A local told me that “if you dig anywhere around Moses Lake, within a few inches you’ll find ash.” Material specters of Mt. Saint Helen’s 1980 eruption that covered this place in clouds of darkness. It’s visible in the dunes where I planted milkweed. This original song, “Bed of Fire” is about growing things out of the ashes of the current geological epoch. The scene is set in a fictional town called the Imaginary Town of Moses (ITM). The inhabitants of this town cultivate reciprocal relationships with the more-than-human world and form alliances with threatened species such as the monarch butterfly. This bike trip is a prototype for the town’s practices with these critters. A kind of testing ground for emancipatory futures. The ashes will provide fertile ground for these milkweed plants. They’ll be part of what will make this imaginary town already real.
Also, at this site – I came upon a gruesome scene. A viceroy butterfly was being consumed alive by a praying mantis. Viceroys are co-conspirators with monarchs. They both exhibit what’s called “Müllerian mimicry” wherein two different species who share common predators have come to mimic each other’s warning signals, to their mutual benefit. The monarchs and viceroys both have similar colored wings – so for predators, it only takes one unpleasant encounter for them to avoid both species. What a smart collab. In any case, this waystation and performance is dedicated to our fallen viceroy, whose kin will also benefit from the nectar of these milkweeds plants. Rest easy, viceroy!