The Story of Erath

The Story of Erath

Prologue

Erath is not a mistake. Erath is the name of the Earth before we made a mistake and started calling it Earth.

Like geological layers, this text is a vertical sediment that cuts through time. It’s a sediment of words and images, of real and fictional narratives, of Clarice Lispector’s voice, of radio plays, song lyrics, of overheard conversations and secret observations.


I tell you, the most beautiful history is the story of Erath.

You know, mountains were the first thing I saw.

My first impression of the world.

Serra da Estrela filled up the view from my childhood room, they were the world. Mountains stretching from one corner of the window to another.

For a long time, I thought there were only mountains, that Erath was covered only by them.

The room is not there and the house is not there anymore, but the mountains stayed.

Gravity.

Since I can remember, my body felt gravity much more than the bodies of others.

As a child, I saw a documentary about Grand Canyon.

And I thought: that’s the place to feel what Erath is.

To see what happened when the horizontal made love with the vertical, when Erath and time came together.

I didn’t care about all the things living.

Because rocks...

Rocks have life too, you know.

The history of Erath is the most beautiful one.

Geology is telling its story, because Erath is not alone, you know.

Everything is related to a system.

For Erath, everything is everything.

I come here everyday.

The Ocean is making you feel the time.

The rhythm.

The rhythm that might be the only rhythm that has not changed since the very beginning.

How deep am I sitting?

About one hundred million years, can you imagine?

You see, time is vertical.

100 000 000.

How thin is the layer of our time? It does not even exist. Our time is not written into Erath, not naturally, but we do make our times visible. I tell you. We dug and dug and dug and so we screwed the Erath through and through.

You know, one day Erath will come and say: you screwed up.

One hundred million years.

Even for us, geologists, it’s hard to comprehend that, it’s out of any scale.

We cannot relate.

But that’s my story, to make people feel that. To feel the time.

Here, I am close to feeling it. I come here and think about time and I think of all those years and years of years and more years.

I wait until the moment when my mind abandons thinking for feeling.

I come here everyday.

You know, infinity is not a duration of time. Infinity is a quality of time.

And I can reach it in moments like this one.


When the winter is coming, the Ocean throws out rocks from its deepest depths, rocks with faces. You know, it’s the voice without language.

It’s the soul of time.

But to reach the muteness of these silent faces, what a great effort of voice!

I come here every day.

I come here to be closer to time. To be closer to time, I put my feet into the dinosaur’s footprints.

Oh, you didn’t know about them?

Almost nobody does. See, those little shallow holes filled with water.

I make exactly four steps, the same way as a dinosaur walked one hundred million years ago.

The Ocean.

We want to feel the rhythm, even those who don’t feel anything anymore, even those who stand outside and look at their phones to see what’s the weather like today, want to feel the rhythm, feel the rhythm.

Even those who are on that huge ship behind me, those who don’t feel the air and the waves can feel the rhythm, believe me.

They feel it but they cannot recognize it. Not anymore.

But their water and their salt, the water and the salt of their bodies rise and swing to the rhythm.

Does the Ocean feel like leaving its bowl?

I think sometimes it does.

One day the ocean will leave its bowl and say:

I’ve had enough. you screwed up.

I come here every day.

The cyclical rhythm of the tide.

The waves.

The older I am the more I can feel it, and my cells gravitate towards Erath.

Our cells gravitate towards Erath, to return where they came from, and we try to lift them, we want to suspend them in time, to be unfaithful to time, to Erath.

It’s ridiculous. It’s like trying to stop the waves.

But each wave breaks down to become another one. And another one.

You see? We have abandoned the cycle of time.

We messed up our cycles.

One day the time will come and say: you screwed up.

Aging is beautiful.

I come here everyday.

Repetition is underrated.

Repetition is knowledge and power.

I come here everyday to feel the time I can’t imagine. I come here to feel the time I cannot rationalize.

There’s something familiar about the stillness of the stone, the stillness among the rocks, the sound of one rock against another, the echo.

I am being, I am me being.

Forty years. I’ve been coming here for forty years. And what?

That’s nothing.

It’s nothing in the mute face of time I am looking at.

But I tell you something. One day, one day I will not have to come here, for I will be here.

Everything in me will be reclaimed by the beginning of time and by my own beginning.

I will move onto the first foreground, I will be in the silence of the winds and in the age of tin and copper – in the first age of life.

We have no time so how can we feel time?

There is no time to feel time.

Just scrolling down, scrolling down.

How can we feel the story of Erath?

These days we can get everything we want.

Somebody told me that the only territory left for longing is the physical distance.

Between two lovers, a mother and a child.

For me, it’s the distance of time.

My only longing is to feel the time.

Many were they who abandoned what they had and went in search of this great hunger.

I ask people: what is your hunger.

And you know, many don’t have any. They just chew the days like some bland meat.

They chew and chew and don’t feel.

What is your hunger?

You know, time is on the verge of language.

Time has no language.

T-i-m-e

Falls apart.

And I tell you something.

The Earth is always trembling, only most of the time, we don’t feel it.


“The Story of Erath”, is a monologue for a woman’s voice set on the background of the Atlantic shore. The film narrative, based on my conversations with a Portuguese geologist, speaks about the passion for science/life, and about a subjective, almost animistic approach to time and the Earth - therein under a mythical name “Erath”. If the text would be conveyed into geological terminology, its narrative would remind us of the sediments of Earth. It is made up of layers of real and fictional stories, selected quotes from literature, fragments of overheard conversations or my own personal observations. In “The Story of Erath”, they all come together on the background of a ceaseless repetition(s).

You can watch the film excerpt here: