Cultural Blindness and Agricultural Practice

Culture is a powerful thing. Here is some earth, laid bare by a plow, in preparation for seeding in the spring. In the past, it has been used to grow tomatoes. This last year, it lay fallow, to recover.

In Canadian culture, this is an image of fruitfulness, taken at the most fruitful time of year. Enjoy it.

The only thing is, it’s not fruitful, it’s dead. Look at how this soil is nothing but congealed clay and sand. Living soil, that things grow in, is a complex environment of fungi, microbes, insects and dead and living plant material. This is just clay and sand.

And it started like this.


That’s how powerful culture is.

Gymnasts in the Lavender

Oh, hello.
It’s a thing. With legs like hers (she is, let’s say, about 7 centimetres from tip to tip ), you can jump from twig to twig, in three dimensional space. It’s not like a bee in the flowers, though. This is hunting.

There were four in this bush, hunting together. So, here’s the thing: there are regulations for protecting indigenous landscapes, for the planting of bunchgrasses, mostly. These improvements are welcome, especially in disturbed lands in housing developments, but when the mule deer are locked into them and eat all the wild flowers down to their roots, and it gets on the middle of August, the place is close to a desert. Planting lavender and  Russian sage helps, so does the dill in my garden, not to mention a bit of queen anne’s lace and some red orach, while we sort out how to make deer corridors, hack down the sagebrush, and replant the wild flowers, especially thistles and all the species  that used to grow along the borders of valley bottom wetlands that are no more. Our wetlands are our houses now. The survival of wasps, like these beautiful gymnasts, is up to us. “Wildness” does not come into question. That’s just White thinking, and we don’t need that any more. Or maybe just some wild lettuce. We could manage that.

Or just some smokebush. Look at this tiny wasp below. She likes smokebush.

And, hey, smokebush, that’s a pharmaceutical plant. We could do our lungs some good at the same time.

First Steps Towards the New Sun

Perspective matters.

Was that light playing on water? Is this, below?

They are one, but only when my body and mind are one. They are different at the same time. This difference is not to be dissected but entered. Here I am…


I am that body. The thing I have been trained to call “I” is a thing made out of these perceptions. In Canadian culture, such perceptions are called fanciful. I can’t help that. Here are the same leaves that have fallen on dry land.

The difference between the two visions of the leaves (in water and on land) is not the difference between water and the earth, but how a human body perceives that difference. They are visions. They are readings, not of the self or of the body, but of a spiritual presence. To read a mind, look here:


It requires the giving up of the self, that’s all. But then, the self is the only thing that stands between you and the reeds below, which is another manifestation of the play of water and light. You don’t have to become the reeds, or the tree or pond above, to be them. That is a fallacy that comes from reading books and living so much in light you are blind to the dark. It is the Canadian way, but, as I said, I can’t help that.


It is easier to enter a body in the world, if sight is not overly privileged. You have been trained to do just that, in the culture of the self, in the discipline of analytical observation which is the culture of the book.


You’ve been trained, in other words, as a book. This, for example, is a book.


So is this.


The ability to stop the world as it flows through you, to develop it…


… is what book culture calls creativity, which is also known as progress and urbanization (which is also known as civilization).


We all have potential for so much more. The pond below is not a narrative of ecosystem restoration but of complex relationships between forms of energy, including the energies of time and mass, as read by bodies. The solidity of the boulder below, and its combined weight and weightlessness, those are part of the way you know how to read the world. That’s you. It’s not creative, because it is an entering into a state of creativity, not its ownership by a self.


In book culture, creativity is defined as the capacity for the making of entirely new things in the world, although there is nothing new in the world unless you separate yourself from it and ignore what you already know. Look at the gap between willows in water …


… and the ones reflecting into the water.


They are the same in the world. You are the difference —and you are the bridge. As the year closes, I’m thinking of these things. I’m pondering the difference between identity and the self. I am meditating on creativity, not because I use the concept, but because the culture that has taken over the earth I live in does, and I find it a dangerous thing. Our children deserve it to be taken to task and clearly defined as the ghost it is. If I were to ask, how did I come to this place, that would be the book talking.


In the world, there is no question, and no book, only the opening that brought this moment here.


Questions, in other words, are the book talking — useful, for sure, but no more a universal tool than a hammer or a pair of pliers. They are extensions of the body, but not the body. The body doesn’t need wings to fly.


And now, well, now it’s early in the new sun.


There’s time, still, to set the book down for a moment, and be present … not to live in the present, as the book demands, but to be present, which is an entirely different thing.


Soon enough, you will be lost again to the world of selves, I’m sure, as will I. If I could make a wish for you, for this coming year, do, please go lightly there.

I’ll be here walking with you.


This discussion will be expanded over the next couple weeks.

Secret Weapon in the War Against the Weeds

Meet your darkest enemy. This plant is the end of any grassland it gets a hold in. Pretty soon, huge areas of grass are useless for anything, even to walk through.

The Asian Steppes Invade

Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, and the stink, whew! No wonder Attila the one kept moving West. Austria looked great compared to this.

Well, then humans kept moving West, and brought their old friend, Knapweed the Devil, along with them, and it took over, and yuck.

Environmental Control as a Form of Bankruptcy

When a development company goes bankrupt, what do they do with their vineyards? They just leave them piled up and unplanted in the gravel. Soon the knapweed moves in, because it loves bankruptcy, oh it so does, and here in North America it has no predators, so… lot’s of fun!

But there’s a hero in this tale. To the rescue, comes…

A Knight in Dullish Armour. Ta Da!

Ummm, can you see him there? He’s not very big. Here’s a closer look …

Knapweed Root Weevil

Introduced into the Okanagan, all the way from Central Asia, he’s wading into the field of slaughter.

And here he is, silhouetted against the sky, like a billboard advertising the end of chemical and mechanical control (doesn’t work), and a return to working with the earth …

There must be a million zillion acres of this stuff, ripe for a bit of weevily attention. I wish him well!