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R.G. Miga, who (judging by context clues) lives near Cayuga Lake, asks what the lake wants:

It’s looking like the lake wants its swamp back. The lake has gotten tired of these impetuous people and their silly little projects. It’s been talking with the waterfalls in the cliffs above, who are also tired of being dammed up and denied their full power; the waterfalls remember how things used to be, too, back before these fragile creatures started bustling around with their schemes. They want it all back. They want what belonged to them for thousands of years before.

This is an animist way of speaking about the land, but one that attempts to be realistic about the situation:

There’s plenty of vague gesturing in this direction in progressive circles, toward making decisions based on the imagined personhood of the land. But this often fails, because people want to imagine the land as a kindly old grandparent—the nurturing sort who wishes you would make better choices, would visit more often, but will resign themselves to quiet, long-suffering disappointment if you keep screwing up.

In our case, it makes more sense to imagine the lake as an angry demigod that has the power to comprehensively fuck up our lives if we keep trifling with it.

This, I believe, is the way any animism that is facing the reality of the world today must speak about the gods and spirits. We are no longer living in the world of the bucolic poets. We are living in the world of Robinson Jeffers, with the violence of the ocean and the indifference of granite in his poems. We are living in a world where Pan—exiled by the Christian church—has returned and brings anxiety with him.

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