The Rivers of the Sun

What makes a plant a plant is not its growth. It’s not that it’s a “growing” thing.

Ponderosa Pine

Neither is it that it spreads.


Branching is popular, but not all plants branch.

Nobody Branching here

Similarly, a river is not a river because it grows.

Thompson River at Epsom Provincial Park

A river is a flow within a channel. Without a channel, it is a flood. It stops and isn’t a river anymore.

Mud Lake

That is to say that it loses energy. Plants do this, too.

They only grow so far, and then, well, that’s that.

Red Osier Dogwood

It’s not that they flood per se, but like rivers that flood they lose energy.

This energy comes from the sun. It draws water up through the plant. The plant lays new tissue down along the shores of this energy. Buds, even. Each can grow into a new tributary of this sun-powered river.

A Little Big Sage

There’s not much of that in the winter, though, so a plant has to slow, then pause, before starting up again.

Oregon Grape luring a bit of energy room birds, Ellison Provincial Park

Sometimes it has fruit, or seeds.

Sometimes it has aphids.

Aphids are a lot like fruit, and a lot like plants. They anchor themselves to a plant, bite in, and let the river of sap, drawn upwards from the sun, flow through them, drawing off what energy they can from the plant’s sugars, before it leaks out their anuses and is harvested by ants…

…or the aphids themselves are harvested by ladybird beetles, right on the river’s shore.

Aphids, in other words are rivers that can be swallowed whole. Now the thing is, the word “plant” is just not right for rivers that create botanical rivers of their own that flood out into us, so to speak, that are dispersed by birds in the way ants disperse aphids, and that we carry as new river sources, new springs, to be drawn upward again by the sun.

A “plant” is an action of placing something. It describes agriculture, not the rivers of the sun, what gathers around them and what shapes their shores.

Not agriculture and not plants.

After all, we live on its shores, often right at the point where it stops flowing and floods.

We didn’t put these things here. In a sense, they put us here, which makes us the plants.

Deer Plants on the River Shore, Mauvais Rocher

Respect, that’s the thing.

Choke Cherry and Saskatoon Competing for Attention

You know: thanks.

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