Rivers on the Land

I made this image of the sagebrush buttercups to show a friend how they run in lines off underground stems, but then I noticed something else. It’s faint, but can you see the vole highways? They’re an entire river system running through the cheat grass from the lower centre of the image, and through the gap in the sagebrush at the upper left.

What is missing from this image is the long, writhing roots of the balsam root, the round mound of stalks at the right, as well as those of the sagebrush itself. That’s four layers of rivers, stacked on top of each other, each inhabiting a different dimension of the landscape, in water and in time. All are sheltered. None are open to the air, and none flow in it. And yet, look at them flow!

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