No Metaphors, Please

Visually, an á, a flow that carries a distant watering and extends it laterally across space…

aka The Thompson River

…is the same as the Grey Canal Trail below, with its new coat of gravel.

In this correspondence, linearity is privileged. However, there’s more going on than that. The river cuts through its banks. The trail is swallowed by them.

It is expensive to maintain a machine-made track. Yet, look what happens when the task is given to deer.  They clamber up a machine-made road cut as if it were nothing. You can follow their path below if you look carefully. This path does not fill in. It deepens.

(It’s in the middle of the image, in an arc shouldering to the left, striking the rock bluff below the dark spot approximately in the upper centre of the image, then scooping around through the choke cherries to the left, in line with the trending direction of the trail at the bottom of the image.)

Fun, eh. Let’s do it again. Here’s a few tracks left in the city of Vernon. There is the electrical conduits at the top of the image. There’s the tagging track in the centre (heavily eroded). There’s the alley in the foreground. What is deepening here is decay. Erosion is breaking down the system here, rather than creating it, and what is it being replaced by? Why, moss and weeds.

Not an accident. So, let’s compare. Here’s the eroding wall of an old lakebed in the Thompson River Valley. If you look carefully, you can find the deer trails.

(Hint: you can find one cutting downwards to the left on the mound in the upper right, another below that, intersecting the right edge of the image, another below that, at the midpoint of the image, and tracks going down the spines of most of the eroded slopes in the centre of the image. There are more. Have fun.)

These are cool. The bucks like to have a look from a vantage point. The does like to remain screened. Over the last 12,000 years these behaviours have significantly created the landforms you see above. Note that the buck’s display behaviour has resulted in more refuge terrain for the does, plus trails they can use to quickly move up or down-slope. Over time, the vertical trails will result in the splitting of the ridges into two, then likely two again, before eventually cutting across at the favoured 20 degree angle (More or less) of these bony-legged walkers, to make paths that will last for thousands of years. One trick is that the path uses the whole landscape as a function of anatomy, which is a function of the essence of the species. That means that it can bend around erosions, such as the continually back-eroding gully on the right below.

No Problem. We’ll just keep to the prescribed angles, though, thank you very much.

In comparison, the path of water expresses the nature of water.

In comparison, human paths express a desire to escape boundaries.

Boundaries that are only set by the desire to maintain paths in social space rather than Earth space. In fact, the weird driving behaviour above shows, more than anything, that the path has changed due to changing circumstances, but that human group behaviour has not adapted. We would do well to ask ourselves why we don’t live on the Earth as if it were home. The image below, of the Thompson Grassland after the 2017 fire, can be interpreted as a scene of destruction and erosion…

… or as renewal and growth towards a form containing more life, which is characterized by movement rather than stasis. Let’s be joyous, I say. Let’s let the Earth lead us. Oh, right. As for that 20 degree angle, well, it can bend.

And this?

Darned thing doesn’t even stop on its way to Mississauga. To it, this landscape is only a place to get through. Compare:

Please, don’t use metaphors. Things really are what they are; it’s our path that must bend to theirs.

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