November Opens With the Tower


Here’s the first completed assemblage for November, the Tower! It’s a card with a lot of destructive symbolism, particularly on a physical level. It also represents the downfalls of hubris, particularly when your foundation isn’t well-supported. In the assemblage, a European starling skull falls to the ground, its jaw flying away with the sticks it chose to build its nest with. Above, we can see the thin twig it was building on has snapped.

I chose the starling deliberately. Starlings were introduced to the U.S. in the 19th century by someone who–in their hubris–thought it would be a good idea to have every bird Shakespeare mentioned in his plays living in Central Park. A century and change later, and starlings are an overpopulated invasive species elbowing native birds out of the way at nesting sites and feeders. It’s the perfect example of how we have had this idea that we can fuss around with nature however we like and not feel the effects, all the while putting more weight on our tenuous perch.

But destruction is a chance for rebirth, and even as we’re moving toward environmental collapse, it’s an opportunity for us to make things right again, as best as we can. And even if we end up doing ourselves in as a species, the planet will continue, and other species will evolve to fill the niches we and our fellow extinctions have left behind. Sure, it’s not the happiest outcome for us, but then we’ve been thinking only of ourselves for too long, haven’t we?

The Tower is the 67th assemblage completed–with the Happy Squirrel included, I have just twelve left to go!

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