Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Out of the Darkness

In an article linked in a post below, Hakim Bey writes about the well-underway Autonomous Zone Movement, where people have been actively seeking ways to restore human contact through various periodic gatherings and unmediated festivals, encampments, and nights of liberation. Which reminded me of one exceptionally dark night in a pilot house illuminated solely by the amber glow on the compass and red hue from the Radio Direction Finder and marineband radio to which we listened with distraction on our long slow journey crossing the Gulf of Alaska one night, on our way from Cape Fairweather to Cape St. Elias.

Briefly, as we smoked hand-rolled cigarettes and sipped boat coffee with our chocolate chip cookies, we caught a trace of English amongst the clutter of Russian and Japanese from the fleets of high seas trawlers working through the night somewhere over the horizon. As we checked our drift and set by radio and chart in those days before GPS, we momentarily heard the words "Bering, Bering--Beaver, over" and I excitedly set caliper and parallel rule aside as Thorstein disengaged the auto-pilot motor to better hear the faint voice perhaps calling our vessel out of the darkness.

When I took the helm while Sandy replied, the fleeting communication from his son--far away in the Aleutians--made possible by some unexplained combination of atmospheric conditions, informed us of his progress toward the cannery at Naknek, and then was gone. And when recalling these voices in the ether long ago, I was reminded of the virtual archipelago of voices gathered periodically in the virtual reality of blogging, and what delight ensues when we hear voices of those we've met, as well as those we hope to someday, and how this communicating in the dark and across the ether is creating in some small way part of the fabric of what Hakim Bey once wrote about in his essays on communing face-to-face.

And I think about the fact of our cultural marginilization, but take heart in the knowledge that we are at least self-organized.


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