Is there such a thing as an organic hooker? Or is that the cash you pay a hooker? Aren’t we all equally organic? Are these real thoughts or has wandering the forest driven me mad? How many questions in a row are appropriate? Shit, there’s another…
Sir William Hooker was a botanist and illustrator. He was the Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; Kew Gardens for those that know the names of tube stops. Prior, he was an explorer of a sea of colors in the wild. The shade of green was named for him.
The trees have hints of Hooker’s Green, but they have hints of every green. They invented green. The paths take us through the scenery and provide security for the crowd. Security from the elements is critical to all adventures in a group governed by fear and small dick syndrome. When the path splits, we follow the leader, safeties off, barrels loaded.
Our hike in orange vests stands out to the animals, gazing in silence from afar. Their eyes are wide, bodies lean and tanned. They are engaged in the environment. They look in wonderment upon us. Our camouflage ‘Walmart specials’ are not effective. The minimum wage, abused, pimpled, gray-haired timid clerks lied to us once again.
The stitched bald eagle warriors peer downward from their nipple high perches onto pale mounds of flesh that escape the polyester at waste-level. These floatation devices, stuffed, splotched; these baggies of processed remains of carcasses search for the sun or to escape traditional concepts of weight distribution. They are rebels too. Perhaps the eyes glimmering through the trees think it is an accessory, critical to the hunters? No, they know better. It may as well be their passports.
The faces in our cavalcade are all the same.
It is blistered; supported by gleaming white lines from the ears, attached via the bloodshot ovals and a matching St. Louis arch over the nose. Yesterday was brighter and the fringed pores drill through many epidermal layers into the tissue below. They fill with black smoggy bacteria to cover the holes. The nose has been on the frontlines for years. It is dipped in spoiled, jarred tomato sauce, the fur and darkness of the rim spreading at a rapid rate.
The group stomps on, cat calling, whistling, engaged at all decibels. Each demand is met with anxiety and curiosity and necessity from the forest. The gallop to and from, the shaking of the leaves, the calls from afar; they are all part of the dance. The dance of the forest, the dance of this shade, it is Hooker’s Green re-appropriated for post-modern corporate tribalism. The animals must obey and kneel.
The herd moves and I follow. I am armed with similar weapons and seen by the forest as merely a younger version of these dreamy advertisements. The branches crack under our boots and we walk on, in a never-ending singular line. March formation. We are ready. The hunt never ends. Occasionally, a beautiful animal emerges and it is put in its place, later honored in a celebration of glasses and boiling oils. The carcass is left behind.
The ages Hooker’s Green is always in their hearts. They deal it out in grand and weak gestures. They destroy it. They find solace in it. They think it is the only color that means something. They can’t see the red in their faces, only this color they think they have invented.
The violence comes not in the kill or in a moment. Their kindness can overwhelm. They can care for a recused dog. They can resuscitate a drowning child. Unfortunately, these blinks allow the harm to continue. Hence, their bravado is pre-programmed and hubris ill conceived.
As the march continues, teeth and smiles and high fives, waterfalls and cloudy air, accompany the never-ending celebrations. Honoring the favored outings of the tribe is critical to power the billboards glow.
The sun turns aggressively orange as it touches the water. The horizon bends at a greater angle. We could not focus and missed the flash. The polished SUVs are lined up in rows.
On the flight home I sit in first class drinking off the Cabo hangover while eating tea sandwiches. I want to close my eyes. They must remain open. I am surrounded in the forest once again.