It is important to ask the right question. In the past, we asked for dumb nature, Earth created it.
It wasn’t the whole story, but she made it for us. If we asked for evolution, she revealed that.
It was not the whole story, but it was what we asked for. If we asked for her to hold us, she did. (Note that she is holding herself.)
God? There he was.
Canada Passes Through the Secwepemc Illahie
Of course, we tried to cheat. Shame on us.
Cook’s Ferry Indian Band Church
More recently, we have asked for patterns of randomness.
Spring Poplars in Vernon
And patterns of vagueness.
She has revealed them all, to support our philosophies. They’re not the whole story, but they are all we asked. The same goes for spiritual patterns and any requests for physical materials.
In the language of the colonial country of Canada, this process is the process of people actively searching to string information together into patterns, and using their technical knowledge to analyze those patterns, but just listen to that: the people who live here don’t actively search; only invaders do that. It’s powerful, but after a few hundred years the approach kind of erodes, because the questions are always the same and she has already answered them.
You don’t get to do this over and over without responding yourself. That’s the thing. The process by which this unfolds is inspiring. If, for example, you ask “where can I store some water,” she will show you.
If you ask instead “where does the water lick,” she will show you that instead. This is the form of energy that has an animal licking a læk, or a “lake”. In this sense, as I’ve discussed here before, a lake is not “a body of water” but a place where the land has watered energy (sometimes with help) to allow stock to drink — or lick, really. It is the animal that licks. The “lake” or “læk” (as the Icelanders more accurately put it) is the other half of the lick. They fulfill each other and so come to be. What the animal licks is the læk that inspires the lick. And so the lake is there. This is an energy of finding and coming together, that follows the question “where does the water lick” or, perhaps, if you want a slightly-nuanced answer, where does the land læk.
Big Bar Lick
If you want to water stock animals,by asking where you can store water, the Earth will show you one set of possibilities; if you ask where does the land læk, she will show you others. Two years ago at Big Bar Lake a Secwepemc man asked me “What is the Earth doing? What have you seen her do?” Her answer to him was, “She is changing the seasons.” If his question had been, “What is global warming doing to my land?” he would have received a completely different answer — and would have been powerless to answer in return. These aspens were at our backs as we talked.
They are still processing the answer. Good answers take time. Quick answers take up space.