There aren’t even any endings

It’s difficult to walk through a rainforest and fear death. Scrambling through saplings growing out of nurse logs fallen across rotting stumps rich with moss, ferns, and fungus. Everything underfoot and overhead a verdant, fecund mess—churning, fractal growth with wonder at every scale. Each tree an ecosystem unto itself. Each tree a node in a vast, evolving network. An eagle’s scream. Black piles of berry-ridden bear shit. Rivers thick with salmon. A sign that reads, “We don’t inherit the earth from our grandparents—we borrow it from our children.”

Dappled light on infinite green calls to mind a line from Neil Gaiman’s American Gods: “Not only are there no happy endings, there aren’t even any endings.”

A rainforest renders self-evident life’s destiny to become other life.

Complement with a brief anatomy of story, how to kill a dragon, and what my secret agent grandmother taught me.

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Eliot Peper is the author of nine novels, including Cumulus, Bandwidth, and, most recently, Veil. He sends a reading recommendation newsletter and lives in Oakland, CA.

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