A 21st century journey into the heart of darkness Story by Tarini Bauliya Page 12 • March 2010
Earth Odyssey • www.EarthOdysseyOnline.com
“…It’s Hell on Earth” a headline in the Seattle Times read, quoting a U.N. worker on the ground in Haiti after the catastrophic 7.0 quake, which laid waste to the poorest country in the world. Equally apocalyptic headlines plaster every major news source from print to the Internet: “…It’s the darkest day for Portau-Prince,” said Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive in another article. One hundred thousand are presumed dead as the count mounts body-by-body piled in mass graves by the literal truckloads while crude hospitals are set up in school yards. The wounded are lined up
on makeshift beds of cardboard and blue tarp as two-by-fours splint broken limbs and I.V.s dangle from tree branches like bird feeders. Survivors desperate for drinking water rip pipes from walls to siphon what little moisture remains in their galvanized veins. The headlines and images coming out of Haiti read like Cormac McCarthy’s novel “The Road” and not Sunday morning news, as I sift through the heartbreaking headlines and sip my warm Starbucks decaf Americano with cream. “Dance With Destiny” is a featurelength documentary film by Bruce Weaver due to be released later this year. Though the images from Haiti are devastating, they are not surprising to Weaver. His passionate first film is a journey into the heart of darkness that Weaver contends is the inevitable outcome of a planet out of balance and perilously close to a point of no return. The film is a personal journey of one man’s radical love of the Earth, of indigenous peoples, of all things wild and unindustrialized and an uncomfortable wake-up-call all at once. The horror playing out in Haiti is but a shrill “…cymbal crashing amidst a back story of global events playing like one of Beethoven’s turbulent symphonies,”
Weaver said. He cited recent tsunamis in Indonesia, the levy break in New Orleans, the polar caps melting like ice cream on a sweltering summer day into an ocean presently being Hoovered of 90 percent of its species—the largest mass extinction since “The Great Dying” 241 million years ago when 96 percent of all marine life went extinct, along with 70 percent of terrestrial vertebrates. Conditions in Sudan make Dante’s “Inferno” read like a Nostradamus prophecy and the routine rape of the Earth’s precious rainforest bio-diversity closely resembles a psychotic serial rapist who holds their victim captive, and returns over and over again to satisfy an insatiable desire for more. Though none of these events surprise Weaver, given all he has studied on the topic of Earth-Changes and his travels of the globe, the heartbreak he feels is palpable throughout his film.
“…This is a great drama unfolding in front of our eyes, and it’s of mythic proportions,” Dr. John Todd
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Photo by Pia Wyer Bruce Weaver works on “Dance With Destiny,” a feature-length documentary ﬁlm due to be released later this year.
From the time Bruce was 8-years-old he has had a recurring dream filled with images of atomic plumes rising above the Earth, the barren landscape below stripped of green and blue and life (save a few unenviable survivors scavenging for food and water)—something like reruns of “Soylent Green” on late-night T.V. Disturbing images for anyone, let alone a young boy who had no business dreaming such dreams, but instead should be following his exuberant curiosity undisturbed lured like the Pied Piper for hours into the woods behind his rural Missouri home. The natural world held Bruce captive, not Hot Wheels® or G.I. Joe® as with other boys his age. Later in life, Bruce took the path that many young men without means do, that of joining the Air Force at the earliest possible age to explore the world beyond rural Missouri and begin his initiation into manhood. As fate would have it, he found himself
outfitted in full chemical-warfare gear, complete with gas mask, doing drills under the cover of darkness, loading nuclear warheads on F-4 nuclear fighter jets and B-52 bombers. It was then that Bruce’s apocalyptic dream images transformed into a terrifying reality: personally hand-holding hundreds of nuclear warheads, positioning them to execute their unholy mission as if loading UPS packages onto a truck for holiday deliveries. He repeatedly asked to be released from this duty and fulfill his commitment to his country in electronics or computer technologies. Finally, an accident that nearly severed a finger and his repeated requests to be repositioned landed him an early honorable discharge. This event at 20 years of age profoundly altered the course of his life and led him to the realization that human beings are engaged in a very real dance with destiny, increasingly divorced from and out-of-step with what should be an
ongoing and intimate relationship with the natural world.
“…The only real danger that exists is man himself. He is the great danger, and we are pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man, far too little. His psyche should be studied, because we are the origin of all coming evil.” Carl Jung Were it not for these disturbing yet formative images and experiences, however dark and straight-up gloomy they were, Bruce may not have come to care so deeply for the Earth, nor would he have traveled the world to eventually meet remarkable men and women who share this same passion and love. Others like Dr. John Todd or Fa-
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ther Thomas Berry, who were and are similarly compelled to preserve nature, habitats, indigenous peoples and sacred traditions to right injustices where they find them, and regard The Wisdom of Nature as sacred. These meetings with like-minded Earthstewards became the seeds of the film compelling him to tell a modern-day story of the Earth in peril, and give a voice to these other great minds, each warning of our collective destiny should we fail to heed these multiple warning signs.
“…We’ve already hit the iceberg. We’re the proverbial frog in the pail on the stove (boiled to death after failing to jump out because the temperature rose only incrementally). We are the ﬂood, we are the asteroid. We had better learn how to be the ark.” Thomas Friedman Chapter one in “Dance with Destiny” is titled Prophesy and features stories of indigenous peoples the world-over, foretelling the events of today with an unsettling montage of images that take us directly into the broken heart of the filmmaker, for humans’ disregard of nature. The second chapter, Face of Darkness is no less uncomfortable, as it urges us to look at the mirrored reflection of our
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own darkness, a necessary first step for real change. The intellect is implicated here, as the seed of man’s contempt for nature, numbing our pain to the violence perpetrated against the Earth, in fact encouraging us to celebrate man’s victories over nature. In chapter three Sleepwalking into the Apocalypse, as Father Thomas Berry said so humbly, “…We thought we were creating a wonder world for our children,” when in fact what we have created for our children and grandchildren is a future perilously close to nuclear war, wide-spread water and food shortages, unprecedented loss of bio-diversity, and a burden of toxic waste products we are deferring to future generations.
Chapter four audaciously proclaims Its Too Late, where we meet the Mamos or Kogi elders who issue an urgent warning, “…make a payment and ready your soul.” Chapter five, Gaia’s Return, gives the sense that a tiny flame is flickering in us; a flame that protects all that is wild and natural and sacred. The sixth and final chapter is titled Hokahey! The journey is a hero’s journey; one that brings us full-circle to our true obligation as human beings, to live passionately with dignity and nobility on the Earth, in triumphant celebration of The Wisdom of Nature. “Dance With Destiny” defines “guerilla filmmaking.” Bruce Weaver is filmmaker, sound-man and editor.
His journey took two years. With his camera on his back, he traveled the globe from the Sierra Nevada mountains of Columbia, where he met the Kogi elders, then dotted a path to the Himalayas and on into Southern India, where he met the “madmen” of Bengal, the Bauls, whose primitive Earth-center spiritual practices fueled his work with The Sacred. The grandeur of the Canadian Rockies and the wisdom of the Native American traditions continued to inspire his work, leading him to post-Katrina New Orleans and Tennessee, where he met with the late pioneer of the deep ecology movement, Father Thomas Berry, who at 92 inspired the film with his wisdom and undying love of the Earth, passing it like a torch to
Bruce as a grandfather passes his legacy to the next generation. Like a conductor of a symphony, Bruce unifies each unique voice in one passionate cry for the future of our planet and our shared humanity. In the true spirit of independent filmmaking, “Dance with Destiny” is one man’s heartfelt devotion and prayer for the Earth. Bruce Weaver is a 2002 scholarship winner and graduate of the prestigious Vancouver Film School. He is director and filmmaker of numerous short films. Visit his Web site to see special features and more about his film: www.dancewithdestinydocumentary.com/. Bruce maybe be contacted via email@example.com.