from Domestic Pensées
A garden is not an object but a process
Ian Hamilton Finlay (2004)
"But symbiosis shows us that such trees are idealised representations of the past. In reality the tree of life often grows in on itself. Species come together, fuse, and make new beings, who start again. Biologists call the coming together of branches - whether blood vessels, roots, or fungal threads, ANASTOSMOSIS. Anastosmosis, branches forming sets, is a wonderfully onomatopoetic word. One can hear the fusing. The tree of life is a twisted, tangled, pulsing entity with roots and branches meeting underground and in midair to form eccentric new fruits and hybrids. Anastosmosis, although less frequent, is as important as branching. Symbiosis, like sex, brings previously evolved beings together into new partnerships. Like sex, too, symbioses are protracted unions with stable, prolific futures. Others quickly dissolve. The interaction of each generation of genetically continuous beings calls into question any picture-book tree of life." Lynn Margulis - Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution
In the vocabulary of geology, the proper term for one type of rock being pushed in-between other stratified segments is an “intercalation.” With reference to its Latin etymology, the word literally means something like “being inserted between an existing ‘proclamation’”— or, something that has been understood as official, and of great importance, is changed because of a new layer or element having entered the reified sequence. In contrast to hard rock, the stuff of narrative is softer and more malleable to begin with.
Nevertheless, in a novel, the work of weaving one story into another shares the eponymous, albeit literary term, “intercalation.” In the wake of the Anthropocene hypothesis— which, at least in part, contends that anthropogenic sedimentations are transforming previous geological compositions in literally fundamental ways— the intercalating of existing “stories” and “official proclamations” with transformative and erratic new layers seems of particular urgency.