How The Sun Makes Rich Soil

It’s simply beautiful how it is done. First, water sorts out the finest grains of silt, and deposits them on the surface of low points in the earth, filling them in. Then the sun evaporates the water, and  cracks the silt all crazy like.
Wind and gravity (and birds passing through the seasons) deposit feathers and leaves. The angular effect of the sun on the fluid shape of the silt holds them from drifting.
When the rains come again to the lowest ground, it fills the cracks, softens leaf and feather, and then deposits new silt around them.

They are now mixed in.

The cycle repeats with each season, or each thundercloud.

This is the lightning of the earth.

Beautiful, isn’t it!

What exquisite music.

Alfalfa Walking

When you rely on animals brushing up against your seeds, or pecking at them, to knock them to the soil, it’s best to fall over with the weight of your flowers, so your seeds are a whole body’s distance away. After all, right down in the middle of beautiful you isn’t going to work so well. Alfalfa is great at this kind of walking.

In this way she marches a whole body’s distance away, every year. What’s more, because clear ground has no dry stalks of vegetation to hold her up (and prevent her from falling over), it’s exactly there, where there is space for her, that she walks. We too.

Humans and alfalfa share an ecosystem and go out walking there together on a summer’s day.

Who Will Decide Claims for This Land

White folks make land claims, too, even right next to the sacred hills of the Sinlahekin.

It’s not just for the Sinlahekin, or the Methow, over the hill in the distance.

If you plant your dead, even in front of the sacred beaver of the Salmon Creek Valley, you are claiming that land.

In a way, land claims get settled by the dead.

The word “totem,” as in “totem pole,” comes from that: ancestral poles, or poles of the dead. In the Sinlahekin, the indigenous practice of adorning graves with fetish objects has become White practice.

There is one difference: in White graveyards, the objects are for remembrance, or to keep memories alive. In indigenous graveyards, they are gifts for the living, who just happen to be dead.

Still, a scattering of stuff beats forgotten, nameless crosses, or ornate graves reflecting a rich country that never came.

It’s the dead who claim a land, not the living.

And we, the living, are chattering on about “cultural appropriation.” The dead will decide. We won’t.

~

Conconully Graveyard, Salmon Creek Valley, Okanogan County, Washington

A Proposal for Nature Tourism for the Okanagan

This wetland beauty is what a real tourism is made of.

I witnessed busloads of Asian tourists scattered across pastures in Iceland, to take pictures of exquisite light.

The timing, the location, the season, all have to be right.

These are ancient, honourable traditions.  They are alive here.

So often, though, I have seen Asian tourists in Vernon trying to find some nature to photograph off the front of their main stop, the honey farm, and the meadery, which closes its tasting counter for their arrival, by the busload.

So often have I seen them crossing traffic to shop at the Dollar Store.

Well, if they came for beauty, we have cattails. What are the tour bus companies thinking?

We also have feral squiggly willows.

They are worth $3000 of Nikon equipment, too.

And a plane ticket.

But why just Asians. Why don’t Canadians come for Beauty, too?

It’s not particularly hard to find, even in the ruins in which we are forced to live.

It’s easy. You go by foot. Then you stop.

Then your mind stops.

It’s all ephemeral, but here’s the thing: ephemerality is continuous. We have the ability to flow, but also to pool.

Let’s pool.

Let’s follow the turtles for awhile and give our guests the respect they deserve and open our social forms to the living world for them.

Look at how the water turns to turtle shell with the lightest breeze!

And by doing so, open them for us.

 

Of Butterflies and Ethics

If I had done the ethical thing and turned the land surrounding my house into a desert of rocks to conserve water, this butterfly would not have come today to feed.

All water flows through human piping systems now, unless we resist. Predation is not the only way to be human.

What Colour is a Damselfly Anyway?

Note how the damselfly in the water is tall and full of energy, while the one on the butt of the birch log is weary and weighed down by the weight of the sky.


And look how the one in the water has taken on the colour of the birch, while the one in the sky has taken on the colour of oxygen. What a beautiful world!

~

Gardom Lake

The Eclipse of the Peach

The sun was too bright to look at, even in 90% eclipse today, but I got a couple images for you. First, a peach in my garden taken at full eclipse, against the sun, with some peach leaves for a filter. Look at how strong the shadows are and how crisp the edges!
Second, a leafhopper walking across the uneclipsed crescent of the sun, totally unfazed, through a pinhole projector made of a sheet of tinfoil, casting an image on a sheet of paper.

If you’re going to see an eclipse, earth’s the place for it, I say.

Weaving the Environment

So, what of it, eh. If settlement had taken a different turn and adapted to local cultural knowledge and traditions, and “colonialism” wasn’t even a word, what would we see if we looked at these woven thule reeds?

Would we see the wheatgrass weaving ladybirds out of the wind?

Or wasps weaving the flowers that wove them?

Or invasive knapweed weaving this ruined soil back into the fabric of life?

Would we see these million dollar homes as being at home here?

Would we plant trembling aspens, dependent upon industrial water?

Would we say this is a summer of drought, or that it had moved in the heat? Would we not move there, too?

Would we poison this water reservoir with toxic herbicides the day after this image was taken of a beaver feeding on water flowers at dusk?

History is what it is, but the moment of settlement is never lost.