First Peoples

Let the Sun Be Our Guide

The hips of the wild rose are red so that we will see them, pick them, and carry their seeds with us. Other people, like deer and birds, are targeted in the same way. You could call us the rose people. A tip of the hat to that!

The smoothness of the hips is for us, too (Thanks for that, Rose!), but here’s a question: do we really need to see that smoothness? Does the red hit us deeper than that? In poor light perhaps? Below consciousness> Right on the edge of the dark, maybe? Is the red for the eye, not for the mind?

It’s as if we reach for them without thinking.

Just as Rose wants it, I suspect. Another grassland person who leads us around by the eye is bluebunch wheatgrass, or as she puts it, stiyi7. (Just walk through and listen. She will talk.) We share her with deer and birds as well, and also with meadow voles, a welcome addition to our family as the grass people.

We see her stalks in such fine lines, but look above at how the sun catches in the seed bracts and shows us which ones are empty and which ones are full. That’s important information, for sure. Now look at stiyi7 again without that clarity.

Even without the benefit of focus, with the stalks all blurry, the information given to us by the sun is still clear. As it is with the rose hips, it’s as if we see this information below the level of consciousness. However, here’s the cool thing: there’s a place for consciousness in all this! Look again:

See that? When the grass is outlined by the sky, the seed is shown clearly; when outlined by the darker background of the mountain, the empty bracts show up. As humans, we’re not going to make a lot of this information, given how much shorter stiyi7 is than we are, but if we were children out gathering this would be really useful, and if we walk up-slope as we gather, with the sun at our left shoulder, we could scan for seed, then close in on stiyi7 and see just how full they are. Stiyi7 is, of course, a starvation food. We’ll pick whole stalks over single seeds. It’s good to know which ones, and better to determine that quickly. However, there is a grass that is more suited to our height, and it is more than a starvation food. This is Giant Rye. She is taller than we are.

Note how the sun works in much the same way to guide us to her seed. In this case, there’s no need to harvest up-slope. Distance does the trick.

And here the sun in the empty bracts leads us on by the eye while, close up, the hands gather in the seed. Always, we pass forward.

This is a habitat that we share with the deer. Together with them, we are the Wild Rye people. In all of these cases, rose, wheatgrass and wild rye, we are being guided to our hands by the sun.

2 replies »

  1. “Our eyes contain the photopigment metanopsin. When it’s hit by blue light, it signals to our brain that it’s daytime… In the evening, at sunset, the light spectrum shifts to red and we automatically feel tired.” Or rather, at rest in the rose…
    Peter Wohlleben, The Secret Wisdom of Nature: Trees, Animals, and the Extraordinary Balance of All Living Things

    Liked by 1 person

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