Arts

Evolution and the Colour Blue

Take a look. The colour blue is the one first seen out of darkness. Look at it …

P1040601The Rise Vineyard, Bella Vista

Our fences can’t hold it, nor can they hold the Western Kingbird that uses it, because to him fences are excellent perches for hunting insects, which he does out in that blue. Look again …

P1020613The Rise Wind Funnelling System and Subdivision, Bella Vista

Okanagan Lake below, looking across to Fintry. Yes, it’s June in the grasslands. Rain.

Still a little more blue. I’m zeroing in on something for you. So far we’ve had sky, a bird living in the sky, the inability of a fence to contain the sky, a bird using the fence for its own purposes, a subdivision spreading noxious weeds by providing wind channels moving across entire communities on the grass, 10,000 year old glacial water, the beginning of the rainy season in the so-called desert (Canadians have to try hard for that, but they’ve got the money to make it so), and now some beauty …

lazuli4 Lazuli Bunting on a Saskatoon, Bella Vista

This bush is growing out of solid rock. A couple more weeks and the crop will be ready, by the looks of it.

And not just beauty, but productive life coming out of solid rock. Folks, the planet is solid rock. Keep that in mind when you look at the next image.

brownbirchleaves Brown Birch with Dead Leaves

This planet of solid rock is so rich with life that it has even filled the living spaces between the upper and lower surface of the leaves, in the form of tiny larvae, which have munched their way to happiness and health.

The point with all this blue is that there is a wind blowing off of the sun …

P1040618

Morning Shadows in the Dwarf Asters

The sun is blasting through them at 299 792 458 metres per second. Eventually it will use itself up.

That’s the way of the Universe. It starts with a lot of energy and it uses it all up until it has no energy anymore and is at complete rest. This is a fundamental property of the universe. It’s everywhere, except here:

P1040542

Salsify Facing the Sun

When the sun moves, the salsify moves with it. When the light diminishes with the failing day, the salsify closes, to open again in the morning sun. This French immigrant is doing well here. After all, there’s lots of sun.

And that’s the point. The sky is blue because it is full of oxygen. On a planet the size of the earth, oxygen floats away into space and is gone, as part of entropy, but here it doesn’t, because the salsify, and the leaf miners, and the birches and the asters create more. They reverse entropy. There is, however, a way to return this system to entropy. It looks like this:

blockedHouse Blocking the Main Energy Path of West Bella Vista

Nice house. Great view. Big price.This is called improving the land. The house is called an improvement. That’s a legal term.

In grasslands, water channels such as the one above hold much of the life of the local earth, and act as vertical highways for animals and plants, insects, reptiles and birds moving up and down on the hills, gathering and creating and storing and reproducing energy before it escapes into space. The house breaks that. The deer and other animals go around. They muck up the grass on the hills with their back and forth wandering. They reduce its capacity to reverse entropy. And the strangest thing is this: the house didn’t have to be there. It could have been fifty metres to the side, or whatever distance the grassland community needed. The gully is a road, for life. It moves water through life, under the power of gravity, and reverses entropy. Here’s what the closest human road looks like …

hydrant

Human Road

It moves water through the power of gravity and calls it waste, increases entropy, and is lined with pipes which deliver water (such as to the yellow fire hydrant) using powerful electric pumps, further increasing entropy.

Well, that’s what human cleverness, the cleverness of a top predator is like. It looks at communities and sees how it can rearrange them into temporary grids, or hunting strategies, which allow it to move across them, just as this road and the predatory weeds that follow it do. The only thing is: the effects of a hunter that hunts the living community by turning it into individual elements, individual species, and individual animals and plants are permanent. They aren’t individual. They are communities. This beetle clambering in the sky …

beetleclamber … can be separated from its rose, but if it doesn’t have some yarrow, another member of this community, it’s likely not going to make it. Similarly, this beetle, which is very close to being a bee (like, verrrrrryyyy close) …beetleinrose… is not separate from the rose. These creatures became a community here, and formed in each others’ image. It’s a powerful predatory idea, to cut across that community and make a new arrangement of individual species evolving individually in a highly-competitive environment, and to call that evolution, but it’s really a form of poverty. There are individuals, but without the community, there is only entropy. There are many plants upon the grasslands. They compete for resources, certainly, yet they also support each other. It’s not the species that are the life here, but the community of species. An individual plant makes oxygen for a few weeks, then sinks into the dry soil. Another plant takes over, adds a bit more oxygen, then sinks away as well. Plants extend their range, by location up and down the slopes and by variation within their species, like this balsam root, blooming a month late…balsamjuneclose

… when all her sisters on the whole mountain look like this …

P1040635

… with their seedheads eaten off by deer.  Those are both resiliences in time — time gained by altitude and time gained by a range of growth. Why, you could prevent extinction by this resilience, not just of the balsam roots, but of all that feed upon them. Like the plant-based processes which reverse the death of the universe, these capacities in grassland plants reverse entropy — but not individually. And these plants …

P1040588 … these nondescript wild flowers, that don’t really even properly bloom, put on no real show, colonize absolutely bare gravel roads, are also helping to reduce entropy — in the case of the gravel roads, entropy created by people. And these brown-eyed susans …

P1040711 … are not, as evolution likes to point out, just attracting bees, although they certainly do that, and as we know now on Okanagan Okanogan, bee-like beetles as well, they are also attracting humans. Their beauty, and the beauty of this rare pink variation of Snow Buckwheat …red2

… have the capacity to lead humans to the grass in wonder, so they will see this…

P1020504 Autumn’s Grass Seedlings Starting Now

On the lower elevation grasslands in the Okanagan, cheatgrass, an imported weed, has replaced the blue-green algae of the soil’s crust with mats of old, matted growth off-gassing carbon dioxide and limiting plant opportunities, thereby wildly increasing entropy and helping humans kill the planet. However, even in the community of weeds that is replacing the community of the ancient earth, certain entropy-negating processes are still active. The multiple seasons of cheatgrass growth above are one example. Here, on a patch of ground opened in the cheatgrass by voles, where the new weed community is practicing resilience in time, is another.
P1020521 That is evolution in action. The next image, created by the removal of a concept called “water” from the community of life of which it was a part, is just entropy. This is settler thinking. It is not the thinking of people who intend for their great grandchildren’s great grandchildren to live here, which is good, because this isn’t the way. (Mind you, someone might ask those kids what they want.)

P1040313

Throwing Water Away

“Agricultural” use receives entropic water at a highly subsidized rate, presumably because it can produce food for people and money for social economies. Here, one panel of corn is being irrigated, but because the sprinklers are all joined together, another panel of dead earth is being watered at the same time. It has the capacity to create a few weeds, which are trying to heal its soil profile, but as you can see humans have killed them. If that weren’t all enough predatory entropy, 45% of that water is just evaporating into the air. It’s illegal for people to do that in their own yards, on their own corn patches, because it’s just too stupidly wasteful, but “farmers”, or, rather, industrial soil miners, have full permission to waste this water in huge volumes with impunity. As for gravity, road-building without attention to natural gravitational water systems, that move through communities of life, produce soil erosion, and entropy….

P1040745

It didn’t have to be like this. Outwardly, they look the same as the mess made by another top predator, a rare, endangered badger who has just moved into the community. Here you can see the results of his predation on the vole community…

badgerdig

 

Voles create soil and rich plant environments, leading to continual fertilization and renewal. When their populations get to too high a number, though, and they start to reduce plant capabilities, endangering the community, the badger comes and starts things anew … but just a little bit at a time, as part of the context. As long as we keep the badgers. Similarly, when wasps get a bit too bold, ants come and take care of the problem …

antswaspNew Wasp Nest Built in the Wrong Spot and being Preyed on by Weaver Ants

Life is replaced with life and the community remains in harmony.

It’s wrong, though, to think of humans as being top predators in a predatory system of evolution. Some humans may be like that. Others are attracted to this …

quail3

California Quail in the Sagebrush

… not to hunt it, but as an affirmation that the hunters haven’t won yet. Humans, in other words, not only have the capacity to cut across systems of balance to return them to entropy, but they have the capacity as well to increase the capacity of living systems to reverse entropy. Beauty can lead humans there as easily as anything, or maybe more easily. And remember, if anyone says, “It’s just business,” or “I have to make a living, so I’m going to clear all this sagebrush away,” they’re predators. As part of the living community, that is reversing entropy on this planet, we need to protect each other from them. Flowers are a start…

threebeetlesgolden

Today was Beetle Love-making Day

This is an activity that takes place on flowers. Every flower on the upper hill! The lovers are covered in golden pollen.

See, here’s the trick. The human capacity to cognitively cut across community, is also the capacity to cognitively form oneself to what one sees. It is a process of art and poetry. Science, the particular science that has evolved without either of these, sees only individuals and species and misses the fact that we, humans, are this earth. No lecturing will make anyone see that, but beauty has a chance. We’re wired for it. It’s how we fit into the greater community. And beauty, as the Greeks knew, is balance. And beauty, as Moses knew, is choosing life.

jewel2

Life always chooses that. I think it would be safe to say that if you don’t, you’re not alive.

Note: what are needed are practical processes. They’re coming soon.

 

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