Tragedy in the Spring Snow

Our little herd of nine does had two fawns last year. The coyotes got one last week. This doe is now being very protective.

It’s hard, though. Forage is reduced by overgrazing, the orchards that maintained the deer are now blocked off for miles by fencing, the males are aggressively hunted, and coyotes, which can slip through the net of fences and feast on domestic dogs and cats, grow in numbers every year.

It’s called nature. It’s not. It’s an entirely new planet that follows new rules.

Big Ears for Big Sagebrush

The Big Sage blossoms with its scrubby flower stalks in the fall. There’s not great colour in them, but they do stick way up high. I’ve wondered about that often, with thoughts like this: “Hey, Big Sage, why oh why oh why?”
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It’s kind of, well, blah. “Maybe it’s a wind thing,” I thought. But, I dunno. Look what happens in February, when the sun comes in through cloud.p1480241

The brown flower stalks catch the evening sun coming into the gullies, while the plants do not. It’s pretty dramatic. Look at the slope above in the image below (to the left) and compare to the hotter slope to the right.p1480238

Is this sticking way up and turning copper in the late winter sun a way of getting the benefit of the hot slope without drying out as it does? Does this strategy bring spring months early to the seeds of the big sage? I dunno, but it does so for me.

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And the ladies, of course. Check out the ears. They are good at getting up above the sage.p1480454

Maybe the flower stalks are big sage ears? What are they listening for? Wind? Birds? The sun? Ah, if we could hear that sound.

The Land Speaks and We Listen

When the land presses energy out, it makes a trail. Water can follow that trail, or that trail can be picked up by shrubs and lifted to the air, as in the image below.
p1480103This old principle of the earth is called Dicht, or thickening. It is the earth’s way of distilling energy into form, as it does with the saskatoon bush below.
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It does the same with these mule deer does.p1480468

In their case, because they have great agility of movement and great endurance and strength, the Dichtung (thickening) that the land does to create them is very complex. Still, it is understandable. They are at this distance, because it is as far as they wish to go to be safe, given that this is the sunny slope and the snow is difficult everywhere else. They are on the ridge line, so they can watch both ways, with their escape route open. p1480469

I mean, why go to that shadier snow to the north?p1480436 These does are, in other words, following the same pressure of the land’s forms as creeks, ponds, and bushes do, and the fact that I found them here, by chance, is because I was following the same flows. What’s more, these flows are mapped out across the land by these does.p1480439

As anyone who knows this land of volcanic outcrops and sagebrush knows: if you don’t follow the deer trails, you’ll be retracing your steps. Follow the trail.

p1480238 But it works both ways. Here are the does fifteen minutes later. I’m far below by this time, looking back up the hill. You can see them grazing in a tight group, far tighter than when I first found them. This is the group they made in a defensive posture from me, in a position determined by my presence. It will slowly open out and shift across the grass.p1480521

And don’t think they aren’t still watching. Or that I’m not watching, too.
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We are all flowing together. None of us are flowing in any direction not given to us by the land. Well, the land and the sun.

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Shine on.

The Grasslands and Free Will

I saw something beautiful today. Want to see? Just follow my footsteps. Trudge trudge trudge. Here we go…

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Before the snow comes, the grass is dense. It sways in the wind. Just watch what happens.

It snows.

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Mule deer…
p1450573… make tracks in the snow. On a golf course, where there is nothing to guide them, they follow each other, in single file.

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On the grass itself, they let the grass show them the path.

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Then the wind comes.

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Then the wind keeps coming.

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There’s a lot of wind here. There’s nothing above us except the universe. It makes the wind. Nice.

That wind keeps coming.

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Well, the same happens to the grass.

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The bunchgrass.p1460278

It directs the wind, too, just like the mule deer. I promise, if you’re going to go walking now, you’re going to walk where there is the most wind, which is between the snow. Free will here means you have the free will to choose what has already been chosen for you, to flow.

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Spring’s growth is determined now, in this world of footsteps: footsteps of deer, and footsteps of the wind, and yours, if you like.

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The grass sculpts them all.

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And the wind sculpts the grass.

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This is the path.

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Ancestral Water Knowledge

Look at the shapes water freezes in when it freezes over pebbles.
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The pebbles create an image of themselves on the underside of the ice…

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which melting follows, and air, which re-freezes in gaseous shapes.p1420491

Gas is not uniform however. When it blows as wind and breaks the weak ice up, it slides it against itself in wind sheers. Water freezes to hold these shapes as well. Water is very accommodating.p1420449

These are solidified forms of what it does with light and wind, instead of cold and wind.p1420618

Still, of course, beautiful, which is the word we use in my language to indicate a physically-apprehended balance that is right for life.p1420613

It’s no surprise that life freezes in those watery patterns as well, or that it gives them back to water.
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It’s that kind of place.

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Water takes on the shape given it.

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It would be wrong to say it has no shape. It even has negative shape, that space where it is not. It is very accommodating. That is the nature of flow. That is a power in itself.

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This taking on of a shape, that is water. The substance water is made of was not water until it did. Before that, it was the stuff of old stars.

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Really.p1420578

Really.

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There was never a Big Bang. There was an opening of potential into itself.

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There is its folding back at its boundary, into its depths.

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Okanagan Lake Shore, Vernon

Our ancestors had words for this, which means so did we. We should talk. Here’s what they knew.

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Look at it closely. You know it too.

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The hard part is to forget what we don’t know, but we can do that together.

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So, what have your ancestors taught you about water? Hmmmm?

 

 

The Sun at Work

The sun reveals the shape of darkness.p1270324

That’s its work. With light, heat, radiation and even gravity, that’s what it does. The earth rises to it.

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Even when it falls.
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Movement is not necessary, but when we make it, as we have on the trail at Palouse Falls above, we make it in the sun, as darkness. Things are what they are.

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So are we. To be the sun is to give praise.