My friend Tamara in her botanical garden in Slovenia noted yesterday that some of the images in my post a few days ago about Big Bar Lake on the Cariboo Plateau could have been interchanged with hers on the old Roman path across the mountains. You can see her haunting images by clicking here. Those are a follow-up to her first set of images on the theme: Jezersko Village Flora in August. To tempt you to have a look at what she saw there, here’s a teaser:
After seeing those, I wrote that compared to my original images, such as this …
Big Bar Esker
… hers placed people right in with the mix. I asked for more information about that, and she volunteered, generously, with her observation that there at the conjunction of humans, stone, water and wood, culture thrived, and has remained as it developed in place over thousands of years, and that what made the images appear similar was that both landscapes were carved by glaciers and water, and humans seem to be following in their ancient flows. And then she asked, “What do you think?” Well, I think that’s beautiful and wise. I also think this:
I think it’s not just people who find life in these points. I also think we can add wind and air to the mix. I also think (Whew! what a lot of thinking!) that that’s the signature of this earth.
The Earth, Signing Her Name
Yes, there are people on the Cariboo Plateau in British Columbia who are indigenous to the place, but none living in the kinds of houses they invented on this land, which were underground pit houses for the winters, and houses of rushes for the summers. Still, I’m intrigued by the idea that those of us who inhabit the colonial space made out of this landscape have a chance (now that that experiment has been going on for 150 years or so) to bring our indigenous sense of water, stone, air and wood, the one buried in our languages, to this place. We could change history.
The New (and Old) Face of History, Big Bar Lake
Are not our languages the voices of our ancestors? Of course they are. That’s where words get their meaning, and where languages get their structures. They, too are houses that we live in.
Voices of Our Ancestors
Damselfly and Driftwood
There are Secwepemc and Tsilqh’otin languages for this place, but there’s also just the languages of wind and water and stone and wood, that we speak with our bodies.
Moth, Grey Canal Trail, Bella Vista
I think now that book culture is on the wane and a culture of imagery is taking hold, words are at a powerful moment in their development: they have sculptural tools again, once again publishable in the world, rather than in the substitutes for the world, called books.
The words and their visual representations are very close right now in the Spirit of the Age, in the Zeitgeist, in the present presence of time, just as they are Jezersko Village. I’m sure glad to have friends like Tamara who have run ahead of me down the path and call back, “Look! Look what I have found!” Thanks, Tamara, and look at what I found:
A Botanical Garden for Tamara!
This is what you get when a farmer’s wife teaches French Language and Literature at the university down the road. And again …