When is a Mountain Not a Mountain?

The answer to the question is simple: when it is like this.

This is the view of Cipak from the narrow pass over from Kliluk, which is an example of a lake that is not a lake.

I was asked today if I had any poems about mountains. I’ve been writing poems for nearly five decades, but no poems about mountains. You’d think there’d be some, given this kind of thing, with its sequoia fossils and all:

People call this Daly Mountain, in the Similkameen. Does it look like a mountain to you? Really? They call the spirit grinning at you on the left Sugarloaf Mountain, too. Does it look like a mountain? What about the so-called K-Mountain above Keremeos:

Isn’t that Coyote watching out over the valley? Thing is, when you walk down the valley at  2 in the morning under a full moon, just once in your life, and see these creatures alive around you, there’s no going back to a colonial language that calls these beings “mountains”. If there is to be reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, that’s one word we’re going to have to set aside in a museum. Well, and “lake”, too.

Words like that blind us.

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