I think I am definitely the most arboreal science fiction writer. It’s all right for the rest of you who climbed down, and developed opposable thumbs, and erect posture, and all that. There’s a few of us still up here swinging

Ursula K. Le Guin – The Word of Unbinding

I can’t tell trees and vertigo apart

Shakes are cracks in timber, growth-waves after a tree has been felled, a mottled rattle in which imaginations of graticular lines decorticate like involucral bracts of rue

A felled tree (a belimbed site synonymous with vertiginous orientation as cosmological extant) if not already transformed, circles its own departure in slow decimal sump

A fallen tree shakes as metabolic ton to the environment that alters itself

Rather than remaining suspended by centrality, mass sheds its kin by oscillating wildly, like the blazing trees of Hannah Cohoon, painted during spiritual visitations like the braille of hummingbirds

ring shake

a tree with no mouth converses with vacuum

Growth rings are a tree’s transient subsistence, lumpen routes often called wandering hearts, a concordant alchemy woven through concentric eclogues

Realising that seasonal rates of growth were reflected in the rings of trees, Anton van Leeuwenhoek calls for fish scales, placing them under the soft sun of a microscope, arching up to bellow that the lamellae of every ring is a folded almanac of saturnine proportion

A more or less rounded body, sometimes spherical, sometimes flattened, in which the calcareous matter is laid down in concentric zones, denser and clearer layers alternating with one another

The above description of the ear-bone of a fish, written by D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, could well be of the coaxial growth rings of a tree. Piscine ear stones are rings we cannot hear ringing. Found in pelting galls of tangled light, they are the fossils of animals before they die

Hoping to become the velocity of vibration fanning out along the three axes of a tree (among inner bark, across and along rings), John Tyndal wraps his auscultating body around a forest, concluding that aspen and beech are the most involved in sonorous transmissions

A tree’s energetic organs are fecund vascular bundles in the mouths of lozenged beasts. Orchards live in the heat of their spinning cells facing osmotic north

We break frequencies open, the orange wolf-weave of a spider’s spinneret, in gnosis of spectral intimacy

heart shake 

a tree opens under the weight of lunar voltage

Heartwood is a frozen accident. As wood hardens a tree is thought to die, and yet they can thrive as such a central organ decays. This seeming contradiction of axes is a vertigo tree of centripetal senescence, an inner transpiration stream along which the volume and vapour of sapwood can incipiently push inert xylem toward the petrified chaos of invisible mud

Cavitation (the insane cataracts of an internal storm) occurs in the xylem of a tree when the teeth of water chew holes in atmospheric pressure. As sap vaporises like Ophelial cells consuming their own organs, kinetic bundles of xylem (which under a microscope look like the spiralling colons of dog fish) thump against the revolving layers of a tree

The sound of cavitation as a noiseless flowing river, arms of lacerated spermatophores.  The pulse, not unlike that a death watch beetle, swallows the infrasound of its mating call until it bursts

frost shake

the outside of moisture is absorbed by a tree as if its wounds were drinking

Empedocles believes that Aphrodite lit a fire in his eyes, sonorous beams of yellowing extramission, eyes are a hidden throat, reticular echolocating clicks, penumbral shapes as a bat remakes sound

Duramen, translated to the great hardener, is a word thought to have been coined by Lucretius in book 6 of his On The Nature of Things. This is his last book and is at pains to explain the Epicurean (that gardener of gravity) flecks of geology, meteorology and metempsychosis

Many of the passages are concerned with the portentous nature of thunder, volcanoes and earthquakes, with Lucretius tasking himself to wash such signs from the residual sweat of the gods, previously divined in seed patterns of pomegranate and fig

In book 6, Lucretius refers to ice as that obstacle which everywhere curbs back the eager rivers. The Latin aestus can mean both vertigo and emission. Lucretius’s organs discern meteorological miasma suckling sky and soil in becoming the very world they observe, nebulae of vacillating declension in the ice that reflects the stars.

The sun is an incandescent stone, says Anaxagoras, who lives with the infinite beauty of an undulating cosmos

thunder shake

fossilised fields of a tree fall from the ground

We turn shaking to spinning, a shift mouthed in the alterations as air to fluid innervating ear. Such change encases nerve cells within particles of oxygen, a microbial richness passing through the round window of an inner ear’s membranous labyrinth like a fulvous nerve-net

In the first volume of his Zoonomia, Erasmus Darwin writes of a conversation with a famous canal builder called James Brindley, who says that he often observes people reclining over the large stone of a corn-mill, and that by gradually letting the stone whirl, they fall asleep

Erasmus subsequently coins the term, rotation therapy, and in the second volume of Zoonomia, describes a desire to spin others into states of nausea and vim:

…The usual way of reciprocating swinging, like the oscillations of a pendulum, produces a degree of vertigo in those who are unused to it; but to give it greater effect, the patient should be placed in a chair suspended from the ceiling by two parallel cords in contact with each other, the chair should then be forcibly revolved 20 or 40 times one way, and suffered to return spontaneously; which induces a degree of sickness in most adult people, and is well worth an exact and pertinacious trial, for an hour or two, three or four times a day for a month

In 1786 Marcus Herz writes to Immanuel Kant, wondering if vertigo is perhaps the opposite of boredom… or could it be a condition of confusion in which the mind feels itself to have too fast a succession of ideas? As a head rotates, its effluence becomes meteorological depth, disturbing the superficial boundaries of above and below, gyrating in a rain of meted particles

In Religion of Wood, Thomas Merton writes that the peculiar grace of a Shaker chair is due to the fact that it was made by someone capable of believing that an angel might come and sit on it. I can’t help but wonder if semicircular canals, convulsive balance organs of an inner ear, are chairs made for gravity

Jan Evangelista Purkinjě holds that visual vertigo is a consequence of the conflict between unconscious involuntary muscular actions and voluntary conscious ones in the opposite direction. In order to prove his hypothesis he spins through bodily planes for an hour until electrons in his eyes begin to consume their own muscles. This idea is subsequently taken up by many a clinician as they subject harnessed patients to inured streams of pummelling syncope and pulmonary rotation

The homoeomerous body of gravity seeks its lost etiology. Sat on the chairs of semicircular canals, it is the wind of its own peculiar grace. If the creaking and calked chair breaks, gravity becomes its own vertigo, reduced to shaking rings like cumulus piles drifting over plant-held waters

A Shaker rises from their rocking chair, spinning in the air like the space of half an hour, branching out to a nearby pond to spin once more, like a top, then blisfully returns to the chair. Shakers spin in the spirit of simplicity, creating a psychological medium in which frictionless cooperation reaches maximum possibility

star shake

a tree chants static gut flowers

Starshake is the finitude in finity trying to take place before a centre. The upside down tree of the Bhagavad Gita has been called an ontic terror, a symbol that moves the cosmos like unravelling worms in the astral phonations of entoptic bodies

A centripetal force of deep love travels along medullary rays (the unravelling edges of masks that carry luminescence within their soft bones), a motion familiar with the ways in which philosophers once heard themselves in the life of celestial bodies

Paracelsus states that every physician should simultaneously be an alchemist and an astrologer. Henry Corbin lives this through the Mazdean imago terrae, a cosmological botany in which the ancient Persian art of flowers plays the part of the prima materia (an oily water from which branches infinitely multiply), alchemical meditation acting as a caution against burning the flowers

Botanical contemplation provides emblems for the imagination that flows through the celestial earth, a vernacular in which the Parsee angels, like bees, resonate in accord with their plants

In hierophantic space, time is no longer profane time where dates can be recorded as history. Time becomes the mind of the stars as their magnetic fields penetrate into the earth. Terrestrial night closes around them like air around a bird

The liquid of circadian fields (an eros of hermetic imagination and sensual delight), is enthroned by Charles Fourier as the reality principle, one in which the stars and planets, alive and conscious, correspond with each other and the animate universe by means of aromal rays

We find the basis of Fourier’s laws of passionate attraction (adducing Isaac Newtown’s gravitational calculus) in his early botanical experiments, an intricate and highly personal system in which pots and flowers are carefully arranged by colour, size and need. Fields of symmetrical patterns emanate and echo throughout his endless visions of social harmony

organ shake

a tree is friction, relic, blazon, noise

Anaxagoras is slime on clay, bark, flesh, bone and leaf. He is at a loss to explain why flesh is not to be found in wood, sniffs the edges of an eldritch order of intimacy (some self-replicating molecular system enfolding a psychoid split before consciousness manipulated the world), a meandering negation of over there when all things were together, when nothing was distinct, not even light and dark. He hears in the dispersal of seeds what Wilson Bentley tastes in the dendritic voltage of snow crystals

During a brief foray into the vitreous opacities of entoptic experience, often referred to as light dust, Purkinjě describes seeing black tree-like forms after staring at the flame of a candle close enough to welt, deducing that such branching forms are the result of the retina perceiving itself

In the late 1700s, undergoing a similar experiment, J. Eichel observes luminous rings manifesting at the periphery of his visual field, skin feathers that are assumed to cycle along his edges as if projections of the compass of his optic nerve

After undergoing a number of attempts to manifest rings of light dust, the sky no longer seems blue (but so many grades of dissolving violet), as if all that were left of colour were its constellating trajectory, inaudible whistle of acetylene.

Entoptic phenomena are a moult of infrasubjective simulacra, lattices of retinal mesh in jellied topologies crackling with meteorological streaks and blue arcs, macular star patterns and umbilical eruptions

Vertigo emerges to loosen the mothered membranes of the skull, spurting plasmic filaments along subarachnoid vents and infinitesimal electric faces of gravity that look up at the stars, convincing us they are silent, that we are down here

covered in static, vertigo returns to a forest

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