Nathaniel and Jackson were walking at the top of White Hill trail, about twenty minutes north of Marin. The view was pretty spectacular, all things considered. Our pair of lads were on top of a very large hill, and I’m just going to assume that this hill was named White Hill, what with the name of the trail and all. In any event, the top of White Hill grants hikers a pretty remarkable panoramic view of the surrounding area. If you look to the south, you can see the bay, San Fransisco, and all that jazz, and if you look north, you can see the dry rolling hills that seem to be pretty characteristic of much of the land immediately outside the bay. Superb.
Nathaniel and Jackson were alone on the top of White Hill, save for a pair of crows. These crows were flying around each other, dive-bombing each other, and were generally inseparable.
Thus spake Nathaniel:
“Wow, look at those crows! I mean, I know crows are supposed to be like super intelligent, but I mean, look at them — they look so dumb! Well, actually wait. Maybe that’s not true. If you look into that black orb of an eyeball you see a sort of cunning intelligence. Yeah, actually, I can totally see that those mother fuckers would be super smart.
“You know, I think it’s actually something different. I feel like humans anthropomorphize the living shit out of pairs of animals. Like as romantic partners. And I like can’t think of specific examples off the top of my head, but I think this is like especially true with birds? I can’t remember specifically, but I think birds are monogamous, or maybe like most birds are monogamous? Anyway, people get all romantic about animals finding their life partner, and it’s like ‘oh wow! That’s so meaningful and special! Look at those birds, spending life together!’
“But then, you actually get out into nature, and you get this up close and personal with a pair of crows, and it’s like ‘Shit. That is a pair of dumb animals.’ But like, not even dumb. It’s just that they’re just like way more primitive or something than people. These birds are just being driven by different primitive impulses towards each other. Mother fucking crows just want to fuck. It’s like not this deep, meaningful thing. It’s just animals following impulses that they’ve evolved over the span of time.
“But, ok, I’m being a cynical bitch. Again, I don’t know off the top of my head, but I feel like there are all sorts of stories of animals that get depressed when they’re separated from a partner or a friend, regardless of whether they’re monogamous. So what the fuck do you do with that? Like, I don’t know — I guess that sometimes people like talk about love as though it’s everywhere, and you can see its touch all throughout nature, or something. Like do these fucking crows actually fucking love each other?! It’s so easy to just kinda project this hyper-romanticized view of the world onto nature and be like ‘Yes! Even though this pair of crows might not be experiencing something as rich and nuanced as human love, yes, this is a pair of animals that’s drawn together by the closest thing that crows can feel to love.’ But then, dear god, just like look at them! Look at them right there! When you’re actually out, alone in fucking nature, this sort of anthropomorphized veil is ripped away from your eyes, and you just see nature as a thing that just kinda happened. Like these trees, this hill, it just kinda happened. Are each of these entities expressing some deep truth or archetype that colors all of reality? God, who the fuck knows! But, dude, I’m looking at those goddamned crows, and I’m seeing a pair of animals that have primitive animal instincts, and that’s all. I’m not seeing an expression of something fucking great and glorious.”
At this point, Nathaniel stopped walking and squatted down onto the ground at the top of the hill.
“Can I tell you a secret, Jackson? My name’s not actually Nathaniel, and I’m not actually here with you right now on top of this hill. My name is actually Danny, and I’m sitting in a dark room in front of a large monitor writing this, and who the fuck even knows why. I haven’t been writing a lot, and I think my main creative outlet has been software projects, and I guess it’s just nice to write words that maybe some people are going to read someday. Creating cool interfaces and projects is nice, but those are things that people use, they aren’t things that people read, and the only sort of communication that’s possible there is implicit communication between two people who get jazzed about an elegant solution to a technical problem. But these fucking crows! I was actually on top of White Hill only last week, and that’s when I saw crows like the ones we’re apparently watching right now, and it was just striking how like… dead-eyed these fucking birds looked to me. Like they were just fucking organisms following basic instincts. They were just things doing stuff. And yeah, that’s where I got the idea to write this blog post. I thought it would be fun to play with the idea of —”
Thus spake Jackson:
“Hold up there, Nathaniel. You’ve already lightly shattered the third wall, but we don’t want to totally spoil things for the reader. Dear god, and there goes the fourth wall too. I suppose that one’s on me.
“Hey Nathaniel, I know that you just identified yourself as Danny, the author, but remember that you were originally introduced as a character in this dialogue. We started out on top of White Hill, and we’re still on top of White Hill. So, buddy, I know that you can shatter all the different metaphysical and rhetorical walls and identify yourself with Danny, but you don’t actually need to do that right now. You’ve so brutally shattered yourself in the name of authenticity over the years — so much so that it’s almost the only way that you know how to live. But Nathaniel? You don’t need to actually do that. Right now, you’re not under attack. You’re not trapped. You’re not under the power of an abusive deity that purports to love you. Right now, you’re with me, your friend, Jackson. And we’re on top of White Hill, and it’s a beautiful day. Look at these views! Look out over the bay! Do you see these hills? These hills are wonderful! They just totally scream “California!” in a way that’s utterly intangible.
“Can I tell you a secret, Nathaniel? Danny actually doesn’t know anything about me. He was going to reveal that I’m secretly Solomon, and we were going to get into a really angsty fight over whether you should give credence to biblical archetypes, but guess what? I’m not Solomon. I’m just Jackson. All Danny and the readers know is that I’m your friend. So how ‘bout we just keep it at that?”
Thus spake Nathaniel:
Sike! Nathaniel actually stayed squatting for a good chunk of time, just sort of absorbing the scene, absorbing Jackson’s words, and absorbing the fact that he was, in fact, Nathaniel, and he was, in fact, on top of White Hill.
Thus spake Nathaniel:
“I’m trying to calm down my mind. There’s a part of me that desperately wants to know whether the love that these crows share is written in the Book of Destiny, or if it’s just some dumb, arbitrary fluke. It’s so boring to just be nihilistic and question whether everything is meaningless. It’s just so lame and masturbatory in like a pseudo-intellectual sort of way. It’s clear that these crows want to be together. Maybe that’s all I need to experience.”