Hole in the Sky, Not Empty

A couple weeks ago, I told you about a hole that frequently appeared in the clouds above the city of Coldstream. Here’s a picture of it taken five days ago…

The image is taken towards the East, but at dusk, with the setting sun down over the mountains to the West. It is directly above the intersection of winds from the West and the North, which are, rather, redirected winds from the West as well, so a kind of eddy, like a little back current in a trout stream. In a way, it’s kind of an illusion created by the intersection of human visual ability and open space that cuts across the prevailing winds. Look how many of these holes appear in the clouds below.

Nonetheless, this intersection is meaningful, as it does lead us, humans, to a particularly fruitful spot and the site of an ancient village site and trail. I find it inspiring, that we are that much the weather of the world.

A Sky Map of the City of Coldstream

Downtown Coldstream, on the valley bottom north of Kalamalka Lake,  is the hole in the centre of this map of clouds. The ribbed clouds below it are the eastern edge of its uplifting energy. The illuminated cloud in the foreground is related. It often hangs above Middleton Mountain, at the north end of Kalamalka Lake and the southern edge of Coldstream, at the confluence of the Coldstream and Priest valleys. Time and time again the pattern is repeated. When the illuminated cloud is being blown north (as it is here, slowly), it reforms within fifteen minutes. Similar mountains taking form in the air are evenly spaced behind it. What a beautiful map. What a beautiful dance of earth and sky.

Making Humans

On the shores of Kalamalka Lake there is an ancient village.

It’s so old it has been forgotten. The people who live there now don’t know that the land that called them, called others thousands of years ago. They don’t know the story of the giant wild rye along this old fence line.

They don’t know the stories in the stone of a people who drew their identity from the land, not from other people. They don’t know what the marmots who live in these cracked seabeds know, or why it might be important to live among them.

But this land, and these stories can still be read.

What is read in poetry and photography now, and conversations about nature, was once read as self, and I don’t mean the “I” of contemporary thought.

Some still read it that way. I do. I have learned that if it is possible to do so as a human, then definitions of humanity that do not accept the earth as part of the human social group, with humans being less than primary, are inhuman.

These are ancient stories. This does not mean they are obsolete.

They follow the only possible trail. Perhaps you see the stone fish below. Perhaps you see an escarpment.It means something when a pine enters a story like this and stays for a few hundred years, or humans enter it, as they once did, as we all do, and stay for thousands of years. The story is still there, whether it has human shape now, or not.

It matters that saskatoon bushes and oregon grape enter these stories and grow within them.

It matters that all of us have the same mind. That we are all in the same telling. It matters that this is not nature.

It matters that at heart we are not humans. “Human” is something different. That is a story we tell.

There are reasons to tell it. It is not, however, where we begin. And it is not where we end.

This is our archive. This is where we create ourselves again. This is rock.

Aerial Mysteries Over Coldstream

For a week now, a hole of air, either empty of cloud or filled with it distinctly from surrounding cloud, has formed over the city of Coldstream, close to the eastern end of Kalamalka Lake. It’s faint, but unmistakeable. The images below were taken over the previous three days, at different times of day. The area in question is in the middle of each image.

p1480101 p1480100p1480119 p1480106 p1480100 p1470708

The changes happen rapidly. What is empty can fill in a few minutes, and empty again in one, or the space can remain stable for hours. Is this the city projecting heat? If so, why just there? Is it a confluence of air patterns, meeting over the mouth of the lake? Is it a reflection of energies deep under the earth? How long has this been going on? Is it new? Is it old? Does it matter that the area beneath this hole in the sky was an ancient syilx village? Am I seeing a language that others can read easily? I don’t know. As I was wondering, this faint sun dog appeared, to the north…


Look at the cloud around it. It’s like the Aurora, made of ice. It lasted for two minutes, then was gone. It did not have a twin. Pretty amazing cloud we’ve been having! Don’t you love the sky?

Planet of Fire

This is no ordinary planet we live on. I think it’s best to walk outside and take a look …P1550050


There are many flames, new and old, in this photograph of Middleton Mountain in Coldstream: the spill of lava across the cap of the mountain, too hard for the glaciers to take it away completely, and which drops water onto the fir tree near the mountain’s crest, the rising sun itself, the autumn aspens in their yellow and gold and the choke cherries in autumn red, the dried wisps of the rest of the summer’s trees and grasses, burnt away, the sun caught within the dead chloroplasts of the grasses, bouncing back and forth and amplified, the sky on flame with light and turning blue from agitation, and that fir tree, which is water drawn into the sky by heat and the tree riding along with it and rusting into green flame. Under it all is the rock, cold now, but still directing water and light in the channels of its old flows, which came from the sea bed diving deep under the land and giving off pressurized steam that dissolved the rock and sent it up in flame into the sky.

How Could Anyone Want More Sun Than This?

The sun starts out as perfect as can be, burning the hydrogen of a star that shone before it and exploded long ago.


Out here, where other bits of that star accumulated in the same process that formed the sun — in the outer shell of the sun, shall we say — that hydrogen mixes with oxygen to form water, and blows around in the wind.

P1200618 It kind of swirls …

P1200635 That’s what a sun that is made out of water does …

P1200636All Photos Looking Over the Commonage Towards Coldstream, British Columbia

Other than just being beautiful, there’s a point here: when people put their attention to classifying plants closely, they realized a lot of things they had never known before, such as the similarity between saskatoons …

saskbarkSaskatoon Bark

… and apricots …


Apricot Bark

… and told a story that they were both within the Rose Family. Of this approach, a science of Botany was made, with all the benefits and understandings that flow from it. The sun that mixes with water and flows as cloud, however…

vinesSun Flowing Past a High Winter Vineyard, Bella Vista

… remains a thing of beauty only. It is the sun, moving water and energy through the landscape, completing, or extending, processes here that began 100,000 years ago in the sun’s core.

flockMigrating Cedar Waxwings Flashing up From Poplars

Random? Hardly. Just not human. Just the sun.