"Great green and yellow grasshoppers are everywhere in the tall grass, popping up like corn to sting the flesh, and tortoises crawl about on the red earth" (Momaday, Rainy Mountain, 5).
Paradise art transfigures the idea that the outward masks an inner. These corn field resurrections, pine tree men, waves of field and sky are a "synagogue in an ear of corn with the round Zion of the water bead" (Dylan Thomas, "A Refusal to Mourn") or a "church the size of a snail / With its horns through mist and the castle / Brown as owls, who on the heron priested shore ("Poem in October")
load the throats of shells ("Deaths & Entrances"),
the "sheep white smoke of the farmhouse, hand folded air, parish of snow, cloth of counties" ("Winter's Tale"). Blake in Songs, Roethke a little demented, Lawrence, Birds, Beasts and Flowers (1923), T. H. White's, instructions of the animals to Arthur in The Book of Merlyn, Ted Hughes (Remains of Elmet), Barry Lopez, (Lessons from the Wolverine, Apologia) Aesop, prepare.
A desire to restore earth was forming in the minds of artists with the industrial revolution, but paralysis immobilized every agency to effect remediation, except at first the chimney sweep of Blake. It was one of a few of Blake's poems that affected his time, included in The Chimney-Sweeper's Friend (1824) (see Bentley, 365). There is a creation and there are sons of light, not mere beings, that creation travails with to mediate paradise and restore the natural world. That this is practice for the coming re-creation who can doubt. The last stories of Kafka are always thinking of an earth that occurs in the thoughts of one not an enemy of the world, "A Report to an Academy," "Investigations of a Dog," "The Burrow," "Josephine the Singer." The Burrower is a disturbed householder worried with maintaining the home. The business of his narration with "my forehead-that unique instrument," is our daily care. Ape in "Report" ambiguously hungers as the artist does to escape states of self imprisonment and otherwise imposed. Kafka is prescient of such consciousness. His ape became a man, such as is now considered by the European Court of Human Rights for treatment of the same human rights. Cases are pending in Spain and Austria, to keep them "from being tortured" (Michele Stumpe, Great Ape Project International). Kafka's animals understand the natural, but the citizens are confused. The giant mole of "The Village Schoolmaster," preoccupies the citizen who obsesses like a rabbi about the existence of the thing that is not, the mole that's not, but which he thinks is. It is a picture of ourselves. To mirror our identity from these acts reckons that the the pit pony who went blind in British coal mines is ourselves. Always in the background Kafka's animals seek to find themselves in the other, like they passed themselves on the street and failed to recognize, like they lived in a world surrounded by themselves that they could see but not know, shadows, puppets, dolls which look back at them and have the same thoughts they do but neither knows. That is what the loss of the wild did.
If America was a paradise in myth before its discovery, besieged by colonial fantasies and "snakes" of sexism and racism, then thinking made it so. The loss of terrestrial paradise is more than the separation occurring from serpents. Forest, prairie, animals are destroyed while praise of dystopia over utopia symbolizes destruction of innocence. It's hard to imagine paradise if the mind that denies it longs for memories of wholeness it forgot. Was there peace? Nobody wants inferno, but no succor the deconstruct. Were paradise the free speech praises, earth-pleasure dome captives could have gardens of private paradises, all night harvests, hot tubs with comforts and views. But the art of paradise is not about us. It is about creatures and creation, wild and domestic. You yearn for it told it doesn't exist, its ideas are counterfeit, that its art, your deepest longing, you can't believe. Talk like this is to trick us, but we believe. When it was in the interest of nineteenth and twentieth century scholars they believed, for promotion and tenure, but that does not mean they personally thought paradise existed or the instinct of mountain and mouse, wee and huge. Hands need to bring bring the natural to the human.
Empathy with the world is empathy with ourselves, our healing in friendship with the burrow. Whatever the creature, ourselves we endanger, call it salmon, coral reef, shark, prairie dog, only pork remains, and the exotic importation, rampant catfish of the Mississippi, non native fish in streams. To preserve the pristine, think native with profiling, but our own safeguards were surrendered to the exotic. The boundaries of the natural are the way we treat ourselves, the techniques to save it we must use on ourselves, for surely we know the continuity of folk patterns are all that hold us on the ground, the root and stalk of families, which surrendered, float away; this is progress right up until there is no division between ourselves and the natural world.
As my Wordsworth says, the child believes, but for adolescent imitations of diminished adults. In the private paradise their minds pillage the garden. Ask if one believes and get a perplexed look. One believes in profit. One believes in success. But you would look for paradise if you believed in it as though it were lost. Find paradise today. Evening conversations would begin, "did you find any paradise today?" Everyone would look. Get over disbelief.