Wide Energy, or Living in the Sky

Remember when we were in the thick of Thick Energy? That was fun.

Willow Thicket from Thick Energy.

Today, I’d like to talk about a related form of energy: wide energy. Here’s some at Blind Creek, looking up the Fairview, in the Similkameen.

Thick energy likes to reproduce by duplicating its twin, thin energy.

Thin Salsify. Stalks Being Thick in the Winter

When thick energy extends without duplicating itself, however, it enters wide energy.

One can wade through it (or at least the edge of it, with the otters). In contrast, one brushes through a thicket.


In the transformation, thick energy loses the power of thickening, which leads to duplication. In its place, it exchanges thickness for width. In effect, thick and thin become the same force. They flatten out.

Okanagan Lake on a Cold Winter Day

We know this energy well, all of us who speak English, as vast-ness, or even (as in the image above) as a vista. It is the room that allows one to see far.

Big Bar Lake on a May Evening

It is a space of vision. In contemporary language, we are taught that seeing originates from us. It is what we do, looking outward to the world, and although that is true, without the energy of light in the space, and the width to extend our bodies into it imaginatively, there is no sight at all. It is completely thick. Not the alteration of thick and thin at Rialto Beach (below), where width pushes thickness to reveal space for human bodies (and sight)…

… but just density.

Ugh. Look at the image of Big Bar Lake again.

Look at the density at both sides, pushed apart by width. It’s not what one could call thin, though. I think, however, it would be fair to describe wide energy as thickened thinness, on the principle that when density (completely closed in energy) thins it just becomes thick…

… and the thicker it becomes the more it approaches density again …

…but when thinness thickens it becomes wide, the opposite of dense.

In other words, when thickening energy thins it creates multiples of itself; when they thicken, they approach density; whereas when thinness thickens, it becomes wide; when width thickens it becomes depth, including depth of field. One is drawn into. This drawing into is what is called sight.

Neither thickness nor thinness have depth. Vision does. This depth often takes the form of height.


It is high, from the proto-european root s’keu, or hide, which gives both the sky and the darkness, both “skimming” clouds and the chiaroscuro, or black backgrounding, of Renaissance painting, as well as, simply, a hat, or a cover. That’s why deer choose thickets to have their young or to remain concealed.

It thickens their width, their ability to be seen, into denseness, in what is called both a cover and a hide. When an animal is killed and stripped of its skin (also s’keu), the power amplified by going into a hide, the power of concealment is transferred. It becomes a new cover for the wearer, protecting him from that other skin, the sky. It divides what is otherwise unified, and one passes between. Now, look again:

Always, that width is passage, and passage follows sight. By entering sight, it becomes real.

It becomes a site, a situation, and a sit. We do well to note the creatures who dwell within that point of passage, for whom we are the sight.  Without us, or those like us, the robins, bears, coyotes and deer, the siya? above does not scatter its berries and become thick on the land. These are the energies that shape us and move us from place to place, as their expressions. We do them wrong to claim that they are not energies at all but neutral attributes that we can give meaning to, or withhold meaning from.


Next: Meaning itself.

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