“attentiveness alone can rival the most powerful magnifying lens.”
Living at the limits of our ordinary perception, mosses are a common but largely unnoticed element of the natural world. “Gathering Moss” is a beautifully written mix of science and personal reflection that invites readers to explore and learn from the elegantly simple lives of mosses.
In this series of linked personal essays, Robin Kimmerer leads general readers and scientists alike to an understanding of how mosses live and how their lives are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings. Kimmerer explains the biology of mosses clearly and artfully, while at the same time reflecting on what these fascinating organisms have to teach us.
Drawing on her experiences as a scientist, a mother, and a Native American, Kimmerer explains the stories of mosses in scientific terms as well as in the framework of indigenous ways of knowing. In her book, the natural history and cultural relationships of mosses become a powerful metaphor for ways of living in the world.
“the tiny pool of water held in a spoon-shaped leaf is the perfect resting place for a waterbear, as plump and gelatinous as a candy gummy bear. the moisture in a moss mat is as vital to the moss as it is to the waterbear. but, since mosses are non-vascular, their water content fluctuates with the amount of water in the environment. the moss leaves shrivel and contort as water evaporates, leaving them crisp and dry. the waterbears too, simply shrink when desiccated to as little as one-eight of their size forming barrel- shaped miniatures of themselves called tuns. metabolism is reduced to near zero and the tun can survive in this state for years. the tuns blow around in the dry winds like specks of dust, landing on new clumps of moss and dispersing farther than their short waterbear legs could ever carry them.”
Timewatch – The Bog Bodies (2006) on youtube (low-quality)
4000 Year Old Cold Case – The Body in the Bog
spacetime coordinates: 1870 ColoradoSlow West is a 2015 British/New Zealand western film written and directed by John Maclean in his directorial debut. It stars Kodi Smit-McPhee as a young man searching for his lost love in the American West, accompanied by a bounty hunter played by Michael Fassbender.
Wind River is a 2017 American neo-western murder mystery thriller film written and directed by Taylor Sheridan. The film stars Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tracker and an FBI agent, respectively, who try to solve a murder on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. According to Sheridan, the opening “inspired by true events” card was a reference to the “thousands of actual stories just like it” involving sexual assault of women on reservations, his primary motivation for writing the film.
spacetime coordinates: pre-Columbian Yucatan and Guatemala, 1502
Apocalypto is a 2006 American epic adventure film directed and produced by Mel Gibson and written by Gibson and Farhad Safinia. Similar to Gibson’s earlier film The Passion of the Christ, all dialogue is in a modern approximation of the ancient language of the setting. Here, the Yucatec Maya language is used, with English and other language subtitles, which sometimes refer to the language as Mayan.
spacetime coordinates: Ireland 1905 > England 1924 // uncharted eastern Bolivia 1906, uncharted Amazonia 1912, 1925 // Battle of the Somme, France 1916
The Lost City of Z is a 2016 American biographical adventure drama film written and directed by James Gray, based on the 2009 book of the same name by David Grann. It describes real events surrounding British explorer Percy Fawcett who was sent to Bolivia and later made several attempts to find an ancient lost city in the Amazon and disappeared in 1925 along with his son on an expedition.
On 21 March 2004, the British newspaper The Observer reported that television director Misha Williams, who had studied Fawcett’s private papers, believed that Fawcett had not intended to return to Britain but rather meant to found a commune in the jungle based on theosophical principles and the worship of his son Jack. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percy_Fawcett
Ravenous is a 1999 Czech-American black comedy horror-suspense film directed by Antonia Bird and starring Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, Jeffrey Jones and David Arquette. The film revolves around cannibalism in 1840s California and some elements bear similarities to the story of the Donner Party and that of Alferd Packer. Screenwriter Ted Griffin lists Packer’s story, as recounted in a couple of paragraphs of Dashiell Hammett‘s The Thin Man, as one of his inspirations for Carlyle’s character.
The film’s darkly humorous and ironic take on its gruesome subject matter have led some to label it simply as a black comedy or a satire. The film’s unique score by Michael Nyman and Damon Albarn generated a significant amount of attention.
the wendigo (Algonquian folklore)
spacetime coordinates: 18th century South America
The Mission is based on events surrounding the Treaty of Madrid in 1750, in which Spain ceded part of Jesuit Paraguay to Portugal. A significant subtext is the impending Suppression of the Jesuits, of which Father Gabriel is warned by the film’s narrator, Cardinal Altamirano, who was once himself a Jesuit. Altamirano, speaking in hindsight in 1758, corresponds to the actual Andalusian Jesuit Father Luis Altamirano, who was sent by Jesuit Superior General Ignacio Visconti to Paraguay in 1752 to transfer territory from Spain to Portugal. He oversaw the transfer of seven missions south and east of the Río Uruguay, that had been settled by Guaranis and Jesuits in the 17th century. As compensation, Spain promised each mission 4,000 pesos, or fewer than 1 peso for each of the circa 30,000 Guaranis of the seven missions, while the cultivated lands, livestock, and buildings were estimated to be worth 7–16 million pesos. The film’s climax is the Guarani War of 1754–1756, during which historical Guaranís defended their homes against Spanish-Portuguese forces implementing the Treaty of Madrid. For the film, a re-creation was made of one of the seven missions, São Miguel das Missões.
Father Gabriel’s character is loosely based on the life of Paraguayan saint and Jesuit Roque González de Santa Cruz. The story is taken from the book The Lost Cities of Paraguay by Father C. J. McNaspy, S.J., who was also a consultant on the film.
The waterfall setting of the film suggests the combination of these events with the story of older missions, founded between 1610–1630 on the Paranapanema River above the Guaíra Falls, from which Paulista slave raids forced Guaranís and Jesuits to flee in 1631. The battle at the end of the film evokes the eight-day Battle of Mbororé in 1641, a battle fought on land as well as in boats on rivers, in which the Jesuit-organized, firearm-equipped Guaraní forces stopped the Paulista raiders.