Sep 6, 2019
The world was large, larger not only than what we’d known before but larger than anything it had been before. And it was large in new ways. In the old Hieron, a big place was wide or it was tall. But we’d learned that this place was deep. We’d regularly find new creatures and cultures in the branches we already knew well. How could we trust that we had not missed something important in a place like this?
For the adventurous sort, those who followed in the footsteps of those who founded the modern University settlement, this was a plus. But for those whose task was to catalog, study, and explain the Rhizome, this was an ache that never dulled.
“It’s made setting up our beat desks that much harder,” said Marisol Sweetwater, then editor, now publisher of The New Current. “We have to constantly ask ourselves questions that back in Rosemerrow would’ve been given. What does ‘Local News’ mean in a place where a whole civilization can just show up under some giant petal you never flipped over?”
The Rhizome was not simply vast, it was vasting, endlessly growing. And in the face of that, stability became the chief, communal referent. Even those who prefered the world this way, who were eager to turn leaves over for the rest of their lives, had their own exploits reframed in the popular rhetoric of cataloguing and mastery. One might take to the long branch to explore, but when their stories reached home, it was as proof that the Rhizome could be explored—routed, mapped, finally put to rest.
Who knows why the discourse shifted like this. Some suggest it’s because of a generic fear of the unknown. Maybe it was because it was what we already knew. Or, perhaps, it was because deep down we knew that there was only one way left for us to “settle” the world and make it knowable again, and we feared that possibility as much as we desired it.
-An Excerpt from The Last Days The We Had: A Narrative Catalogue of Hieron, End Apparent, Pt. 2 by Alonzo Victor Devareaux van der Dawes