I’ve been talking about human bodies in the grassland, represented as lines, fields and houses. I think it’s very important at this point of human domination over a living planet to overturn the common human assumption that everyday human life is “reality”. It’s only a human reality, within a certain circumstance. One way to demonstrate this, is to show you some bodies that you might find out in the grasslands.
Notice the eyes looking over the valley, and the stairs leading up to the sleeping area at the top of the head. Notice how weather is kept out, by both architecture and sprayed-on petroleum.
These miniature earth bodies are spread throughout the grassland, where they act as concentrators of water, heat attractors and conservers, and animal shelter — pretty much as the earth as a whole. If you see this as a stone, look again. It is creating entirely alternate seasons on the grassland and extending the growing season by months. The earth was made suitable for life in the same way. If we did nothing more than strew a million of these on the grass of the Okanagan, we would be doing more positive for our valley than all the blue bag recycling programs in place today.
Yes, time is a body. We say that, actually: “A body of time.” In this case, it’s the tracks of a coyote heading up into the hills mid-afternoon today, about fifteen minutes before I trudged along. We could call this a “track”, but look again: the time of the coyote’s presence is here all at once. A dog would read that out of this scene. Dogs (and coyotes) pass through a landscape of time, extended for a few days into the past, all of which is immediately present in fine 4-D, although finely nuanced and layered. Dogs don’t notice. They kind of let their tongues hang out and lollygag along. 4-D perception is normal to them. It’s also normal to people like us, who are humans, but not through smell (we might smell but we don’t smell, if you get my drift). Smelling is what dogs do best. Humans see in 4-D by sight. We see this extension of time as a line of footprints, but only because we’re so darned used to it. It’s not a line; it’s a special dimension of space called time.
And here’s the thing: this lone, weather-battered saskatoon is another island in the grass. It is a body that other bodies take on to increase their bodily strength. Like the island of stone I showed you previously, it concentrates life, which departs it for the grass, and then comes back to it. No magpie or flicker gets from the top of the mountain to the bottom (and they love to make the trip over and over again, day in and day out) without stopping on these trees for a puff of breath. Hawks use some of them too. Very handy. A cool factoid: most of these bushes get started in the special wet environment that a stone island has created in the grass. Now, here’s a cool thing about saskatoon bodies and time (about 2 kilometres along the ridge line):
To get to this body and the altitude it provides requires a 10 minute climb across 300 metres of rather steep 3-D space (and, remember, 3-D space is your body, dear human), or, and this is the cool part, it requires 300 metres of rather steep 3-D space to travel 10 minutes in time. If that seems obscure, ask a coyote. She’ll explain it.
If you’re going to live where it’s cold, mounding your body up creates and stores heat and increases your growth. Notice that this is not a house. In fact, it’s not human at all, but it is an effective way of living in the grass, especially on a stone that is only habitable in the late winter and late fall. But don’t be fooled. The rain washing off of this stone, and the wind blowing over it, spread the spores and bodies of this moss across the entire soil surface, where it forms a thin version of the complex community you see here. That thin biological surface is the earth’s skin. The earth actually breathes through it here. If you break it, the earth breathes out, but not in. Not a good idea. Luckily the mound body is always on the stone, to rebuild broken skin. But it doesn’t have to be a mound…
If this moss on this cliff face looks like it’s in the intertidal zone, it is. It’s just that the tides here aren’t those of salt water, but of the rain that comes off of salt water, and the drought created by the drying effects of rained-out air falling from the volcanic arc to the west. Those are the seasons here, and they interchange far more often than a few times a year — if you live on the rocks, they change every time it rains, or every time the sun comes from behind a cloud, or dips into one. To survive in that, you need to be a creature of the rain. Hiding in the crack does the trick. You can block all the rain, plus you can get out of the sun. So, that’s three forms that moss takes: Mound Bodies, Flat Skin Bodies, and Crack Bodies. Sister lichen goes a few steps further, by building coral-like structures. Here we are on top of Turtle Mountain. There’s a sign up there that says this is the Northern Edge of the Great Basin Desert. I think the person who put it up must have been half asleep. This is not a desert. It’s more like arctic tundra than anything.
The way to get this beautiful is to live where not even a deer or a marmot will step on you, and especially not the porcupine with his big flappy feet or the badger, who has a thing about digging. For that, sheer bare rock is best. By taking this shape, and by joining together, bodies like this ensure that water does not pour off of the stone. These creatures might look like rock dwellers, but that’s not really true. They are rain dwellers. Again, not a human adaptation. Rain bodies sometimes take on other forms. Take a look:
If you have a large variety of species of moss and lichens, each able to use water in specific ways and able to catch it at various angles and on various surfaces, and each responding differently to light, the entire system is resilient and able to quickly deal with any disturbance, such as this out-of-place alluvial stone that some kid must have carried up here in his pocket and, well, chucked.
The body I want to show you is not the beautiful orange lichen here, but what it indicates: the presence of this lichen indicates that the stone is covered in urine, because a bird or a marmot uses it as a perch. That means that the lichen is a urine body, but the stone is a combination of a 4-D Time Body and a Tall Body (filling the body space of a saskatoon bush). This is one of the versatilities of stone bodies: they fill various body-ecosystems, in a complex web. A lesson for humans is that they have bodies like that, too, which are diminished if they are all considered to be the same. A human society does not function if everyone is judged along the same lines, because humans are filling various body niches in society. It’s the same for stones. They are not just ‘stone’. That’s a human 3-D illusion commonly known as elementary science, which excels at dissecting complex bodily systems into simple parts. It’s a powerful system, but it misses something: this multi-niche function of bodies is a 5th Dimension. That’s a big thing to miss. Now, one more image for today might help with that.
Mule deer, bunchgrass, sagebrush, hillside, all these are grass bodies. In fact, in the 5th Dimension, they are all one body. Not only that, but this complex dimension has added another dimension: movement. That’s six.
More bodies tomorrow. I think it’s important to explore all of our bodies. I think it’ll help us all live in the grass.