Balsam roots and badgers get along famously together. Here’s a nicely tilled seedbed, ready to go.
On a hill. What a stupid place to build a house.
Walking through the bunchgrass. Walking through the sagebrush. Walking over the bed of an ancient sea. Looking at a supernova. Looking at planetary clusters. Looking at the solar system. Looking at the starry carpet of the night sky. Meeting a red dwarf on the path. Stopping for a moment. Meeting the sun beside Coyote’s trail. Spider lives in the sun. Walking an old story. People call it poetry now. It’s not. Neither is this an insect. People call this nature now. It’s not. You can’t walk with Wasp if you call it nature. You can’t walk with the earth if you call her Nature.
And yet there are all these words.
That’s not poetry. This is poetry.
Human Version of a River
That’s not Nature. This is Nature:
Pigeon Guarding its Barbecue Along the Rail Line
What a Lot of Words in One Place!
This, though, is an older story. This is the star road. Here’s a star being born.
Here’s the sun. We are within him, yet he has shape.
There’s the moon. Really. There she is. (Click to enlarge, if that helps. It could be that the technology you are using is not very good at seeing the moon.)
The earth is dying, because the words are about people now. Oh, she’s not dying all at once. She still feathers.
She still stars.
In all the green cheatgrass stealing her water, stealing her words away, she is still among the stars.
Still standing still. Ancient.
Here’s some images of her I made early one morning in March, when I mistakenly flipped the wrong switch on my camera, and found it was the right one. Here she is among the stars.
Here’s one of her words there.
There still are.
Refraction is the process of light bending when it strikes the edge of a translucent medium, such as glass or water. What you see below on the lupines in my garden is refraction, if you wish to limit the world to those terms. If you wish a broader sense of the world, then it’s not refraction but the nature of materials to echo their form in water and of water to amplify materials it touches. That’s not precisely refraction. In the pre-scientific world (which was, by the way, no less complex than the scientific one), the spirit of water and the spirit of lupine touch and form a new combined energy. This is, of course, the spirit of art, and was why training in art and poetry were essential parts of a courtly education: the administration of people, land and states was done on these artful lines. It is also why art remains important and why the scientific world view alone will not bring about a living world; it is artful energy that brings two things together into a new form. As the things to be brought together become ever more complex and distant, the need for art increases rather than decreases, and not just any art, either, but art that can touch the earth as well as contemporary human and urban concerns within a scientific, technical and bureaucratic apparatus. It is also why I have linked nature and ethics in previous posts on this site. Every photograph is an act of ethics. Every moment is an act of artfulness. When not, the failing is not that of the moment.
For more on truth, please see my post today on earthwords.net. Please click here.
The Okanagan hosts the world’s only urban heron rookery. Things are full of action there at the moment.
The Rookery, Vernon
The rookery, however, is on private land, surrounded by tire dealerships, a walled housing village, and various mechanical shops. Currently, the “owner” of the land is protecting the herons’ right to this, their space, despite the protests of neighbours about the danger these trees present. If life is to survive the industrialization process in the Okanagan, land ownership rules will change to give priority to these birds, in the way that agricultural land uses are currently protected. When all thrive on this land, all thrive. Blessed be.
I feel this language in my bones, but it’s not in words…
… or mathematics, as is this one, but what different mathematics they are! (And they’re not about numbers. You have to read them with your body, with the same aha! you have when in the presence of a lover, or with art. And, yes, it’s art. And love. So too is this complex mathematics laid down by waves driven by the turning of the earth, which is driven by the creation of the solar system, which is ultimately driven by the creation of the universe ….
They call it a Big Bang, but, sheesh. Look at it. It’s a turning and a flowing, that’s what it is. It’s music.
That is the power of water, of course. Fish came from the scale-patterned mathematics above. Trees, with their roots and crowns, come from the one below.
Crows know all this.
The earth is alive. A definition of life that excludes that is a parlour game. You cannot, however, write equations for this mathematics.
You don’t need to. Your body knows.
All images were taken on the beaches of Tofino on Vancouver Island.
A year ago I volunteered to prune a neighbour’s cherry orchard in exchange for some cherries. After all, I was short of fruit trees and she had recently lost her husband. This transaction has its benefits, even beyond our friendship. I was there on Sunday, when the Western Mountain Bluebirds showed up.
Bluebird in a Sandra Rose Cherry Tree
Pretty blue, huh!
These grassland birds don’t travel alone by choice.
The weeds they are perching on were an orchard ten years ago, but was given up as age weakened the farmer’s ability to keep up to the work. For a time, the bluebirds are using it in the spring. Some day, it will be productive farmland again. Where will the bluebirds go then? The subdivision up the hill installed bluebird nesting boxes all along its walking trails. Few, if any, are used. I don’t know the answer, but I know this: these birds make life worthwhile. I talked with people at the library today, where I’ve been Writer in Residence these last six weeks (with three more to go). It went something like this:
Harold: How do you stand it? Being in this building all day, when it’s spring outside? There are bluebirds!
Librarian: It’s hard. I want to be out on the lake.
Other Librarian: You do what you gotta do.
I think that’s very wise. We gotta do what we gotta do. Everyone, let’s all skip work for a day and go out and sow some weed seeds for the birds, or maybe honour an old apple tree that is big enough for them to perch on, such as this old Macintosh tree, near those cherries…
For the moment, I suspect this flock is nesting in flicker holes in the decaying peach orchard at the top of the weeds. That’ll give me a year, not long, to straighten out those nesting boxes. After all, if the sky can’t fly down to you, it’s not the sky.