First Peoples

Moving Into Turtle Island and Living in the Sun

I have come to the point at which the land and my self are one. It is not a politically correct space, but there it is. This is what I look like now:

The Channeled Scablands Above Palouse Falls

Water hundreds of feet deep, draining a continent of ice, cut this channel and shaped these hills. But … Channeled Scablands? That doesn’t sound particularly appealing, does it. It sounds dead, actually. Those are harsh terms for the heart. My heart.

heartPalouse Falls Pool

And for those who live there.


Yellow Bellied Marmot Above Palouse Falls

And those who move between my conscious and subconscious minds, between, so to speak, water and air.

greendragonDragonfly Below Palouse Falls

There are scientific terms for all of this, but there are also ones that a biological human speaks, as a form of bodily gesture. These are the latter. In that language of gestures, this is a word:

falcon2Peregrine Falcon, Palouse Falls

In this context, the amazing story of the channelled scablands is one particular cultural story, and a particularly Biblical one, too. I find it well worth telling. It is a wise story that opens my mind to a sense of continent-wide space and vast time. Nonetheless, there is bedrock here, and on that bedrock…

greenChoke Cherries, Upper Palouse Falls

… there are no scabs at all. In fact, any earth that can create this (looking closer)…


Is That a Green Ladybug?

Sure looks like it!

… is hardly a scabland at all. It is a place in which dreams and waking are one, effortlessly combined and carried and written and rewritten and spoken by the living things of this world, that cross back and forth and forth and back. Here are some of its words…


Eagle Feather, Palouse Falls

and here …

swallowtailWestern Swallowtail, Palouse Falls

If these words seem like pretty flights of fancy and not avenues for scientific exploration, that is only because they are seen from behind a mask of cultural habit. The language for them needs to be shaped, somehow, out of language that has been used for a long time for other purposes. Here’s a word that was hiding out in a discarded beer can on the steep trail down the cinders to the falls, that I picked up to unclog my arteries, so to speak …

hairguyHairy Red Ant

When you are the earth, then this is part of you. What is it carrying? What is its work? What is its spirit? What are you doing? In an age in which the earth is in jeopardy and humans need to stand with it rather than against it, these are the kind of questions we should set the brightest of our species to follow. If the brightest of our species turn out to be hairy ants and green ladybugs, then I will follow them. And, of course, Turtle always comes first.

turtleWestern Painted Turtle, Sinlahekin Valley

We are floating on comets.

P1180037In the sun.

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