After ignoring a few invitations for coffee, I bought some food from the automaton, so that I didn’t have to deal with waiting and the unpredictable human nature. Lingering in the dark, where nobody could find me, I put my headphones, glasses and sleek gloves on and entered the Web. I could agree with anyone who’d describe me as a loner or an unsocial being, but they would be wrong. There might be kids dying in Taiwan after several days of gaming, there are people who never make physical love to another being, and those who sink into the profound fatigue of isolation, but not me. It all works out fine for me: following an erotic Web encounter, I fall asleep with a smile on my face, I do my meditation with a remote group and I conduct my shopping online, mostly virtual stuff, which I consider to be far more important than anything tangible. Floating in a web makes me social, these interactions calm me down. I am connected.

I find great comfort in knowing that these connections stretch beyond physical presence, beyond our species, beyond our planet and even beyond death. For there are trees which support their loved ones through the use of the Wood Wide Web or deliver food to a cut down member of their family — a stump that would have rotted away long ago if it was not kept alive. We keep each other alive with connections and this has been taking place since the beginning of time.

Despite the abundance of existing vibrating forms, my body still feels beautiful as I run my fingertips down the edges of my collarbones and ribs in the dark. But trying to keep it alive at any cost or the idea of cryonics does not appeal to me as much as having my mind, my spirit, connected and constantly interacting with the Web. I have the need to go beyond this vulnerable body, so sizeable in its single location, accessible to authority, exposed to disease. The history of our disturbing— but not really important — species, tells that we have been consistently punishing each other through our bodies. Our physical self has always been overpowered: as a child or a mother, being sick, disabled, while reproducing, protesting or laying still — we are always easy targets upon which the laws and powers act. Whatever happens to my body merely shows my position within the net of relations, compared to other creatures, compared to trees. Trees are important, they are survivors.

Things have changed around here since the Enhancement, there are fewer of us tangibles left on Earth. I was lucky to be assigned the job of communicator, although it is the most common occupation these days. We are largely outdated and the curve that we took towards individuality in our late existence had a high price. Loners, as the trees know, do not become immortal. Still, due to a certain nostalgic attachment to our bodies some of us averted from uploading.

I follow the endless streams of data on electric, chemical and sound signals from the copper beech with the aid of algorithmic transcriptions. Algorithms are my crutch; they help me understand whatever my narrow band brain is unable of decoding. In this climate, copper beeches are immortal, and since we are like fruit flies to them, there is a constant need to elongate my instantaneous messages and compress their prolonged reply. How can you, from a fleeting moment, talk to eternity? I try to learn from them.

Most of communicators were chosen for the ‘etheric beauty of our minds’, no one wants traumatised trees. Before the Enhancement plenty of damage was done with merely the noise that we brought to the woods. I’m not sure about etheric, but I do like talking to them. They have lived through so many moments and somehow it is all there, they are like black boxes of time, pressed between their tree rings. Their perception of time is not linear, but spiral. Not a single tree has died for as long as I can remember; this is the age of prosperity for them. The blue skies that fill me with joy are their lunch: photosynthesis and sugar, made with the aid of sunlight.

For the rest of us tangibles, the situation is rather different, we are dying creatures, preserved for the ones living in Enhancement, as reminders of where they came from. Sometimes the feeling of lingering under the blue skies, amongst the big questions and answers, is so enveloping and everlasting that I wonder… Am I merely imagining my body? Am I imagining the trees? Their rough skin… The resinous fragrance… The pumping veins, the photosynthesis… Would I truly be able to see it? I don’t want to be doubtful, as this is not in my nature, but sometimes it seems that my body and the trees are in my mind merely to keep me occupied.