Since in these days we have become more interested in the environment I thought it helpful to quote Argus Joseph Thomspon, Insane, on some of his scattered and irrelevant thoughts on the subject. He begins describing the early light in the mountains of Wyoming.
Ah, the early light is the light! Nets of light. Yellow lattices of light. Great tubs of light spilling on the aspens, and the tips of the sagebrush glow like embers in the blacksmith’s forge, and the jagged edges of the mountains turn molten.
In the early light the air is brittle and snaps at the ears. Magpies squawk and the marmots shoot chirps so straight and shrill old boulders crack, and squirrels chip—chip, chip like squeaking wagon wheels, and the coyote yaps until the sun warms the tips of his shedding fir. Then he curls up in the early light and, silent as blue bells, he smiles and slumbers.
In the early light the breath of horses make golden mist, and their long nose hairs are light yellow with frost, and you can see their jaws smashing golden grasses and yellow prairie daisies, and once at such an early time a great bull elk, its rack in velvet, walked among the horses and then disappeared into the web of shadows.
He has a girlfriend named Jenny. They are searching for a nearly extinct creature named the “Two-toothed snail.” Argus continues in his description:
Through the cabin window the early light touched Jenny and left her ablaze in joy, and she glowed in a strange wisdom that usually only animals and children possess. Some call it innocence, but it is wisdom all the same. The forest creatures acquire it from walking with their bare feet touching the earth and from eating from the earth and from being nourished by the earth’s wisdom. In the early light Jenny’s eyes were like the wild doe—soft and deep and focused on a place beyond my vision. And I felt such joy, such pain, I thought, if only I were struck in eternal rejoicing like a rock.
“Rocks are happy!” I cried. “I can actually feel their happiness!”
Jenny touched my cheek with golden fingertips. “Yes, rocks are very happy.” And oh,
I wondered how
Such as she
Could ever love
The likes of me.
But their joy is interrupted by a knowledge that General-O Dynamics, a mammoth multinational corporation, is about to invade the forest and destroy it for lumber to sell to the Japanese. Some of the trees are four hundred years old.
Then as quickly Jenny fell into deep shadows. “When they come with their bulldozers and their chain saws and strip the forest bare and muddy the stream and turn the air blue with diesel exhaust, the last of the Two-tootheds will be gone forever.”
“Maybe we’re too late anyway,” I said.
“You must keep your faith on,” Jenny said. “I know they’re up there, Argus.”
I said, “When Judge Hammond hears about what General-O Dynamics is going to do to the forest he’ll stop ’em cold with a TRO as we lawyers call it, a temporary restraining order.”
“Argus, the law doesn’t protect the earth. The law protects those who destroy the earth. The Constitution doesn’t protect animals and trees and buttercups. A corporation can murder fifty million buttercups and not one can sue.”
But the Constitution protects everything. Great legal minds like Judge Scalia claimed the Constitution even protected unborn human pollywogs in the first trimester, and if the Constitution protected pollywogs then it ought to protect the two-toothed snail as well.
“Judge Hammond is a Reagan appointee, and he understands the right to life,” I said. “I’ll explain to him about the Great Wheel Up in the Sky and how the two-toothed is a spoke, and. . .”
And then Jenny grabbed me and kissed me for the longest time, and I thought that all that legal talk about TRO’s and constitutional law must have excited her.
When we came up for air I said, “TRO’s are rendered only if there is no adequate remedy at law, and… ” and sure enough she kissed me again.