Arts

The Colours of the Okanagan

Forget summer. We spend half the year within cloud that is the breath of the lake held in the air by pressure off the mountains and the sea. If you’re going to move here, you will need to accept that there is an intensity of light that does not come through sharp contrasts. It’s more of a blending in.

There’s lots of colour and contrast, of course, but these are the deeps, the bottom of the sea. When you live on an inland fjord, these are the energies.

Everything here is water, but water of a unique kind: the ocean lifted high into the mountains. Even November cherries shine as much with darkness here as with colour and light. They are no less bright for it.

The closer you get to things, the more colour there is. This is how humans react to living within an ocean. The water in our eyes becomes the water in the air and all distant light is shifted towards the colours of reflected sky on water. Unless we get very close.

These are beautiful things.

When I say, colours are bright up close, well, they are still the colours of water. They are still viewed through an ocean. Think of this: all winter long, you view this ocean here, too. If you came for clear sunlight, you came to the wrong place.

Well, unless this is clear sunlight to you:

Or unless this draws your eye. If you’re waiting for spring, you missed it. This is spring.

This is the sunlight as it is written on the land.

There’s a full palette of colours. That’s not the issue.

They are, however, soft. Personally, I think this light should make the Okanagan a world photographic destination.

Whether in fog…

… or without it…

… this being in the ocean and one with all creatures here in half darkness deepens every year.

Your eye learns softer and softer relationships, and brighter and brighter intimacies.

It’s direct sunlight that is wondrous here, even though, really, living inside the soul of a lake might be the greater wonder.

Brightness, though, is matched by darkness, equally.

And sometimes your heart stops.

But it sure is beautiful, that is it sure is in balance, and in the right balance for human life to calm …

…and enter into intimate relations with other lakes and rivers and sprays of the life force.

To look through water is to look into the subconscious, to to be within it and see the whole world there, what is that?

It is spiritual, which is to say it gives us a chance, so rare, to speak as body, vision, and mind at once.

So, please, remember: if you have moved to the Okanagan, you have left British Columbia and Canada and have gone to sea in one of only ten fjord lakes of this kind in the world. There is no distance between you and anything except the world you brought with you. The valley is teaching you to let it go. It has this.

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