Last Updated On January 1, 2019

 

Any decent realtor, walking you through a real shithole, chirps on about good bones: This place could be beautiful, right? You could make this place beautiful. -from Good Bones by Maggie Smith

 

 

Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.
Or my tenacity for slowness.

I want to share with you some sloth smarts. Yes, SLOTH. Like the animal, not the sin. I’ve been applying experiential overlays with sloth logic on a flatbed projector just like they used in elementary school.

Sloths are arboreal, meaning they spend nearly all their time in trees. And by “trees”, I mean maybe two.
Two trees.
For their whole sloth life.
They use absurdly oversized sickle shaped claws and disparately developed forelimbs to hang from the branches.

*My first human overlay: What if they were all just trees. All the anxiety provoking situations and uncomfortable environments and fuzzy social contracts…just another tree. Because really, are they all that novel? Are they all that threatening? Are they really worth all that hand-wringing and hyper-focussing on our deficiencies? Probably not. Its just another tree. So take a breathe, we are all just hanging in one of a few trees living our lives.

So the tree- they mate up there. They eat up there. They sleep up there. They have babies up there. The only thing they don’t do is defecate up there (unlike our ancestors who are just like- bombs away).

Once a month (yes, month) the sloth makes the treacherous descent to the forest floor to dig a hole, poop in it, and cover it up. Then laboriously return to its leafy home. I’ve heard different explanations for this behavior- perhaps it serves to make its tree less noticeable to predators or maybe the sloth is contributing to the compost nourishing its tree’s roots. But either way, its a huge effort and a grave danger.

*Another overlay: I am inspired by the fastidiousness and the investment of the sloth. Even under duress, even facing the most dire of possibilities, even when its just…inconvenient.

On the ground, sloths are extremely vulnerable. They can’t even walk on their hind legs. They just kind of awkwardly drag themselves around by the toe claws. If you’ve ever seen a sloth moving determinedly through the branches or (surprise!) propelling itself through water- you never want to see it trying to navigate land. It is too sad.

*But you know what, they do it any way. They publicly struggle. Many of us do. And thats ok, in fact its more that ok, its commendable because it gives others the courage and the permission to do it. To do it badly, to do it slowly, to do it painstakingly because it is human (but not exclusively, because it is also sloth).

But to see a sloth move under normal circumstances is beautiful. Its like performance art. Its like tai chi. Some movements appear deliberate and some casual or habitual and some seems to listlessly cease before it reaches its natural conclusion. And its impossible to tell the difference between intention and artistry, beginning and ending because it is all. so. slow. There is blur in the quick, but also distortion in the slow- for us at least, because we are not used to appreciating life frame by frame. Not the sloth though, the sloth knows whats up. Or it knew, until it passed out from exhaustion, and then it didn’t matter any more.

*So I wonder what would happen if we were deprived of our quick retorts and our reflexive reactions. What if we allowed our eyes to cloud over and gestured vaguely with our crescent digits. What if we took a brief snooze. What would matter upon waking? And how would our perceptions differ if we could see every evolution, if we felt every contraction?

A sloth has a world on its back. Not zoo sloths- they look like they got a blow-out at the salon. Sloths in the wild, however, have a total ecosystem going on in their fur. They have tiny symbiotic organisms making a life amongst their follicles, and then another order of living things feeding on them. There is actually a moth that exists nowhere else than on a sloth’s back. Additionally, a nutritional algae grows on the surface of the sloth, so they can basically have a green shake whenever they want, no co-op required. I wonder if these living dependents see the sloth for what it is. Do they even notice its movements, can they conceive of its entirety, do they imagine its intentions? Do they think the sloth is a landform or a forest or a god?

*I’ve started imagining the worlds that people carry on their backs. Their resources, their responsibilities, all the ecosystems they support- their god-like potential and their god-like reality. I consider what my own back-scape contains, the wonders and the weights.

The sloth that I met in person, who I like to call *my* sloth, endlessly masticated a cheese snack as it clung to her handler’s chest like a hairy overall bib. Her gaze was unfocussed and she was making a royal mess of it. There was cheesy particulate hanging from her eyelid yet she was unfazed, and continued to smack and drool and negotiate thin ropes of mucus-y cheese until fatigue set in and her tongue lazily lolled out the side of her mouth.

Right then, I love her.

*I feel compelled to throw this in right now- it is totally acceptable to completely lose your shit over meeting a sloth. Even as this year is ending and a new one is beginning, we can all be assured that the suffering will continue (just another tree). We will shed many tears. Blessed be the tears that are shed for enthusiasm and laughter and appreciation and gratitude. Cry like there is a sloth watching!

The pure emotion washed over me powerfully and I start to hiccup uncontrollably as if I too am struggling with cheese. I love her. I love her messiness and her fortitude and her acquiesce. I love her pace. I love her radical awkwardness. Her utter strangeness and her unselfconsciousness. I love her appreciation of snacks and her ability to, if nothing else, hang on.

Which brings me to a sloth fact that I can’t seem to stop masticating on, much like a sloth and her cheese, (hopefully I make less of a mess of it). Because even though I love the sloth for being a weird little animal that seems totally at ease with itself, I also respect the sloth for the following:

Sloths fall victim to poachers. Unsurprisingly. They are pretty easy targets. However, if a poacher shoots the sloth in its tree, many times the sloth will remain hanging. Even in death. Unveiling an unreasonable tenacity and a certain badassery in foiling the efforts of the poacher. Essentially- “if you want me, come on up here and get me”.

*And THIS tidbit carries me into the new year. First- that no one, including myself, should be underestimated. And second- pain, grief, loss, cannot always be avoided- at the very least HANG ON and don’t make it easy. No one should find your diminishment an efficient task. No circumstance should find you flattened and broken before you even wrestle. Be weird, be awkward, be slow, be messy but also- be unshakable, be real, be appreciative, be a world unto yourself.

Happy 2019 everyone.

 

Last Updated On January 1, 2019

 

Any decent realtor, walking you through a real shithole, chirps on about good bones: This place could be beautiful, right? You could make this place beautiful. -from Good Bones by Maggie Smith

 

Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.
Or my tenacity for slowness.

I want to share with you some sloth smarts. Yes, SLOTH. Like the animal, not the sin. I’ve been applying experiential overlays with sloth logic on a flatbed projector just like they used in elementary school.

Sloths are arboreal, meaning they spend nearly all their time in trees. And by “trees”, I mean maybe two.
Two trees.
For their whole sloth life.
They use absurdly oversized sickle shaped claws and disparately developed forelimbs to hang from the branches.

*My first human overlay: What if they were all just trees. All the anxiety provoking situations and uncomfortable environments and fuzzy social contracts…just another tree. Because really, are they all that novel? Are they all that threatening? Are they really worth all that hand-wringing and hyper-focussing on our deficiencies? Probably not. Its just another tree. So take a breathe, we are all just hanging in one of a few trees living our lives.

So the tree- they mate up there. They eat up there. They sleep up there. They have babies up there. The only thing they don’t do is defecate up there (unlike our ancestors who are just like- bombs away).

Once a month (yes, month) the sloth makes the treacherous descent to the forest floor to dig a hole, poop in it, and cover it up. Then laboriously return to its leafy home. I’ve heard different explanations for this behavior- perhaps it serves to make its tree less noticeable to predators or maybe the sloth is contributing to the compost nourishing its tree’s roots. But either way, its a huge effort and a grave danger.

*Another overlay: I am inspired by the fastidiousness and the investment of the sloth. Even under duress, even facing the most dire of possibilities, even when its just…inconvenient.

On the ground, sloths are extremely vulnerable. They can’t even walk on their hind legs. They just kind of awkwardly drag themselves around by the toe claws. If you’ve ever seen a sloth moving determinedly through the branches or (surprise!) propelling itself through water- you never want to see it trying to navigate land. It is too sad.

*But you know what, they do it any way. They publicly struggle. Many of us do. And thats ok, in fact its more that ok, its commendable because it gives others the courage and the permission to do it. To do it badly, to do it slowly, to do it painstakingly because it is human (but not exclusively, because it is also sloth).

But to see a sloth move under normal circumstances is beautiful. Its like performance art. Its like tai chi. Some movements appear deliberate and some casual or habitual and some seems to listlessly cease before it reaches its natural conclusion. And its impossible to tell the difference between intention and artistry, beginning and ending because it is all. so. slow. There is blur in the quick, but also distortion in the slow- for us at least, because we are not used to appreciating life frame by frame. Not the sloth though, the sloth knows whats up. Or it knew, until it passed out from exhaustion, and then it didn’t matter any more.

*So I wonder what would happen if we were deprived of our quick retorts and our reflexive reactions. What if we allowed our eyes to cloud over and gestured vaguely with our crescent digits. What if we took a brief snooze. What would matter upon waking? And how would our perceptions differ if we could see every evolution, if we felt every contraction?

A sloth has a world on its back. Not zoo sloths- they look like they got a blow-out at the salon. Sloths in the wild, however, have a total ecosystem going on in their fur. They have tiny symbiotic organisms making a life amongst their follicles, and then another order of living things feeding on them. There is actually a moth that exists nowhere else than on a sloth’s back. Additionally, a nutritional algae grows on the surface of the sloth, so they can basically have a green shake whenever they want, no co-op required. I wonder if these living dependents see the sloth for what it is. Do they even notice its movements, can they conceive of its entirety, do they imagine its intentions? Do they think the sloth is a landform or a forest or a god?

*I’ve started imagining the worlds that people carry on their backs. Their resources, their responsibilities, all the ecosystems they support- their god-like potential and their god-like reality. I consider what my own back-scape contains, the wonders and the weights.

The sloth that I met in person, who I like to call *my* sloth, endlessly masticated a cheese snack as it clung to her handler’s chest like a hairy overall bib. Her gaze was unfocussed and she was making a royal mess of it. There was cheesy particulate hanging from her eyelid yet she was unfazed, and continued to smack and drool and negotiate thin ropes of mucus-y cheese until fatigue set in and her tongue lazily lolled out the side of her mouth.

Right then, I love her.

*I feel compelled to throw this in right now- it is totally acceptable to completely lose your shit over meeting a sloth. Even as this year is ending and a new one is beginning, we can all be assured that the suffering will continue (just another tree). We will shed many tears. Blessed be the tears that are shed for enthusiasm and laughter and appreciation and gratitude. Cry like there is a sloth watching!

The pure emotion washed over me powerfully and I start to hiccup uncontrollably as if I too am struggling with cheese. I love her. I love her messiness and her fortitude and her acquiesce. I love her pace. I love her radical awkwardness. Her utter strangeness and her unselfconsciousness. I love her appreciation of snacks and her ability to, if nothing else, hang on.

Which brings me to a sloth fact that I can’t seem to stop masticating on, much like a sloth and her cheese, (hopefully I make less of a mess of it). Because even though I love the sloth for being a weird little animal that seems totally at ease with itself, I also respect the sloth for the following:

Sloths fall victim to poachers. Unsurprisingly. They are pretty easy targets. However, if a poacher shoots the sloth in its tree, many times the sloth will remain hanging. Even in death. Unveiling an unreasonable tenacity and a certain badassery in foiling the efforts of the poacher. Essentially- “if you want me, come on up here and get me”.

*And THIS tidbit carries me into the new year. First- that no one, including myself, should be underestimated. And second- pain, grief, loss, cannot always be avoided- at the very least HANG ON and don’t make it easy. No one should find your diminishment an efficient task. No circumstance should find you flattened and broken before you even wrestle. Be weird, be awkward, be slow, be messy but also- be unshakable, be real, be appreciative, be a world unto yourself.

Happy 2019 everyone.

Last Updated On January 1, 2019

Any decent realtor, walking you through a real shithole, chirps on about good bones: This place could be beautiful, right? You could make this place beautiful. -from Good Bones by Maggie Smith

Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.
Or my tenacity for slowness.

I want to share with you some sloth smarts. Yes, SLOTH. Like the animal, not the sin. I’ve been applying experiential overlays with sloth logic on a flatbed projector just like they used in elementary school.

Sloths are arboreal, meaning they spend nearly all their time in trees. And by “trees”, I mean maybe two.
Two trees.
For their whole sloth life.
They use absurdly oversized sickle shaped claws and disparately developed forelimbs to hang from the branches.

*My first human overlay: What if they were all just trees. All the anxiety provoking situations and uncomfortable environments and fuzzy social contracts…just another tree. Because really, are they all that novel? Are they all that threatening? Are they really worth all that hand-wringing and hyper-focussing on our deficiencies? Probably not. Its just another tree. So take a breathe, we are all just hanging in one of a few trees living our lives.

So the tree- they mate up there. They eat up there. They sleep up there. They have babies up there. The only thing they don’t do is defecate up there (unlike our ancestors who are just like- bombs away).

Once a month (yes, month) the sloth makes the treacherous descent to the forest floor to dig a hole, poop in it, and cover it up. Then laboriously return to its leafy home. I’ve heard different explanations for this behavior- perhaps it serves to make its tree less noticeable to predators or maybe the sloth is contributing to the compost nourishing its tree’s roots. But either way, its a huge effort and a grave danger.

*Another overlay: I am inspired by the fastidiousness and the investment of the sloth. Even under duress, even facing the most dire of possibilities, even when its just…inconvenient.

On the ground, sloths are extremely vulnerable. They can’t even walk on their hind legs. They just kind of awkwardly drag themselves around by the toe claws. If you’ve ever seen a sloth moving determinedly through the branches or (surprise!) propelling itself through water- you never want to see it trying to navigate land. It is too sad.

*But you know what, they do it any way. They publicly struggle. Many of us do. And thats ok, in fact its more that ok, its commendable because it gives others the courage and the permission to do it. To do it badly, to do it slowly, to do it painstakingly because it is human (but not exclusively, because it is also sloth).

But to see a sloth move under normal circumstances is beautiful. Its like performance art. Its like tai chi. Some movements appear deliberate and some casual or habitual and some seems to listlessly cease before it reaches its natural conclusion. And its impossible to tell the difference between intention and artistry, beginning and ending because it is all. so. slow. There is blur in the quick, but also distortion in the slow- for us at least, because we are not used to appreciating life frame by frame. Not the sloth though, the sloth knows whats up. Or it knew, until it passed out from exhaustion, and then it didn’t matter any more.

*So I wonder what would happen if we were deprived of our quick retorts and our reflexive reactions. What if we allowed our eyes to cloud over and gestured vaguely with our crescent digits. What if we took a brief snooze. What would matter upon waking? And how would our perceptions differ if we could see every evolution, if we felt every contraction?

A sloth has a world on its back. Not zoo sloths- they look like they got a blow-out at the salon. Sloths in the wild, however, have a total ecosystem going on in their fur. They have tiny symbiotic organisms making a life amongst their follicles, and then another order of living things feeding on them. There is actually a moth that exists nowhere else than on a sloth’s back. Additionally, a nutritional algae grows on the surface of the sloth, so they can basically have a green shake whenever they want, no co-op required. I wonder if these living dependents see the sloth for what it is. Do they even notice its movements, can they conceive of its entirety, do they imagine its intentions? Do they think the sloth is a landform or a forest or a god?

*I’ve started imagining the worlds that people carry on their backs. Their resources, their responsibilities, all the ecosystems they support- their god-like potential and their god-like reality. I consider what my own back-scape contains, the wonders and the weights.

The sloth that I met in person, who I like to call *my* sloth, endlessly masticated a cheese snack as it clung to her handler’s chest like a hairy overall bib. Her gaze was unfocussed and she was making a royal mess of it. There was cheesy particulate hanging from her eyelid yet she was unfazed, and continued to smack and drool and negotiate thin ropes of mucus-y cheese until fatigue set in and her tongue lazily lolled out the side of her mouth.

Right then, I love her.

*I feel compelled to throw this in right now- it is totally acceptable to completely lose your shit over meeting a sloth. Even as this year is ending and a new one is beginning, we can all be assured that the suffering will continue (just another tree). We will shed many tears. Blessed be the tears that are shed for enthusiasm and laughter and appreciation and gratitude. Cry like there is a sloth watching!

The pure emotion washed over me powerfully and I start to hiccup uncontrollably as if I too am struggling with cheese. I love her. I love her messiness and her fortitude and her acquiesce. I love her pace. I love her radical awkwardness. Her utter strangeness and her unselfconsciousness. I love her appreciation of snacks and her ability to, if nothing else, hang on.

Which brings me to a sloth fact that I can’t seem to stop masticating on, much like a sloth and her cheese, (hopefully I make less of a mess of it). Because even though I love the sloth for being a weird little animal that seems totally at ease with itself, I also respect the sloth for the following:

Sloths fall victim to poachers. Unsurprisingly. They are pretty easy targets. However, if a poacher shoots the sloth in its tree, many times the sloth will remain hanging. Even in death. Unveiling an unreasonable tenacity and a certain badassery in foiling the efforts of the poacher. Essentially- “if you want me, come on up here and get me”.

*And THIS tidbit carries me into the new year. First- that no one, including myself, should be underestimated. And second- pain, grief, loss, cannot always be avoided- at the very least HANG ON and don’t make it easy. No one should find your diminishment an efficient task. No circumstance should find you flattened and broken before you even wrestle. Be weird, be awkward, be slow, be messy but also- be unshakable, be real, be appreciative, be a world unto yourself.

Happy 2019 everyone.