The Glacial Sky of Cascadia in the Morning

This is not an image of mountains, not of what rises or mounts, but what held against the ice that cut all else away.

The Coast Mountains

The ice is now air. Humans, bears,  martins,  squirrels, eagles and bobcats, to name a few, pass through it: the people of the ice. Nice.

Dawn on Earth

It is a wave breaking on a shore.P1240161
It is sifted by trees that hold the night within themselves.

dawning

The sun enters the water, and shines from there. (In the image below, it catches a tree that fell here before I was born, and has raised generations of trout in its weave.)P1240181

As the sun is filtered by the living trees over the shoulder of the forest, it lifts the water and the land together.

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During the day that follows, it is a memory, written in light.

wet2 This is when the wind carries the wave forward, through all the dimensions.wet

The water and the light flow with it, right through you.

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Where they become one is where you are. Only there. In all this universe. Earth creature, this is what your thinking looks like.

green

Right through dusk. Of the day and of the year.

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Into the night.

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Then it begins again.

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That is your mathematics, earth dweller.

P1230289That is your music.You who live where the sun and the water meet …

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… and become one.P1230277

If you understand that, or find yourself trying to understand that, or think that these words or this conception is poetry, or that these are images of nature or psychology, please go back …

P1240196 … and try again.P1240219

 

And again.

 

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And again.

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Please take your time.

 

 

The Secrets of Dawn

The blue of the sky divides into darkness and light.

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Then the sky separates. The light falls, then rises again from the Earth.
P2250624There are glimpses to the world within the clouds — now that light no longer obscures it.
P2250687Worlds blend with worlds.
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All this happens under a blue sun.P2250626

Then it is day. This is not day.

 

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.

Watching the Creation of the Universe

If you want warmth in the late winter, it’s best to leave the ice of the valley floor, pretty as it is.

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Sunrise on Okanagan Lake

Up high, it’s as warm as May. See how the light makes the stone splash into the air?grassandlichen

That’s ancient seabed, that is: settled, squashed, lifted up into the sky and, well, going further! And look at this…

P1140572Look how rain is etching that seabed! Sometimes the etching is horizontal, which is as mysterious as the grass etching the sky above. Sometimes it is vertical, which is gravity drawing rain down to the earth’s core (It never quite makes it but splashes off back to the stars [it never quite makes it there, either.]) Dizzying!

cliff Sometimes ancient clots of clay, washed out by ancient splashing water, are embedded in ancient muck, washed out by ancient splashing rain…gouge

Ancient Clay Clot with Weird Nonintuitive Etching

And isn’t that etching made by water lifted up by light? And isn’t that light created by gravity in the core of the sun — the same gravity that is drawing water into the earth’s heart? And aren’t these lichens living on the floor of that ancient sea and still catching photons (splashing droplets) of the sun after all these years …
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… and getting a little closer? It’s as if the years weren’t even there, or were being reversed. One way of looking at it is to say this is a story of time, but what is time? Space?

P1140554 Space Time

Those physicists did us no favour by not coming up with a word for this. Oh, wait. We had one: grass.

 

Might it all be a story of light, blossoming?

The Big Bang Waiting for a Bee

(Also known as Mock Orange… Einstein missed that step in his equations, I think.)

Might technical society’s insistence on the verities of time and space be a quaint ghost of the 17th century French court, which insisted on dramas that unfolded in something called real time?

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The Court of Versailles Lives On 

Ah, when time is written out of the equation (which is to say, written more deeply into it), the world becomes even more beautiful.

I Am the Mountain

Today, let’s go on a little journey to my home valley, the Similkameen. I’d like to show you the link between a part of the earth, my recent posts on photography and light, and how this blog came about as an exploration of the power within earth systems to generate, store and move energy. This is more than personal. Here’s the old Similkameen moon.

P1130273 Moon Setting Over the Shoulder of K Mountain

These photographs were taken from an orchard I was pruning in Keremeos. I was a child and learned the ways of the earth five miles to the east. What I want to show you today is consistent in both places. Here’s the view east to my home farm.

P1130325Lousy pictures, I know, but, hey, I was pruning. The pic is just good enough to show you  that in an environment like this the whole idea that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west is not immediately apparent. Here, this is the view to the North over the eastern shoulder of Puddin’head Mountain and the post-glacial flood chute leading to the Okanagan.
P1130302 See that? Same darned sunrise! What about to the south?

P1130326 Yup, same thing! Oh, and the moon? Well, the clouds shift this way and that, so a few seconds after I saw the moon above, this happened:

P1130305 See that? Moon’s going down, sun’s coming up (to the south!) and it’s doing so on the mountain itself, not in the sky. Now, just imagine Harold at 4 years of age, sitting in the crotch of a peach tree and learning about the world from a trickster valley like this… and contemplating this kind of stuff:

dalyCloud Shadows on Daly Mountain

See that? The mountains are the sky. Clouds skitter across the earth most everywhere, but not always in the air. When you look up to read the weather, you read the mountains. If you crane your head up to look at the atmosphere, not only are you risking hurting your neck but you’ll only see chopped up bits of blue and white (black and white at night). At no time do you get the idea that there is a dome of air above the earth, or an atmosphere around a nearly spherical planet: you get a river of light above a sky of stone. The moon shows itself and disappears at wildly different times, too. And what is the moon’s light? Why, a reflection of the sun.

P1130419Sunlight Reflecting off of the Cawston Creek Draw

Spots of light like this change by the minute.

When I was 5 years old I was sitting on a branch of a ponderosa pine tree, kicking me feet and watching the mountain (again.) My favourite spot was a grove of aspens trees high up above the farm. Every fall they turned bright yellow. I thought they were talking to me. I also thought it was the sun. The sun part was right. Well, it’s the wrong time of year for golden leaves, but here’s Young Harold’s grove of trees, a bit blurry, but, hey, it’s been half a century, right?

P1130420Aspens Among the Douglas Firs, Kobau Mountain

Notice how the shadows and light have changed places. In the Similkameen, the twists and turns of the valley, and the steepness of the valley walls, mean that different vertical faces get heated differently by the sun, and at different times. The result is wind, either from cold air flowing into the valley from an unheated slope or air shifting from one side of the valley to the other because of heating high up. If you’re thinking of Young Harold in his pine tree, remember that the branches are swaying and the needle brushes of the pine are scattering light in all directions as they move. After enough years of this, you’re going to start putting things together and coming up with a project about environmental energy harvesting using the power of the sun as it intersects with the forms and energies of the earth, and, presto, you have this blog. Not only that, you have this:

P1130423Clouds on Daly Mountain Again

The town of Keremeos remains in the shadow of K-Mountain. It’ll take awhile for that to change.

I’d like you to contemplate those clouds as a form of photography: light and shadow making patterns on a mineral plate. It’s just, well, ever-changing, that all. It’s not “fixed” in a single image. Here’s a form of photography that’s a bit more fixed in that sense, though:

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Macintosh Apple Trees 

I mean, aren’t trees the same thing as a photograph? Light strikes the earth and forms an image, that remains stable over time? Well, yeah, it grows and changes, but that’s where 12-year-old Harold comes in. Harold?

12-Year-Old Harold: I’m learning to prune apple trees this spring. My father is teaching me by putting me out among the trees and letting me figure it out on my own. It’s very frustrating.

But isn’t it a great way to learn? Think of the close attention you have to pay to how the trees are growing!

12-Year-Old Harold: Ask me in 44 years. Right now it’s just hard. 

It’s beautiful, though, and the branches are warm in the sun.

12-Year-Old Harold: Yup.

I’ve thought for years that that pruning was my first art form, as it was very sculptural, but I realized yesterday as the sun and the moon and the clouds played across the stone sky of the Similkameen that, really, it was a kind of physical photography, that I learned to walk through. Here’s some of that light glowing like the moon Puddin’Head Mountain, a big heap of basalt and shale over towards the ancient volcano at Crater Mountain.

P1130330I guess that with this kind of photography the developed image is in the mind of the observer. I guess that if you’re a kid there, you become the photograph. Well, that’s a human thing. You become the environment that raised you. It imprints itself on you and you become it. If I had been raised in a city, human-earth relationships would not be so vital for me, or I’d understand them cognitively and wouldn’t be out in Keremeos at 8 a.m. pruning on a February morning, watching the eagles catch those valley winds and soar almost a mile above me. That’s why I’ve been taking so many pictures of ice lately, taking the energy of this valley one further step.

Next: Ogopogo — a step further yet!