggest reason we are where we are today with big everything. How is the Legacy of Asphalt compatible with big government that bails out big corporations, subsidizes big farming, fights wars for big oil, etc, etc?

  2. The future (should we or our descendants survive) will be locally governed. Big corporations, big government, globalization, etc. will be gone, broken up into small communities. Think 18th century.

    I don't know that of course. It is my guess.

  3. John, I heard about your dog via facebook. I hope he comes home, and I hope your symposium goes well this weekend.

    I think we want similar things for the world (i.e. world peace, justice, an end to corruption); we just have different views on how to bring them about.

    I don't think the future will be as archaic as the 18th century, we will still have our technology and hopefully everyone will have solar energy for their homes and cars will be battery operated with power from nuclear energy. I see a very bright future if we can put an end to the money masters. I'll write more later....

  4. Snickers found! Thanks!

    Symposium will be good. Hope you can come.

    We are a long way, long, long way, from any energy source that can take the place of fossil fuels that are on their downward slope in regards to production.

    Hopefully we will keep our memory of the things we learned during this blip in fossil fuel use.