The Great Artwork

This is what the present looks like. You can see how a 100,000,000 year old seabed, lifted into the sky by a collision with North America and silted up with the drift of a river running alongside a melting glacier is covered with life, the present state of the earth, and gathering rain to feed it.

The following is what time looks like. This is 10,000 years ago. You can see that the land has been scraped down to post-glacial rubble, contemporary life-giving water is piped across the land’s ancient face, the life is exclusively immigrant weeds, and houses have been erected on shelves of gravel taken from this slope and dumped on the hill. The goal is to re-create the moment when European cultures first stepped onto this human space, and claimed it as an art installation re-creating the moment when Homo sapiens first colonized post-glacial Europe.

It was an attempt to get past history. It is, as you can see, a fortress culture. This is the hill above my house. Millions of dollars were spent to create this bittersweet romantic artwork. Not a penny was spent to maintain the earth it relies on for its illusions.

That’s because the “wildness” of that space is one of the illusions of the artwork called time. What if we stopped looking?

Space: the Human Habitat

Snow looks white and cold. It looks like a cold carpet over the earth.


That’s the way a mammal thinks. A mammal has built itself around its own stove. To the creatures that don’t physically move and heat themselves in this landscape, some things are the same as movement. They teach hot-blooded mammals the story of being in the world. Look at these haws moving flower to fruit to seed to limb. Humans call this time.


Movement, from a human point of view, is movement in space. It takes time. Movement for a haw or a russian thistle (such as the one below) is movement in time. It crosses dimensions. It moves springtime, a dimension of heat, into the light and heat of the sun above the winter snow, where birds, committed to heat and movement (in their natural habitat, that’s to say) feed on summer and in the process scatter seeds…


… which embed in the cold, and begin to melt their way downwards into the dimension of growth, which humans call spring, and which is down below the snow.P2170116

The image below shows some grasses making this same transfer, but using this movement in time to move in space as well. Their target is not birds, as it is for the thistle, but rodents living in their tunnel cities under the snow, where it is warm like Palm Beach. Don’t think that the sun doesn’t pour through the snow. Sometimes it is amplified by it.


The sun can even melt the snow from below, when dark plant material catches it.


Time travel is good news for birds!

P2170191I turned up the colour on the following image of the melted-out deer footprint below so you could see better what lies below the snow on this grey day (It makes the snow look weird, though. Sorry.) That’s the world of spring time down there.


(Ugly pic, but you get the point. I hope!)

Above the snow, we’ll see it in a couple months. Down there, it is ongoing. That this season is called winter is a sign of human monodimensionality and human bondage to the human habitat of space.


Time rather escapes this species — until it stops moving, at least. Before that, it apprehends it as loss.


When it stops, though, it realizes it’s all there at once, in light.


Oh, eternity! humans say. No. It is now. Here is an image which makes it look like space and light (as images do)…


… here’s another space-light approximation of it, in what is called a distance (timespan) of 300 kilometres …


They’re really one. Similarly, as a result of human and mammalian bias, it’s easy to look at the image of the elm tree below and comment on how it has adapted to surviving the snow.


It does no such thing. It’s not separate from it, and its story is not about surfaces, anyway, but about breaking through them. P2170177It lives in multiple dimensions. So do humans. Conceptions of identity which stress single dimensions in that mix, such as the self-integrity of human identity, or even recreations of the world in its own self-portraits, all tangled up with the world as they can’t help but be …


… miss some real excitement. I mean, look at these larches (the needle-less trees below), eh!


Their lives are about being larches. From a human point of view, they’re about living within height and generations and successions.


But they’re not. They are a vast expanse of time not tied to individuality.

P2170082The stress on place that creates the story of individuality is one human ability, but the ability to see 10,000 years at once, or 10,000,000 years, in this moment, or the Big Bang unfolding, is also human, and it is lost with an undue stress at looking at surfaces, such as the surfaces of snow, or words. These are not words!

In organic systems, what would be random to a human intelligence, the capture of snow on tree limbs, is part of the presence in time of the tree. All of time. That a human notices it (such as me, on my better days), is a sign that the portrait is also human. Randomness, in other words, is a particular human signature.
P2170176 If you see randomness, be assured that a human was present, trying to make order. In the apple plantation below, arranged for machine operation, for example, it’s not the starlings who are random, although they look like that, don’t they, the little black nubbins!


Similarly, the following image does not just display a random accumulation of snowflakes on the face of an eroded hill but also the sun passing through the snow, heating the earth within and melting the snow away from there, while above, where humans la dee da with their cameras, it’s cold as being human. A good place for the big lugs. Right where they belong. Thinking that time is the process of walking.


The water which the movement of the sun from above the snow (in human space) to below it (in time) has melted from the snow in its cross-seasonal transit through the snow, enters the earth along with the sun (which heats the sol), then freezes with darkness. Eventually, it pushes the earth away and the snow with it.

Are the patterns random? No. They’re just not measurable by the means of identity concepts which are devoted to space not time and have the hardest darned time crossing dimensions. It is possible, though. You can look out to see within, for example.


You can be in the moment rather than in yourself.

You can be still.


Is that applicable? Can that be put to use? Of course, but not if you walk away. Then it’s just a surface. Here’s some surfaces for you! Like a human thumbprint beaming out to the stars!


Art and artifice can be made of surfaces, of course, because those are also humanly imaginable, in the same way the boundary around the image below is.


But ducks do it better.


Oh, humans, meet your betters!


Note: this post was an experiment in demonstrating some of the notions of identity I have been speaking about over the last two weeks. The theme will continue with a discussion of the creation of space-limited intelligence, its costs and benefits, as an introduction to the concept of creativity. I hope this post has been fun for you. It was fun for me!

Life at Yellowstone: Past and Present

Above the Yellowstone Hot Spot, deep in the caldera of the super volcano, Mammoth Hot Springs cover hundreds of acres of ground — just a tiny corner of the heat coming up with water through the broken stone.P2040951

The story told in scientific culture is one of hot water that flows through deep cracks and rises as superheated steam to make hot springs. I no longer think that’s quite it. Sometimes it helps to look up.


Look at that, eh. The grass is catching the same light — it, too, is heat. In fact, the age of the rock here, from mineralization through fire pines to grass, and the hues of light they attract and repel, their heat, so to speak, can be read, easily. This is time we’re looking at. Everything here is a hot spring, including the stone, including the waters, including the calcium carbonate, including the trees and grass and the singers …P2040513

… and the life colonizing the hot springs and giving them colour …


… are a weave of time, that all exists at once, and is still opening. In the caldera, the past is also present. Call this life. I do.

Water Brings Time to Life

…One of the moods of water, I suggested yesterday, is life. Here’s another:

sailing Okanagan Lake (Looking West towards Ewings Landing)

It still looks full of life. Now here is some of it on its way down to the lake…





P1690955 Yes, now instead of the blue of oxygen it has the green of cholorophylll. Here it is just metres from the lake.


Smooth Sumac

Still found inside life. Those rocks look like they’ve lost their water long ago. Life holds it. It slows it. The degree to which it does so, even when completely dried from coming through a winter, such as these sumac drupes on the shore of Kalamalka Lake…


… is another measure of the moods of water… in this case, its interface not with light or oxygen, but with time. Just as life can be seen wherever water is present, time can be seen in the organic compounds water crystallizes through the anti-entropy forces we call life.P1660803 In this case, the berries are dead but the seeds within them are alive. Nonetheless, it is the colour that speaks to us as life. In the lakeshore lichens below, we are drawn to the water pattern that life has solidified and held in time. P1660992Same with this oregon grape colony, spreading on a hill.

P1660987 A few years of water, recorded by life? Pretty impressive, but look at this below:p1240013

Okanagan Grassland Above Okanagan Lake

That’s six thousand years or so.


Life is a mood of water, I think we could say.. So is time. In fact, it would be fair to say that life is a mechanism of turning into time the flow of water, and of turning into matter water’s tendency to evaporate. In turn, water gives matter the ability to move, and that, too, is a way of manipulating time and space. So, not only is life a mood of water, and water a mood of life, but our eyes are able to measure these moods of water. We call it light, but it’s not really light we’re measuring.


We are seers of water and time.


Defying Gravity and Collecting Water for Free Through Time Travel

As long as not too great a mass of water is involved, surface tension is stronger than gravity (and stronger than adhesion). Take a look:

dropThis water ran down the twig (it did not adhere strongly) under the force of gravity, but instead of leaving the end of the twig, it formed an obloid (a drop), which will drop at the point at which gravity overcomes surface tension, but not before. If you gave it a shake, you would change the energy balance in favour of gravity. Now look again:



The same process is at work in this riparian zone in the grassland, and in the grass around it, although at differing stages in the cycle. The questions that intrigue me today are, can this process be used in reverse? (Yes, of course. Plants do it all the time, by moving water upwards through their stems.) What energy can be added to this grassland to increase flow? What energy can be added to decrease it? Where? Here?


If we could do that, we would not need reservoirs in the mountains or $70,000,000  price tags for improvements to water infrastructure.


We can do this. Note how time is a factor here: the bulrush that drew water up into the sun in the spring, summer and autumn …


Is now catching it. The fine ribbing on the cat tail leaves (the convex outward edges of the channels that drew water up all summer) provides a surface stronger than gravity, and stronger than the low pressure winter air or the weak, winter sun. The process has been reversed and gravity has been defied… not all at once, but in increments, built upon the foundation of the season before.

P1580475The water we’re observing here did not fall as rain or snow. It is frost, that condensed out of the air due to the texture of the plant surface and its different temperature gradient from the air. These are all factors that can be used to defy gravity…clear, if we look at it over time and from outside of human models. What are we waiting for? Sci-fi? Magic? Mumbo jumbo? Heck, even if we didn’t want to mess with gravity, we could harvest water. Look at how this squiggly willow does it.



Inspiring stuff!


It’s Good to Have Visitors

Large …P1260073 … and small.



I planted these flowers a year ago, to remember ones I had thirty years before that, and to keep that time alive, and the link, through it, to a woman who kept a garden better than I ever could. Look at the life my gesture brought!

detailbeetleLook at the view of the flower it led me to:


Is this not the art of time?


Worms at Work

For an invasive species, earthworms are pretty cool.P1240733 “Earthworms make soil,” people say.

P1240736 Hmmm.

P1240734 “Humans make art,” people say.

P1240749“People,” people say, “are going somewhere.” Ah, are those tire tracks in the muck?

P1240746“Worms,” people say, “aren’t conscious. Not like people are.”

P1240742That’s like asking a lawyer to define the purpose of the law. It’s like saying “worms aren’t humans.” Of course they aren’t, but look what they can do.

P1240738They can carve time! It doesn’t matter if they’re objective about it or not.

P1240751And they have five hearts! How cool is that! Here’s our artist laying down some more carved time.


The Picasso of Worms!