The Clouds Pass Overhead and Underfoot

The Similkameen River flows beneath the northern wall of the Cascades.

The Similkameen Looking South from Keremeos Creek Mouth

It is not just a flow of water. The gravel of its bed fills the deep trough of the valley. The big river flows through that. The “river” is just a tiny sliver of the flow, exposed to the light. The gravel is also the flow.

This flow is not just in the gravel and the water. It is also in the air overhead.

Cipak, the Mountain that Turns the Similkameen

Those clouds above Cipak are put up at that height by the Cascade Mountains to the West. Water, quite literally, flows overhead, at around 8500-10,000 feet, more or less the crest of the Cascades. Beneath that river, the air, dried out from passing over the mountains, and then pressurized from falling down into the valley, gives the sensation of heat and lifts all water into the air and takes it away. To live here is to live in a vacuum. It is to be lifted like a wing. Every plant on the slopes here …


… gathers water that is slowed on its fall down the slopes by the air pulling it into the sky. Every plant helps in this process of slowing down water loss. These are the mountains that make wind, and even direct fire in the same patterns.

K-Mountain South Ridge

Some trees are taken, others spared. The mountains themselves are formed from water from the old Farallon sea bed, that created the Cascades when it dove under North America, pushing it up with its shoulder. Inland, it heat and pressurizedts trapped water further, until it melted the rock, creating these basalts. It is a deeper heat effect than we feel on our skins high above, but it is the same effect. From the deep wellings of rock and the gyres of the wind over the Pacific, to the effects of water, stone, sun and air in the valley, the pressure effects are continuous. It is in them that we live: among the clouds.

Smooth Sumac on the Similkameen

Conventional narratives of atmosphere, Earth and water do not apply here. They describe gravity systems, where water falls. Here, it rises.

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