Dawn on Earth

It is a wave breaking on a shore.P1240161
It is sifted by trees that hold the night within themselves.

dawning

The sun enters the water, and shines from there. (In the image below, it catches a tree that fell here before I was born, and has raised generations of trout in its weave.)P1240181

As the sun is filtered by the living trees over the shoulder of the forest, it lifts the water and the land together.

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During the day that follows, it is a memory, written in light.

wet2 This is when the wind carries the wave forward, through all the dimensions.wet

The water and the light flow with it, right through you.

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Where they become one is where you are. Only there. In all this universe. Earth creature, this is what your thinking looks like.

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Right through dusk. Of the day and of the year.

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Into the night.

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Then it begins again.

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That is your mathematics, earth dweller.

P1230289That is your music.You who live where the sun and the water meet …

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… and become one.P1230277

If you understand that, or find yourself trying to understand that, or think that these words or this conception is poetry, or that these are images of nature or psychology, please go back …

P1240196 … and try again.P1240219

 

And again.

 

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And again.

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Please take your time.

 

 

Why Beauty?

Beauty is a signature that a human was present, using its bodily senses to measure the precise balances in a landscape and to align its body with them.palepond

Some beautiful early morning light on the Big Bar Wetland, for sure, but also beaver, fish, frog and bird habitat, under precise conditions, and damselflies, which give life meaning.damsels at dawn

Yes, that’s another sign of a human presence, and is the resting place for an apprehension of beauty, recorded in memory. These physical abilities are useful, and powerful. Memory is consciousness.P1200646

Early Morning Moon Over Big Bar Lake

Consciousness is beauty. It is the reading, for example, of a hawk at rest and in flight, with one’s own body.

hawk

After awhile, you become it. That’s the point.

Blue Bunch Wheatgrass and Gravity

The blue bunch wheatgrass of the West, the signature grass of the Intermontane Grasslands, the beautiful one herself, stands straight and tall, until her seeds grow heavy and weigh her down, but even that is not enough to spread her out far enough to catch the rain through the winter and the next year.
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To find the perfect arc to catch the rain, the thunderstorms of June are the thing.

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The tension between the fibbers of blue bunch and gravity, find their perfect arc.P1180276

But only with the seed, that holds the water, as it will find it again, when it drops to the soil, at the new extension the rain has given to the plant.

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What a beautiful and balanced world!

Sustaining the Okanagan 15: Time for Thyme!

We don’t need lawn. Or gravel.

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But what about thyme? P1180964

No mowing. No watering. The thyme below is just growing at the side of the road.P1180965

Flowers for the bees!P1180980

Something for the kitchen (black cherry tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, thyme and a hot frying pan.P1180981

Replace that gravel, too.

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Make pretty steps.P1180463

Better than bark mulch, which is supposed to “look” productive, but is a boondoggle.P1180469

Nothing grows in that stuff.P1180468

Make the valley live again. Whoo-hooo!P1180466

Plant thyme.

~

p.s. the water system in the images above could be ripped out. It’s there out of habit.

Sustaining the Okanagan 14: Plant Tech

We exceeded the valley’s population carrying capacity 25 years ago. Our issue is water. You’d think it would limit human population expansion, but humans are socially clever and limit social access to water instead. To forestall an inevitable class revolution, it’s time to develop new water technology now. The plant world offers many examples of what can be done. All that is absent is the application of human cleverness to something other than social manipulation and IT. For example, the beautiful weed, Bladder Campion…P1180659

Silene latifolia

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Look at how the flower forms around an open chamber, with a spray of petals around its lips.

campion

This arrangement is not designed to capture water, but no matter. We have the technology to use this example to create water collection devices, which could stand inert until it rained, catch the rain, and store it by funnelling it from their petals into their bells. At that point, the water could be drawn down a hollow stem (tube) into a larger collection device, or when the level in each bell reached a certain weight the bell could tip, the water would pour out into a trough, which would then deliver it to a collection or distribution point. Alternately, little collectors like this (or banks of them) could be placed beside individual plants. They could collect rain, just as the plant, its root systems and the soil do, with this exception: when the water evaporated out of the soil with the sun that follows rain these little bladders could release more water, slowly, to make up for the loss. I’m sure devices could even be built that could be laid out as sheets, or which could be laid out in banks like solar panels. We have the technological intelligence, we have the manufacturing ability, we have a university, we have the thunderstorms, we have a great need, we have burgeoning social pressures, and we still have the possibility of a bright future. Bright futures are made. We would do well to get in focus.

focus

 

The Mystery of Surfaces

Do surfaces have edges? Or do edges have surfaces? Is an edge the limit to a surface? Is a surface the space between two edges, that is given substance because the edges separate it from the nothing around it?P1180691

Cat Tails

And that nothing around it, that is called “air” or “space”, what is that stuff? Is it a surface or an edge or, as our ancestors put it, a room? Is that why we say “children need room to grow?” Is the lack of such a room an edge? If so, does that make a room a surface? Is a three-dimensional surface a room? Is a two-dimensional room a surface? Is a one dimensional surface an edge? And what about the surface of water? What’s with that? 

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I ask, not because I want to unravel the mysteries of the world (I love them just fine) but because these are really questions about the human mind and how it sorts the world, which is a unified whole and, I suppose, not a room. Look how complicated edges and surfaces can get.

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Mustard in Her Finery

And yet we can read them perfectly. Why not. We are looking at ourselves. What the world  looks like, well, that’s the wrong way to approach it. It doesn’t look like anything.

Sustaining the Okanagan 13: Public Hardwood Lumber Woodlots

Plant a maple tree. Plant it beside a road.P1180856

Roads collect water. Roads shed water. Ditches, which line roads, collect water. Or maybe they’re just barren spaces, and just for show and meeting government regulations, but great for gophers, yes. Yes, great for gophers. (Note: Don’t worry. I didn’t fall over. I was just lurching. Don’t know why.)

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Or rocks. You could get all up-to-date, low-maintenance, weedless, hip and modern. It’ll cost a fortune, I know, but with dump trucks and loaders and diesel engines all over the place, which is fun, and, bonus, you’ll never have to do a thing again, ever.  Ever. Ever ever ever.

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Well, maybe not weedless.

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Maybe rocks collect dust and water and seeds, which is the whole point of rocks.

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Well, forget the ditches, then. Just do the whole yard in gravel. That way you won’t have to mow.

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Oh, right. Gravel is small rocks. Rocks and dust and water and seed all have a thing going. Shoot.

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So, back to basics.

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Plant a maple seed. After all, a road is just a big long rock, that collects dust and water and seeds. You can help, right? In a dry climate, where water gets more expensive and harder to source every year, why don’t we do away with ditches that don’t ditch and plant trees that take all that water away. I know, I know, they’re going to look pretty great and be full of orioles and gold finches and blue birds, but, hey, trees are like rocks. They collect things.

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For the cost of a handful of maple seeds, our grandchildren will have a hardwood lumber industry. No irrigation required. The choice is clear: either no labour with that or hours of weed whacking every year with this:

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And gophers eating your carrots. Sustainability is not hard. It’s often the easiest thing of all.