Honouring Snow

Ten centimetres of snow fell last night. The wet season has begun. The snow falls, it evaporates, it falls, it evaporates, it falls, it evaporates, and so on, etcetera, etcetera, et cet er a, as it cycles from fog to soil to fog to soil, to, well, whew, you get the idea. This is the real Okanagan.

The Next Dry Season’s Broccoli Stir-Fry …

…or a wet season sprout salad, just days away. Not compost.

This is the season of fruitfulness and growth. It’s not the end of something.  It’s the beginning. Yes, it’s the end of certain dreams of life in the desert …


In contemporary culture, a $25 plant like this can be sacrificed to the weather, rather than brought inside for the winter and kept warm.

… but those dreams are not about living here anyway. I’m remembering that forty years ago in the springtime, a Canadian Army major sold (well, pretty much gave) my father, a young German survivor of numerous Allied bombing attacks, his orchard. The major had bought the place to turn swords into ploughshares, along the old roman model of turning soldiers into men able to build lasting peace. That’s why, after ten hard years, when it was clear he wasn’t a farmer, the major passed the farm on to the son of a former enemy and joined the new Canadian peacekeeping army. At this time of year, when flags are saluted a bit too loudly and trumpets blown a bit too briskly, I’ll salute that man and that country that was so generous that it could dream of peace and brotherhood and that knew there was a kind of honour greater than nations and armies, and worked for it. I’ll remember this, too:

Abandoned Russian Graveyard

Former Belvedere Palace Ornamental Garden, Weimar. These are some of the 30,000,000 men and women who died to win the Second World War. I will remember them.

During East German times, when all the churches were turned into the International Peace Centres that eventually brought down the Wall that separated the East from the West, the palace was turned into a music school. The peace centres are gone now, except for one, in Leipzig, but the music school remains. Let’s go out and make music. That sounds about right. And let’s remember:

Parsley Flowers in the Snow

 We don’t remember the stalk. We remember the seed. And plant it. This is a planet of life. This is the season where it all begins. In that snow. Ask any child. They all know this.

Snow. We’re made of it.

Okanagan Falls

If you want peace, plant peace.


The Spirit of the Land

All the waiting was worth it. OK, sure, these royal gala apple trees are pruned hard at their tips to draw heavily fertilized water up past the weak fruiting wood below and are having a hard time settling into winter, but that doesn’t go for everyone. I got up to first snow and went for a daybreak walk in celebration. Not just me …

This ring-necked pheasant had the same idea. Dwarf apple trees are great for ring-necked pheasants. Don’t like the pesky writer up on the hill? Dodge into the next row.

And if the writer peers around the trees, for the third time, back and forth like tennis, then you do what you gotta do …

Run! Definitely a healthy response around such dangerous creatures. I was just happy to see this guy. It’s good to see that a few of them are still around. They represent a fine response to land-settlement interfaces and a powerful way to keep that porous and, besides, they are the spirit of farming in the Okanagan. What a perfect morning.

Fall: What’s Not to Love?

Autumn. It’s the beginning of the glory that is winter.

It’s About the Light!

Berry farm below Goose Lake, as the sun rises selectively.

And just in front of that? See what I mean?

Willow at Swan Lake

Morning light.

This is a time of year in which the sun actually moves, rapidly, as clouds release it and hide it, and as the earth turns away from it and towards it, at crazy angles. Well, at least that’s what the earth does with it. The results are intoxicating…

Ponderosa Pine and the Sun

Up close, where you can touch it. And it’s cool, like water! Who knew.

That’s the kind of planet it is. We’re made for this place. This is the time of year when every day just gets better and better.

Look Up! The Fires of Summer Are Over.

Now comes the season of life and mystery.

It’s so close, I can smell it on the air.