First Peoples

Beyond Nature

There’s something going on that is very old and very beautiful. Here it is above the ancient salmon stream now called the Wenatchee River:

Clown in the Rock

Orchard  Bluff, Peshastin Pinnacles State Park, Washington

This is how the State of Washington describes this ancient sacred site:

“Peshastin Pinnacles State Park is a 34-acre desert park featuring a group of sandstone slabs and spires called “the pinnacles.” Climbable spires reach 200 feet into the air. Rocks and trails provide views of surrounding orchards, the Enchantment Mountain Range, and the Wenatchee River valley.” Source

So, that’s nature. The pinnacles are something else. This, for instance:

Sacred Bird in Late March Snow

Presumably as climbable as any of the taller spires.

It’s like giving any tourist with a parking pass permission to climb all over the gargoyles on Notre Dame or to stick climbing anchors into the stonework of the rose windows of Chartres and climb around up there like Spiderman. It’s amazing, really, that the term nature is used to describe stuff like this. Here’s the bird from behind, with his guardian.

Ancestral Toad

That’s the bird in the foreground.

The point here is not to explain, but to honour. I honour this:

Double-Headed Ancestor Behind Barbed Wire

That’s our clown sitting above her.

One curious thing about nature is that when you actually live in harmony with a place there is no nature at all. Another is that nature can only exist here if the cultural integrity of this site is denied.


This is what it looks like when humans look deep into their minds.

Nature, and wilderness along with it, are socially created. So was the earth before them. I would doubt it very much if at least some of these rock forms were not partially formed by human hands, or if there weren’t many people in the Wenatchee Nation, at home here for some 10,000 years now, who were formed by them in turn. But, hey, a little life tip. If you’re going to go here early on a March morning, take the time to put on your gumboots before you start climbing the hill. The desert thing is a little bit of a fantasy. My feet got soaked through.

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