First Peoples

A New Season

It’s not spring, not exactly. It’s something else. Things are warming up. Here we are at the frozen North Arm of Okanagan Lake …

Leads Opening in the Ice

Those are holiday properties in the foreground, leased from the Okanagan Indian Band. Note the film of fog above the lake, and how the lone cloud is floating on its surface like a ship.

The land is warming up, too.

Okanagan Indian Band Field Thawing Out

Not the low cloud of steam rising from the soil and lying in its hollows. 

Here is a closer view of that:

Fog Rising from the Land

It looks like smoke in the spring sun.

There’s more than one way to be on fire. Here’s a steer reliving winter, one breath at a time …

Water Evaporating from a Feed Lot

Okanagan Indian Band

And again, less up close and personal…

Steers Letting the Photographer Know What they Think

Thanks for the tip, guys.

So it is at break up. Up in the Arctic, it’s like the ship at the top of this post, and you just stay home until things firm up. I think we should do that here, too. Here’s how the land loses its winter water when people don’t stay off it.

Bad Road

Okanagan Indian Band

The land is turning from one water state to another. This is the season for moving lightly across it, for staying on trails, and going on foot, but of course we’re humans, we love the light and it makes us want to get out and get moving. Shh, not so fast. Move as the water moves. Lift up into the air. Feel out your new shape. Walk slowly at first. You’re just a child in this new season.

New Oxygen in a Meltwater Pool, Turtle Mountain

Note the tiny bubbles on the pool floor. This is the season for looking into the water and for celebrating life. Get used to the light again. Get used to the water. Learn to put it on again like a shirt. Stretch your muscles. Ah.

That is work enough.

There are Chinook Wawa words for this season, from the old trade language that all the peoples spoke together. One is illahee mitlite kopa chuck, which means that the land is with the water. I wouldn’t recommend drinking that stuff. Another is chuck mitlite kopa illahee, which means that the water is with the land. I wouldn’t recommend driving on that stuff. It’s a nice separation. It indicates that there is a state, winter, as it is usually called, in which the water and the land join into a new form, and another state, right now, in which they are separating, and another, spring, say, or summer, in which they have separate roles and natures. That’s a whole lot better than this spring, summer, fall, winter stuff. It helps one to see.  And it keeps one away from this:

Bad Road

The Vineyard at the Rise, Okanagan Landing

Bad roads are universal.

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