They so love hanging out together in the back of the garden!
They so love hanging out together in the back of the garden!
There are many ways to grow after visiting the land of the dead. Grapes do it by pushing out shoots from the eyes we call “buds.” Each shoot is a vision. Wood without eyes is said to be blind.
This is the essence of celtic (and Greek, and Byzantine and Catholic) culture: the living rising out of the dead. For that, vines are often best: they rise on the blind limbs of trees and carry sight and vision up with them. This is the time of year when seeing begins. Soon will come the time of year when each eye becomes a bee’s-eye cluster of grapes in our hands; if we give them over to death, they will come back with a god in them. For Christians, this god is God; Christ is only an iteration of this wisdom.
Every single one. Note the pruning cuts to separate the fruits from sharp angles, where they will be trapped and rot, and the edges of the twigs tipped to help the tree lay down next year’s twig in a place to renew this one.
Poor Man’s Bonsai!
Thinning will follow in June, to complete the selection, removing scarred fruits first, spacing the rest, and removing any remaining trapped fruits. There are millions of nectarine trees, each with hundreds of fruits, and each one is chosen by hand and eye, every single one.
Deer pace the hills like leopards in a cage.
Eventually, they will bring the mountain down.
This is above sx̌ʷəx̌ʷnitkʷ, the ancient salmon fishery on the Okanagan River. It’s not just the salmon that need to be helped home.
Peaches are scrubby little bushes from the Gobi Desert, that live to be fifteen years old, more or less, before they succumb to their many fragilities. Here’s one I’ve been caring for twenty years, after another man cared for her for nearly twenty before that. A quarter of her sisters have died, but a week ago she was the first one blooming this year. Her name is Glohaven.
Still gorgeous after all these years. Some fifty-five years ago I remember images of blossoms like this, with my father as the photographer, and it was a tree like this (her name was Vee), with just the right branch, who taught me how to climb trees. I worked at it for weeks. I have a whole lifetime to return the gift.
She’s a lovely one, Apricot.
She lures me. I have a body that is eager to be lured.
The blossoms are so pretty and smell so sweet. Finding fruit, and caring for it, is a task not done all at once.
It’s not that I am the domesticated one, or that Apricot is. We are in this together.
Well, plus Mme. Robin.
After forty-five years, a change of flavour!
It was the only sunny day forecast for a week, so today was the day. Up at dawn, and a two hour drive, to be greeted by apricots in full bloom.
There’ll be apples here in 3 years.
I cut the scion wood in March, wrapped it in cloth, and buried it in my onion garden. Today, eight hours making the world new, then two hours back home.
That’s a new sunrise in the foreground, and a new fuji in behind.
Fourteen in all! Six last year, and six the year before that (two varieties are going to have their first apples this year). Spring is fun! How did you celebrate it today?
In 1847, it was the Cayuse on the ridgeline, with the lightning flaring from their appaloosa’s eyes and their water monsters painted on their bodies, and early American settlers on the flats below.
These grazing patterns continue today in the Walla Walla Valley, where my country stepped into history with a rifle shot.
In my country, the rivers are born in the mountains. Here is born the Missouri, the Columbia, the Fraser and all their ancestors and all their daughters.
This particular mother is the Cascades: a sea bed melted in the deep earth and lifted into the sky by a younger sea. Look at its wave break in a crest of foam.
This is one of the old ones of the Columbia, the Washaptum. Here, the mountains become water again. Note how they turn to eggs of stone. Look how the current is the flick of a salmon’s tail. Look how the sun comes in waves. This is the wave trough. It is like the call of a whale.
Look how the water and the rock braid together in these depths. This is the deepest floor of the sun.
Look how water and sun and stone and sea mingle and part and mingle again in these depths. That’s how it’s done.
Since the beginning of civilization, long before the pharaohs, Owhi’s people, the Pisquouse, came here to meet the salmon the mountains were calling out of the distant Pacific where they fed on the sun. This is the power song. This is where fish make people.
Come, they called.
Come and be born.
These are the eggs of humans, as the mountains make them.
This is a man rising from the stream to breathe his sun.
This is what he sees when he looks back to his birth. This his mind and heart. These are his children’s children’s children’s children, calling for him to help them be born.
This is what we do here in Cascadia.
We are being born. Sometimes it means writing stories about all of this on our ancestral rocks, just as the pines do. Here the fish are born from the mind that is born from minding the fish.
Everything else is the dying. Does this sound fanciful to you? OK. What about this?
Poisoning the earth down the road from my house, in the Columbia Headwaters at Head of the Lake.
Maybe you like your royal gala apples with poison. When Woody Guthrie, the Traitor, sang his song, “Roll on Columbia…”
This is the impounded river: a chain of shipping locks full of southern, warm water salmon-egg-eating-fish.
… he bragged that the Columbia River, the great salmon river of the world, would live on in the electrical grid, translated into pure energy. That’s part of that above. Here’s some more, on the Okanagan Lake Shore:
That’s what these stones …
… look like after Woody’s betrayal. Let us love each other again.
Let us be the children of the mountains again.
How do we save the planet? By planting rocks in our gardens to “prevent global warming?” Isn’t that murder?
Or by planting rhubarb?
The second garden is mine, across the road from the firs, which is the global warming it is trying to invent. It is amazing what a country addicted to oil will think of next. Actually, we don’t save the planet. We ask it to save us. Then we listen. I planted this salad one day between snow storms a month ago.