How to Travel in Time, Seriously: an Indigenous Journey

Well, to travel in time, you could just wait, like this stink bug on this mustard.

Here it is, three generations ago:

It’s blending in better now!

European thinking holds that we are now at the end of a year (a circuit of the earth around the sun), with life coming to fruition in death. That’s Celtic, really, and ancient. It is a powerful story that controls the way human minds and bodies interact with Earth.

Earth Creature, you know where to go here, because this is your body, and your mind. It looks like it’s “out there,” but that’s trick of consciousness. Don’t be fooled too much.

If you postulate time, you see it as self-evident that the seasons progress one from the other, in circuit. If you don’t build time into the system, then you move through the earth differently. Take a look at the snow buckwheat below. Note the variation in ripening.

The orange snow buckwheat bloomed in a dimension called “three months ago.”

The white individuals, especially those at the immediate bottom of the slope…

… are blooming now. That’s how it is in narrative time. Outside of time, in time-space, shall we say, they are blooming all at once, just in different dimensions. Western thought might call those micro-environments, or variations in a species. Earth thought would call them environments of time: rain capture, soil structure, snow melt, genetic variation, the gamut. In that sense, this wasp from 15 months ago is clambering through the snow buckwheat now.

By stepping between one and the other, by moving from the dimension of one plant to that of another, you move through that time. Western thought would call it space and memory. Note the high altitude lake, run through the houses of the city below, then filtered, now pumped high up here to irrigate a vineyard.

That’s part of Western thought’s attitude to time and space as well, sculpted for maximum use of machinery, although not maximum use of land, and is part of the picture, obviously. You can’t pick and choose. You get the whole thing.

 

I suspect that might all sound strange, so look here, if you will at an image of a little meadow of wheat grass, arrow-leafed balsam root, big sage and lots of weedy cheatgrass, in bloom.

Here, look again. Western reckoning places this dimension in parameters called June 7. Look how the cheatgrass, an invasive weed, is already red with Autumn, while the plants of 5,000 years ago are standing up to their waves.

Ah, you spotted the doe. She never left. Here she is. That’s her trail leading downhill to the corner of the vineyard fence…

… and uphill in the image I first showed you, from the same spot. 

That spot is a point of human presence in time. A dog would smell its way through this. When I start walking, time shifts, to reveal and hide its parameters and its dimensions. A hill moves as I move through the bodily shapes that form my sense of it, that push my body to where I have to go, from this …

… to this …

 

Note how the shifting of the hills has nothing to do with legal boundaries.

… to this …

 

… to this …

 

… and then to this…

… as I move through time. Note the deer trail. Today, I let it lead me, let the hills push me between their forms, accepted that the forms were my thoughts, and was swept uphill and to the west…

… and higher…

… following the deer trail the whole way …

… — the trail of the deer who were being swept in this direction by the land as well, as it matched their own bodies and their own minds. This deer is right here, right now, I realized…

…because it always present. It can be in no other place. And sure enough …

… we are in the same place.

I turned away, because driving them from their grazing was not in my interests. Keeping on the uphill path was. Again, I let the land guide me.

Because I have the ability, as an Earth creature, to see through space, that is to see form behind a screen of spring, or saskatoons and choke cherries, if you like, through my peripheral vision, that is, where I’m not even looking, I was seen in turn, and stepped just to the right for a better look…

Note that there’s something on the hill above me that his attention more than I do. A hawk perhaps. They follow wanderers, screaming, to see what flushes up in front of them, or me. I dunno, but…

… when he passed behind the Saskatoon and I passed higher up the hill so it would turn the earth to face me, he passed across time so that the earth would put the does in his site again — too early to approach, but early enough to keep them in mind. It’s not hard to find your way when you are the land.

Such a simple thing. Look at the wetland hiding behind the hill, home of bears and porcupine, woodpeckers, grouse and deer. It is a herd up there. One can expect herds from it, because it moves time across what Western thought calls the seasons. Look how green those trees are, watered by a fold in an old seabed 100,000,000 years old, while the land the earth turns to the sun is dry with invasive cheatgrass and the big sage that crowds in after cattle have over-grazed the earth.

As you would expect, it forces the deer off it. All that’s left is land humans have claimed for themselves. It’s a pretty spare life on the edge of time and space. Do you see that clump of Great Basin Giant Ryegrass at the edge of the gravel?

 

It’s more than at first meets the eye.

And at night, which is not a time but a dimension, a space, the coyotes go partying in the vineyard and then burst out.

Look. They are here right now.

Note the deer tracks entering from the left. The paths join here.

At all times they know where the deer are. They walk the same path. So do we, if we let the land walk us.

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.

Coyotes Dancing, You Come Too

Looks just like a pile of gravel, eh. Na, see those coyote tracks on the left?P2170696

These ones?P2170856

 

They come from several directions. Even from, sort of, this one (on the right.)P2170865

Now, what’s gravel to you or me isn’t gravel to a coyote. It’s an invitation.

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Bit of a scramble, really.

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And when you’re all up there, with all of your legs sorted out, what then?

P2170697

Dancing, by the looks of it. So, the next time you see a gravel pile in a gravel pit …

P2170867

… get up there and start dancing. That’s the coyote way. Great view, too.

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It was very polite of a property developer to put it there for us.

 

Forget That Jigsaw Puzzle

Follow game trails instead. Lots of fun! Sacred, too. To find an ancient village site, just follow the stories of the land. You’ll soon be home.P2030513

Painted Hills at a Secwepemc village site relinquished to the Hudson’s Bay Company in the long ago of the Bonaparte River Valley

Introduction to the Sixth Dimension

I’ve been talking about human bodies in the grassland, represented as lines, fields and houses. I think it’s very important at this point of human domination over a living planet to overturn the common human assumption that everyday human life is “reality”. It’s only a human reality, within a certain circumstance. One way to demonstrate this, is to show you some bodies that you might find out in the grasslands.

Human Body

house

Notice the eyes looking over the valley, and the stairs leading up to the sleeping area at the top of the head. Notice how weather is kept out, by both architecture and sprayed-on petroleum.

Island Body

p10106361These miniature earth bodies are spread throughout the grassland, where they act as concentrators of water, heat attractors and conservers, and animal shelter — pretty much as the earth as a whole. If you see this as a stone, look again. It is creating entirely alternate seasons on the grassland and extending the growing season by months. The earth was made suitable for life in the same way. If we did nothing more than strew a million of these on the grass of the Okanagan, we would be doing more positive for our valley than all the blue bag recycling programs in place today.

Time Body
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Yes, time is a body. We say that, actually: “A body of time.” In this case, it’s the tracks of a coyote heading up into the hills mid-afternoon today, about fifteen minutes before I trudged along. We could call this a “track”, but look again: the time of the coyote’s presence is here all at once. A dog would read that out of this scene. Dogs (and coyotes) pass through a landscape of time, extended for a few days into the past, all of which is immediately present in fine 4-D, although finely nuanced and layered. Dogs don’t notice. They kind of let their tongues hang out and lollygag along. 4-D perception is normal to them. It’s also normal to people like us, who are humans, but not through smell (we might smell but we don’t smell, if you get my drift). Smelling is what dogs do best. Humans see in 4-D by sight. We see this extension of time as a line of footprints, but only because we’re so darned used to it. It’s not a line; it’s a special dimension of space called time.

Tall Body

P1060539And here’s the thing: this lone, weather-battered saskatoon is another island in the grass. It is a body that other bodies take on to increase their bodily strength. Like the island of stone I showed you previously, it concentrates life, which departs it for the grass, and then comes back to it. No magpie or flicker gets from the top of the mountain to the bottom (and they love to make the trip over and over again, day in and day out) without stopping on these trees for a puff of breath. Hawks use some of them too. Very handy. A cool factoid: most of these bushes get started in the special wet environment that a stone island has created in the grass. Now, here’s a cool thing about saskatoon bodies and time (about 2 kilometres along the ridge line):

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To get to this body and the altitude it provides requires a 10 minute climb across 300 metres of rather steep 3-D space (and, remember, 3-D space is your body, dear human), or, and this is the cool part, it requires 300 metres of rather steep 3-D space to travel 10 minutes in time. If that seems obscure, ask a coyote. She’ll explain it.

Mound Body

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If you’re going to live where it’s cold, mounding your body up creates and stores heat and increases your growth. Notice that this is not a house. In fact, it’s not human at all, but it is an effective way of living in the grass, especially on a stone that is only habitable in the late winter and late fall. But don’t be fooled. The rain washing off of this stone, and the wind blowing over it, spread the spores and bodies of this moss across the entire soil surface, where it forms a thin version of the complex community you see here. That thin biological surface is the earth’s skin. The earth actually breathes through it here. If you break it, the earth breathes out, but not in. Not a good idea. Luckily the mound body is always on the stone, to rebuild broken skin. But it doesn’t have to be a mound…

Crack Body

P1050939If this moss on this cliff face looks like it’s in the intertidal zone, it is. It’s just that the tides here aren’t those of salt water, but of the rain that comes off of salt water, and the drought created by the drying effects of rained-out air falling from the volcanic arc to the west. Those are the seasons here, and they interchange far more often than a few times a year — if you live on the rocks, they change every time it rains, or every time the sun comes from behind a cloud, or dips into one. To survive in that, you need to be a creature of the rain. Hiding in the crack does the trick. You can block all the rain, plus you can get out of the sun. So, that’s three forms that moss takes: Mound Bodies, Flat Skin Bodies, and Crack Bodies. Sister lichen goes a few steps further, by building coral-like structures. Here we are on top of Turtle Mountain. There’s a sign up there that says this is the Northern Edge of the Great Basin Desert. I think the person who put it up must have been half asleep. This is not a desert. It’s more like arctic tundra than anything.

Rain Body

P1060009The way to get this beautiful is to live where not even a deer or a marmot will step on you, and especially not the porcupine with his big flappy feet or the badger, who has a thing about digging. For that, sheer bare rock is best. By taking this shape, and by joining together, bodies like this ensure that water does not pour off of the stone. These creatures might look like rock dwellers, but that’s not really true. They are rain dwellers. Again, not a human adaptation. Rain bodies sometimes take on other forms. Take a look:

p1050567

If you have a large variety of species of moss and lichens, each able to use water in specific ways and able to catch it at various angles and on various surfaces, and each responding differently to light, the entire system is resilient and able to quickly deal with any disturbance, such as this out-of-place alluvial stone that some kid must have carried up here in his pocket and, well, chucked.

Perching Body

orangeThe body I want to show you is not the beautiful orange lichen here, but what it indicates: the presence of this lichen indicates that the stone is covered in urine, because a bird or a marmot uses it as a perch. That means that the lichen is a urine body, but the stone is a combination of a 4-D Time Body and a Tall Body (filling the body space of a saskatoon bush). This is one of the versatilities of stone bodies: they fill various body-ecosystems, in a complex web. A lesson for humans is that they have bodies like that, too, which are diminished if they are all considered to be the same. A human society does not function if everyone is judged along the same lines, because humans are filling various body niches in society. It’s the same for stones. They are not just ‘stone’. That’s a human 3-D illusion commonly known as elementary science, which excels at dissecting complex bodily systems into simple parts. It’s a powerful system, but it misses something: this multi-niche function of bodies is a 5th Dimension. That’s a big thing to miss. Now, one more image for today might help with that.

Grass Body

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Mule deer, bunchgrass, sagebrush, hillside, all these are grass bodies. In fact, in the 5th Dimension, they are all one body. Not only that, but this complex dimension has added another dimension: movement.  That’s six.

More bodies tomorrow. I think it’s important to explore all of our bodies. I think it’ll help us all live in the grass.

Dogs and Humans: the Showdown

Here’s something cool about dogs.

P1060346Footprints in the Snow

Dogs follow edges. When you’re a dog, you don’t even think about it. You go for boundaries, and you stay there. Since the boundary in the above image is straight, the dog has gone straight along it. It’s not because the dog likes straight lines. He doesn’t. He likes edges, and if you put him on a hill, like one of the coyotes around these parts, he goes along the ridge lines of small gullies and canyons, follows the base of the gully itself, if it is clear of trees, and follows the contour of the land. In other words, he is following an energy curve. No need to think about it. It’s the most natural thing in the world. Now, humans, who learned to be humans from hanging around dogs, make use of lines, too.

P1060118Fencing Hell

Just not as well. Poor things.  They tried to pick it up, but weren’t really paying proper attention. You can’t blame them. They got the idea that lines were some kind of magic, that you could make a line around a piece of earth and a horse would stay there, because to a horse a line is uncrossable. The barbs on the wire are actually military technology, not for dogs or horses but for humans, who see a line and want to cross it. They don’t even think about it. To them, it’s the most natural thing in the world. And a pheasant? Ah, yes, they’re not even on the program. Where humans and dogs are, they go the other way, five minutes before or five minutes after. They don’t have to think about it, either. It just makes sense that way. Actually, it makes a lot of sense. Clear out, I say. Those things (dogs and humans) are dangerous.

P1060189How to Share a Landscape

So, you can see, perhaps, why dogs follow edges? Edges bend lines.

P1060194That means that if you track along a natural edge, you’re more likely to follow a track than cross it briefly.

P1060198 Thank God for Edges!

 Otherwise, human tracks are the ones you follow, because when you’re a dog you not only track edges but you follow, and because you’re a wolf that learned to be a dog by hanging around humans, you bend your energy line to the straight lines that are all that humans can manage, because they follow light, which moves in straight lines, rather than land, which moves like water.

P1060190Good Boy

And what do the humans like? Apart from defeating themselves with a simple wire, this kind of thing:

P1060085Anti-Human Defense Support (aka Fence Post)

And what is the defence against? Well, it’s not necessarily defence, that’s the thing. Remember: humans aren’t so good at lines. It’s more like offence. After all, this fence was put up around an apple orchard. Apple trees don’t escape. And it wasn’t to keep the deer out. They go over and under. And coyotes? Sorry, right under the wire. And pheasants? Over we go! In fact, the fence is useless except for one thing: it keeps humans out. And out of what? Aha, that’s the thing. It doesn’t keep them out of a line. They’re free to follow it and be a dog all they like, but not to cross it and be human (or a pheasant.) What is inside the fence is this most important thing:

P1050085A Field!

That’s what humans like. Nice two dimensional spaces: not lines but flat expanses that represent the human body in space. Humans can’t help themselves. Pay it no mind. Oh, and what are that darned coyote and those magpies doing in that human’s body! Well, that’s the thing isn’t it. Eeeyew. It’s like getting a wasp down your shirt, isn’t it. Well, that’s what happens when a human doesn’t occupy the space he claims. It’s not his. Line or field, space is social, and the social group involved is not just a human one, like it or not. That’s interesting, but it’s not my main point. My point is that the next time you catch yourself looking at a field as if it were a normal thing and part of the earth, stop for a moment, look your field in the eye and recognize it for what it is: something that humans make to represent themselves. They can’t help it. They might suck at the point of lines, but they do boundaries around two-dimensional space very well. They get so sure of themselves, they even do this:

P1060273Vineyard

They fill their bodies with lines, all of them straight and going nowhere. This is hardly the grounds for a system of economy that will lead to a healthy planet.

Tired of one and two dimensions? Well, come back tomorrow, for the strange and exciting story of what happens when humans move into full 3-D!