Set in the midst of the most tumultuous period since WWII, John Carroll’s Like a Green Bay Tree is the diary of a time when disruption of the norms breeds in us distrust and fear; science and scientism compete for our attention; macabre images of hazmat suits and wet markets haunt us; a host of mandates, lockdowns, and populist revolts crowds the socio-spatial environment. In the distance, war thunders; everywhere around the globe humanity fights existential battles.
the bombs of fear are unrelenting
the casualties are piling up
the politicians unrepenting
the good drink from a poisoned cup
Carroll documents twenty-three months, from July 2021 to May 2023, a time when all of us watched the old and trusted narratives disintegrate. Many were transformed by these earth-shaking events. The most vulnerable were victims of irrationality and programmed fear. What we thought we knew and trusted about our social, economic, educational, and political institutions, about human nature and our relation to our fellow human beings, and even about ourselves—all of this was called into question.
These diary entries map a psychic landscape whose terrain is shadowy and perilous. It is populated by outrage, by yearning, by despair. However, at the heart of Carroll’s collection lies a deeply rooted hope that our inherent compassion for our fellow human beings will rise from the ashes, rejuvenated and much braver than before.