The Intermediate Realm

Each individual tree in the Nijinomatsubara forest acts as an intermediary between the human community and the larger ecological field, creating traditions that nourish both. The ritual of maintenance, the journeys of each path, the praise of individual plants ensures and strengthens the relationship. Reciprocal. To some extent every person—young and old—is engaged in this process of listening and attuning to the other presences that surround and influence daily life. The community is no longer a group of people living in the same region, area, or town linked by postal addresses and familiar commutes. They are also not a community linked by fear of tsunami or coastal erosion. Rather the community is a link to the intermediate realm between daily life and more-than-human worlds, the primary negotiator in how the trees survive and thrive. The forest is regarded with awe and wonder. It is this, we might say, that defines a community; a shared sense of wonder that is demarcated by social customs and common speech in order to reach, make contact, and learn from other powers in the land.

The result of continual engagement with the trees embeds the human community in a tradition that can be passed on through generations, balancing the community’s relation to the surrounding land. Only those persons who, by their everyday practice, are involved in the care of maintenance and monitoring the relations between the human village and the animate landscape can appropriately reflect, diagnose, treat, and ultimately relive the potential threats or illnesses within the “forest.” Hence, the community functions in an intermediate realm between human and non-human worlds.

When airborne spores land, they grow underground and send out long thin filaments called hyphae. As hyphae feed, they spread and push up their fruiting bodies, which we call mushrooms. Under each tiny heap of sand is a mushroom asserting itself above ground, to eventually send out more spores and begin the process anew.

The Maule River estuary outfalls at Constitución, one of the hardest hit communities following the tsunami in 2010. Extreme pulses of inundation are common to estuarine environments where marine sand meets river silt. At present, many estuaries along the Chilean coast are infilled by coastal concretization that intervenes between marine and terrestrial realms. The wave action following an earthquake brought silty inundation, erosion, and deposition to the estuarine coast, a disturbance that is neither unprecedented nor particularly unique. The lineage of estuary formation across time is described by paleo-geological analysis which confirms that the southwest coast of Chile is a remarkably active area 

A rupture twenty-five kilometers deep beneath the Nazca plate, produced the earthquake, triggering a tsunami that traveled along the fault at tectonic junctions. The magnitudinous waves spread beneath the coast until making landfall along the shores between Constitución and Concepción. Magnitude is relative power, and its measurement takes into account the energy released at the source. By comparison, intensity is the strength of the shaking produced by the magnitude.