People of the Wind

One after another,the grassland opens further. Something is ripening here.

It’s easy to share space if you are thin, and working on rhythms of opening and closing that intersect at the point at which one species needs water and another needs to release it.

It is the way a trout holds still in a flowing pool.

It helps to signal your presence.

Even petals can rise and fall in the rhythms of this pattern. Look how they are falling out in the bloom below in the opposite sequence from which they came in.

Going to seed in sequence helps. There are no clear seasons here.

It’s all one-after-the-other here. For humans, it’s all-at-once. That’s how a migratory, predatory species thinks through individuals that come together into groups by releasing its defenses and including the other within the self. That’s profound, but so is the grassland that thinks together. Every space that is closed opens.

This is water’s journey. It falls from the wind, opens into life, and then, when the wind is a closed space, opens again into the wind: opening after opening after opening opening openings.

Only a grassland thinks like this. Only water thinks this way here.

This is the spirit of a grassland. Here, and this is the big secret, humans can let down their boundaries and live in the sky as well, by extending the social group to these ends.

We are not just a predatory species. These grasslands are our ancient homes. Much has been forgotten, but much has been remembered, too. We are remembering it now as we put a close to the closings below.

 

 

 

 

The Heart of the Okanagan: The Summer Book

It’s only two days until the Okanagan launch of The Summer Book on July 13, at the Vernon Public Library. We’ll gather with you at 7 pm. Sarah de Leeuw, Trevor Carolan and I will be there to read for you, as well as the acclaimed Okanagan poet Kerry Gilbert, and more.

Here is one of the  posts from Okanagan Okanogan, which led to my essay in the book, The Neon Bees of the Sun.” If you come to the reading, you’ll here how this image was made and how it is the heart of the grasslands.

Sacred Palouse Falls

https://okanaganokanogan.com/2015/05/22/where-the-heart-is-home-a-celebration/

THE SUMMER BOOK
A new collection of creative non-fiction
by twenty-four BC writers

Due: June 2017
6.5 x 8.5 * 232 pages * paperback
Includes linocuts, drawings, watercolours and etchings by Gary Sim,
Peter Haase and Briony Penn
978-1-896949-61-1 * paperback * $24.95
BUY NOW

“I have only to break into the tightness of a strawberry, and I see summer – its dust and lowering skies.” –Toni Morrison

“In summer, the song sings itself.”— William Carlos Williams

Focusing on the joys of summer, The Summer Book features new and previously unpublished creative non-fiction by twenty-four acclaimed British Columbia writers: warm and wonderful tales, meditations on nature, summer memories, humour and seasonal anticipations. The Summer Book – a refreshing collection readers can relax and dip into, anytime of year. A small positive treasure in this complex crazy century.

Authors: Luanne Armstrong, Kate Braid, Brian Brett, Anne Cameron, Trevor Carolan, Claudia Cornwall,  Daniela Elza, Carla Funk, Jane Eaton Hamilton, Eve Joseph, Des Kennedy, Theresa Kishkan, Chelene Knight, Fiona Tinwei Lam, Grant Lawrence, J.J. Lee, Sarah de Leeuw, Peter Levitt, Christine Lowther, Pearl Luke, Susan McCaslin, Briony Penn, D.C. Reid and Harold Rhenisch.

 

The Canadian Invasion

How do you make a country out of a series of industrial art works?

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You take the sun and all that it does out in the red medicine willows …p1430345

… add some myths about the cold North left over from the expulsion of English patriots to Indian Territory after the American Civil War, and get Kelowna…p1430254

… a kind of Martian colony in the grass.

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It is a safe place for people who are a long way from home. It is a fortress.

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Oh, did you think that space colonization was fiction? Why, meet the life forms of this place, invisible aliens picking the snow out of the air. Well, invisible to some.

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It is a form of breathing. We live among wonders and artificial suns.

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We have all we need to find the light on our planet among the stars.

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What stories we could tell the Canadian-Americans…

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… if there were just a language we could share!

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Ancestral Water Knowledge

Look at the shapes water freezes in when it freezes over pebbles.
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The pebbles create an image of themselves on the underside of the ice…

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which melting follows, and air, which re-freezes in gaseous shapes.p1420491

Gas is not uniform however. When it blows as wind and breaks the weak ice up, it slides it against itself in wind sheers. Water freezes to hold these shapes as well. Water is very accommodating.p1420449

These are solidified forms of what it does with light and wind, instead of cold and wind.p1420618

Still, of course, beautiful, which is the word we use in my language to indicate a physically-apprehended balance that is right for life.p1420613

It’s no surprise that life freezes in those watery patterns as well, or that it gives them back to water.
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It’s that kind of place.

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Water takes on the shape given it.

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It would be wrong to say it has no shape. It even has negative shape, that space where it is not. It is very accommodating. That is the nature of flow. That is a power in itself.

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This taking on of a shape, that is water. The substance water is made of was not water until it did. Before that, it was the stuff of old stars.

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Really.p1420578

Really.

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There was never a Big Bang. There was an opening of potential into itself.

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There is its folding back at its boundary, into its depths.

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Okanagan Lake Shore, Vernon

Our ancestors had words for this, which means so did we. We should talk. Here’s what they knew.

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Look at it closely. You know it too.

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The hard part is to forget what we don’t know, but we can do that together.

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So, what have your ancestors taught you about water? Hmmmm?