Review | “Arboreality” by Rebecca Campbell

“When they used the spotty satellite link at the library to hear the news, he saw bits of the other world, cities and crowds and concerts and coffee and a new Mars mission, somewhere far away from this rainy corner of nowhere, where his only future was in undoing what had been done by generations who’d lived brief golden lives, sucking all the sweetness from the world before he was ever born,”

– Rebecca Campbell, p. 74

Arboreality isn’t a story about arboreal salvation, a tree-inspired techno-fix to our climate disaster named Arbutus. Instead, it is like a seed, something small and ordinary that sprouts into many branches and reaches for the sky in a slow, beautiful flourish that exceeds a single human lifespan. Arboreality is a series of interconnected dreams; monuments that are grown rather than built; music wrought from the corpses of living things; treasures that are molding books; youth finding love at the end of all things; the peril and promise of sowing in soils that are dying; or the weary musings of an old man who is too scarred and too weathered to be convinced that technology can undo the rot and sins of previous generations. Arboreality is us, it is who we might become if colonial capitalism is left unchecked, if we allow the wealthy, privileged few to continue to burn our world.

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