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This post and all other posts on our website are snippets from Firth's writings on Substack.

The River’s Pall & Autumn’s gods

The river and her morning rise does not need a name in the same way that their mist does not need our work. Human production has nothing to do with it.

Out of the unspoken, crystal pall a dawn mist rose  up the river from her valley. It tore her from her final, glacial work through a heavenly alchemy—transforming what had long appeared as stable into a spirit dream, that which is ultimately unstable and ultimately heading toward nowhere at all. Indefinable time, that is, uncountable moments descended in a noiseless and bloodless ghost-grey fog, as though the gods themselves reached their gilded hands earthward to lift us earthlings up to dine with them. What will they serve?

Summer, of course—her blood in amber and pain plated horns and her yellow-orange hued corpse over antimony and copper. This morning, we, the rising river, the morning’s crystal pall, feast.

Scientists tell us that the morning mist above the snaking, river valley is just radiation fog. It is prevalent during the later ages of our year and forms in the early clicks of our day’s clocks, as the river valley’s air cools and stabilizes, deepening upwards as elevation’s air begins to cool under the morning’s dawn-darkness. More simply—it rises when the air above it cools and this happens in late-autumn’s morning. Some “regenerative” ranchers confuse this great and heavenly magic as the ocular of their own field’s invisible transpiration—the water “their” plant’s release after photosynthesis.

“Look at this,” they say, “we are affecting the small, water cycle. This is regeneration in action.”

Appalled and feeling unknown, the rising river and her crystal mist laughs sadly and the old master answers rudely, the way that you have spoken and the name that you have given is not my way, it is not my name.

The river and her morning rise does not need a name in the same way that their mist does not need our work. Human production has nothing to do with it.

In the heart of everything the river flows. In the autumn morning she often forgets, as rivers have the tendency to do, about their time-humbled flow and the timelessness of their seasonal show, which that undulating oak leaf, whose bronze shimmer ascends into the eye of an ungulate silently grazing amongst her reeds and willows, does itself already know. But rivers, like their rising, morning mist, are also infamous couriers of that which they do not own and this morning’s skyward river was your standard type. The season subjugated rush of late-autumn mountain water, the family-urged and inland surge of trout, the debris silently denting her depths which finally finds a home when the beaver builds its dome. This is the river—it is nameless and its rising, morning way is heaven and earth’s pathway.

Will you, rise with me? Will you, dine with me? They are reaching for us.

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