I’ll need to start with this river, which is not an abstraction. This is the Kentucky River. It heads up almost at the Virginia line. It’s coming down through all those decapitated and suffering mountains, through the forests divided and fragmented, and on down past the cities of central Kentucky, gathering from them what we call “waste.” Here the river comes, with its load of pollutants and wasted soil. I know, because I’ve been here long enough, that the native black willows that used to grow along the shore banks are gone. So are the muskrats. What does this mean? In 2002, I had a boat with a motor for a while, and I could see that there were a few old willows on the bank tops, but no seedlings—no young willows along the edges at all. And so I began to try to find out what’s the matter, and apparently, you can’t find out. I got hold of some articles in reference journals that said, there’s too much glyphosate, or Roundup, in the Midwestern rivers. So I called those scientists. “I see that you’ve determined that there’s too much glyphosate in the Midwestern rivers.” “Oh yes, yes.” “Well, can you tell me what the effect of that is?” “Oh, ha ha,” they said. “A lot of people would like to know.” The problem is, it’s so hard to connect a cause to an effect in a large body of flowing water. It’s very hard to do. We’re talking about “the environment” when we speak of the Kentucky River. We live here, and our stock drinks from the river. “The environment,” as we call it, is intimately with us. We’re in it. It’s in us. But also we are it, and it is us.