In my valley, the Okanagan, winter is a time for the earth and the ocean — and the people who actually love the land and not an image of it. It’s not that we live on the ocean. We live hundreds of kilometres inland from the Pacific, but it’s very close in the winter. Look:
That’s an image of looking west down the North Arm of 135 kilometre-long Okanagan Lake, an over-deepened fjord from the last ice age. It’s about 950 metres from the lake surface to bedrock. The bottom of the lake’s bed is around 400 metres below sea level, where two ancient South Pacific island chains join. Here’s the image again, with labels so you can see the joy of it.
I love those watery storms the sun makes when it strikes rock here. Fire, ingrown trees and clearcuts… those are the echoes of summer, the season of fire. Now the sun is water. So is fire. Here where the ocean is below our feet and above it, all land is sacred, and all water, and all air.