Beating the Heat

The water comes to the rock faces of Turtle Mountain under the snow. It’s gone now ….P1760945 … but it intensifies the sun and creates an early season for the arctic plants of the Okanagan, the mosses and lichens of earth’s youth, when it was cold …P1760939

… and the beautiful sedums. Now, the mosses have withered. Without the snow, the water has gone. The year is over. P1760930 The sedums, though, haven’t even flowered yet! They do this by holding their breath all day, storing the sun as acid, and then breathing at night, drinking in carbon dioxide, and making the sugars they need to survive, in the dark.P1760919 Pineapples do the same thing.P1760894But pineapples don’t wash up in the first surf of the world like this!


There is more than one Okanagan. This is the one of the sedums.

P1760903 The most up-to-date bit of plant engineering on the planet!succulent


This global warming thing? They’ve seen it all before.

The Rowans of April

Remember the rowans of January?

Well, it’s not like that now!



Remember the rowans of St. Brigid’s feast day?

Things have changed around this place.




The rowans are uncurling.



They are opening now.



Such a mystery!



Such beauty.



So much to wait for.

Like this.




When is a Wasp a Flower?

Here’s a wasp on some desert parsley two days ago. Check out the scaly covers of her wings.WSM


Here’s a willow on the same day. Note the scaly covers of her


Our ancestors saw these as the same thing. It was a principle of the world, in the way Newton’s Second Law of Motion is today. What remains beautiful about it is that it is an abstraction created using the stuff of the world itself. Stuff like, well, this:


Beach Rock at Ozette, Makah Illahie

… or this …



Mount Hood at Horsethief Butte, Yakama Illahie

Over the last 3.5 years of this project I have learned again what I knew as a child in the Similkameen: to think as the Earth. Look at all the little wasps in these young ponderosa cones!

pine Look at the force cracking the wasp’s wings open on the willow, written in the stone below!P1660676

Every day I grow more humble at what my ancestors knew and passed on. It’s here…

P1680415 … and here …P1680310

… and here.


I am walking with them. Not in the way of a ghost story, though. We’ll leave that to Mary Shelley. More like this…

P1650635 … and this…P1650850

Aging can be humbling.

This is Not Our Planet

Imagine if this pussy willow…

… was your world …

P1720193 …and not just yours …P1720184

… but a world of many creatures …


… namely a wasp…

wasp1 … and a different wasp ….wasp2… and a third wasp, coming up over a white horizon …wasp3 … and a bee, and a moth …beemoth … and a little fly.tiny


… and that’s just on one twig on one willow. Forty years ago someone planted this willow. It costs nothing to plant a willow. It costs thousands to plant rocks, the new fashion for responsible gardening. Please, stick a stick into the ground for your grandkids, and all the insects of the world, or they’ll be living on an asteroid.

The Mystery of Leaves

Look how much more brightly the one leaf glows than the grass, which is eating light.



Leaves in a Small Wetland on the Grey Canal Trail

Its light-eating days are over.

But look how dull the leaf right next to it is. These are both leaves that have lain for a couple months under deep snow. Seemingly, leaves go through a process of dying, which continues long after they have fallen, and long after they have lost their colour. The fall colour for cottonwood leaves like this is a rich yellow, not a red, and yet red it is. Perhaps leaves have a life outside of photosynthesis? They have gone as abstract as thought. Perhaps our thoughts, too, are leaves.


How the Mind and the Earth are One

Thatch and sod grass rising.newgrassBunchgrass rising.

grass Water bunch grassing.



Sky bunch grassing.grasssky


Lichen following the gaps between the bonds of water (which are part of water.)lichen

Balsam root lichening (in a tension between gravity and evaporation, which is one of the bonds of water).P1680716


Light balsam rooting (following the bonds of water, which are a form of light.)ripply2

Light bonding with water in tension with gravity (the race is to catch the coming rain, not with thatch but with dead, upright stalks not crushed by snow.)



Gravity and shadow are one.



Their alternation acts as a pumping mechanism.

balsamsproutsBalsam Root Rising

It’s a vertical equivalent of the way air is caught along the stalks of the dead, water-soaked grass below. In both cases, gravity is being denied.

grassbubbles These ecosystems of gravity, carbon, water and light, which mine the lines of tension between them are complex.P1680677 We have eyes that are formed from the same process, and which are capable of measuring them to a high degree of refinement, not outside of the process but within it, as part of it.



Culturally, that gift is called “an appreciation for beauty.” We say “I have found my creativity” when we tap into it, but it was there all along.



Only words hid our selves from us. With a new vocabulary, we can follow more complex conversations, although built on the same grammar. Look how light is laid on the ground of the mind in tension with gravity and water!






Blackbirds Singing Under the Moon of Sap

A moon ago, snow became the light and light the snow.P1640275

Female Staghorn Sumac, January 31, 2015

That’s the moon in the air behind. It fills it.

It was a beautiful time.


The cedar waxwings came and the rowans became them.

cwx And the poplars burst into cedar waxwing flames.P1630940Yeah, that’s the snow moon in behind again. There was no sky in those days.

But time did what time does, with lots of light and cloud and tricks and flashes that span the sky and it set its dogs loose to hunt a new moon.dog2

Sun Dog, a-Hunting, Yesterday

And it’s here, chased right out of wherever the moon hides when it has other things to take care of.


It’s not a very big moon. But look what it has brought from its travels.


They’re not very many, but their trills and calls flood the air. It is a moon of music and joyous song. The red-winged blackbirds are here, even as the poplars open their wings.


They just came today, the males, the singers, seeing who can make the best tree-EEEE-eee-rrrrrr and trill. And look what else the sap moon has brought.


Blackbirds So High

That’s right …


Sagebrush Buttercup

They have brought the sun. All that in one moon! Look below, at Kalamalka Lake. That’s where the moon was hiding yesterday.


Oh my.