My Tree

Digital comic of a lifelong dream-induced delusion (first sketched 1994/5/4, finished 2007/12/12!) by Chris Wayan

INTRODUCTION

I've written a bit about feeling like I'm the wrong sex, and even the wrong species (with severe chemical sensitivities, I can't eat most human food, or even stay in many human houses). But gender and species dysphoria isn't quite the whole story. You see, I have this persistent feeling I'm under cover--hiding my real identity and origins, even from myself.

I decided to sit down and draw this out and feel this out. What emerged surprised me: I see myself as a small animal's soul that's been reincarnated for half a dozen lifetimes now in human bodies. But this isn't reincarnation Hindu style, reincarnation as a sort of spiritual promotion. It's just disguise--or perhaps adaptation would be fairer. The best I can do under adverse ecological circumstances.

What I'm really feeling is... eco-dysphoria. A small tree-cat exiled by time, in the Land of the Junk Food Monkeys.

Click to enlarge. Color cartoon; oval panels show a female cat in a jungle. Words: 'Once, I lived in the canopy's light--hummingbirds, flowers and fruit, far above the jungle floor, where ugly creatures shuffle in the gloom: ground-bound hogs. And men. Back then, I had great long-lashed eyes, to pierce the green depths, and fine silk fur to shed the rains. Shaggy fragrant bark was my lover, my mother. I was happy, in the green.'
Click to enlarge. Color cartoon; oval panels show cat-girl in bar. Words: 'Sudly, sadly, I'm in a bar. Heels and a drink, but I'm still out of my element. The element is tending bar. (We lack the budget for delirium tremens pink. Sorry. Gray's all you get.) I smell smoke. A rainforest burns in my paw. Amazonia? No, Virginia! Six lifetimes now, passing as one of these apes. Tobacco fields bleed raw red clay into creeks. Our jungles, cut for drugs. I want my tree--just my tree--'

THE TEXT
Once, I lived in the canopy's light--
hummingbirds, flowers and fruit,
far above the jungle floor
where ugly creatures shuffle in the gloom:
ground-bound hogs. And men.
Back then
I had great long-lashed eyes
to pierce the green depths
and fine silk fur to shed the rains.
Shaggy fragrant bark was my lover, my mother.
I was happy, in the green.

Sudly, sadly, I'm in a bar.
Heels now and a drink
but I'm still out of my element.

The element
is tending bar.
(We lack the budget for
delirium tremens pink.
Sorry. Gray's all you get.)

I smell smoke. A rainforest burns in my paw.
Amazonia? No, Virginia! Six lifetimes now,
passing as one of these apes.
Tobacco fields bleed raw
red clay into creeks.
Our jungles, cut for drugs.

I want my tree--
just my tree--

A NOTE

Brazil and Virginia? Yes, Virginia, there was a rainforest. It's easy for Americans to forget that once the whole Southeast was a vast subtropical forest nearly as dense and rich as Amazonia. And it was cut by druglords, though legally sanctioned ones: tobacco plantation owners! Its soil was poisoned, exhausted, eroded; its natives murdered, enslaved or pushed off their land. Sound familiar?

--Chris Wayan



LISTS AND LINKS: I'm Just Not Myself Today! - gender-bent dreams - species-bent dreams - cats - reincarnation - ecology - forests and jungles - bars, pubs, clubs - dream-comics - dream-poems - Marie Girondé dreams of a big cat with a smoking habit: Meditation

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