There is a small book named TAZ (find the whole book here), an acronym that stands for Temporary Autonomous Zone, written by Hakim Bey. The TAZ is an ever changing place for wild spirits to congregate. It shows up over cups of coffee and hash, in dark pubs, and on hikes high up on hills where ospreys call home. The TAZ shows up online as much as it does in the real world. It is the gift economy and the black market, it is available to makers groups, urban farmers, and foragers. The TAZ is a freedom beyond all laws and security cameras, because those who find it and participate have found the cracks and crevices where chaos and nature still thrive.
The TAZ, like the Tao, is all around us, just waiting to be used. It awaits our footsteps and welcomes our presence with open arms. The TAZ, while not always found in nature, thrives in the wild spots and forgotten parcels on the maps that humans have felt the need to make. The TAZ finds shelter amongst the roots of ancient oak trees and gravel roads that are overgrown with weeds, and when found by those who are ready to see them, provide a place of rest and merriment outside of the default world.
Mastodon Hill is one of these places. A physical TAZ that is a 60 acre parcel of land that has some how been forgotten about by the land developers and capitalists. Surrounded by a sprawling industrial park and freeways, Mastodon Hill perches above the surrounding landscape, a beacon of green anarchy that calls itself home to osprey, deer, coyotes, black walnuts and oak trees that are holdouts from a time when there were far more savannas, prairies, and mature woodlands.
Mastodon Hill is my name for this place. It is a place that is special because some how it has been overlooked by progress. It has evaded the bulldozer and earth movers. For a place that is so close to human settlement, there is very little trash, and even though it is a literal island in a sea of asphalt, warehouses and a monoculture of suburban housing, it appears to have very few human visitors. Perhaps the bitter irony is also the saving grace of Mastodon Hill, that no one knows about it or goes there because so few people today have that kind of relationship with nature.
I hope you as a reader have your own Mastodon Hill to retreat too when you need inspiration or a break from the stress of modern living. I hope you have a TAZ that you can share with a lover or good friend, a place to experience life that is not mediated by “THEM”, a place or time to fall in love with, and most importantly, a TAZ that is worth protecting. Peace and Cheers.