PHOTO ESSAY, March 16, Part 2: Down by the river

See this for part I.

The difference only a couple of hundred feet elevation makes! Or maybe it’s the fact that the valley is sheltered from the wind? How do we know? We can do “controlled” experiments to discover which “variable” — altitude, or wind flow — is the crucial one (as if there’s any one category that’s “crucial”), but then any kind of framework we put around anything leaks. Does not really do the job. Even the Berlin wall fell. And so-called “nation states” — fought over, identified with, encroached upon, disputed, pretending to be solid — are a relatively new impermanent human framework. And in Nature, there are no closed systems. Period. It’s a “scientific dogma” that there are, of course, or we wouldn’t pretend do do experiments with “controls”!

Rather, everything leaks, all boundaries are permeable, not just eventually, but right now, depending on what it is that wants to go through them. Both radar and some types of particles go through walls. So do at least some ETs, from what I hear.

We really do need to explore the boundaries of our own “common sense,” how it forbids the “uncommon” from even making an appearance. And besides, have you ever noticed that in our so-called “common sense” we pretend to limit ourselves to the five external senses and thus have no senses in common? That’s nonsense, too. Ask anyone who has ever communed with another, via internal sensing, “from a distance.” Lovers. Soul mates. Parents. Healers. Gurus. We’ve all had that “uncanny” experience at least once, and probably many times, whether or not we remember. And often, what we can’t remember, is so because we could find no place for it, no strong, supposedly impermeable internal framework into which it is contoured to fit. So it gets denied. “Forgotten.” Gone into the shadowland where it lurks, waiting, for the light to shine.

But I digress. Let’s go back to the walk, where we left off. Now we’re walking downhill, and already the flora is changing. There’s more of it, more greening! More veriditas.

But wait, I want to explore one more focus that I honed in on, during the hill part of the walk. And that is the fact that so many tree beings, despite rocky beginnings, wherein something distorted their “normal” shape beyond all imaginings, go on to become straight and tall and true! How could that be? We tend to assume that human beings, once disfigured in childhood, are probably wounded forever, like an original sin that just won’t wash off. Not so, trees! Which means, probably not so us, either.

Here’s one with a difficult start that straightened into two straight trees.


You can tell when a person is “old.” Their skin, once so fresh and smooth, wrinkles, furrows. Likewise a tree. Bark starts peeling off. Woodpeckers make holes. Rot sets in.


Oh wow, but then, what’s this? What’s the blackened part? What’s the whitish part? I have no idea! But it does kinda remind me of “age spots.”


And of course, like humans, what happens to a tree does leave its traces. The smooth generic young ones turn into unique, distinctive old ones. Here’s one with long furrows. Reminds me of vertical lines between the eyes in many human foreheads. My own face, for one, had that vertical line even as a young child, so it’s not just worry that did it.


Okay, back to the bottomlands, its flora, and the river (actually a large stream), how it twists its way through space and time.


The little plants are coming up everywhere in the bottomlands, which in part verges on wetland. (Beige cattails from last year in the background.)


I wouldn’t walk out there without watching my feet. We do have poisonous snakes in InDiana — including water moccasins. I once watched a bunch of baby snakes writhing in the shallows of Griffy Lake next to shore. Held me spellbound. And was glad I wasn’t in the water!

Speaking of water, Shadow and I followed the path upstream for quite a while. I was noticing, as ever, how “debris” washes against downed trees, and creates a backwash — pooling water for fish to spawn — which eventually eats away at the shore, changing the course of the river, or splitting it into two or more branches. It reminds me of Wittgenstein’s remark, in On Certainty:

97. The mythology may change back into a state of flux, the river-bed of thoughts may shift. But I distinguish between the movement of the waters on the river-bed and the shift of the bed itself; though there is not a sharp division of the one from the other.

We think that our thoughts simply follow their natural course. We forget that they exist within a “framework,” or “structure,” the “bed” of the current’s flow. But the bed itself, the framework, the “control,” is not only permeable, it alters, and sometimes, drastically. I repeat, “there are no closed systems in nature.” Likewise, nor are any of us “closed systems,” though we’d like to think so; like to think we are independent agents, operating in a vacuum that we then fill, if we are able, and lucky, with desired “objects.”

Examples, from Sunday’s walk, of how debris flows change rivers:



And it begins . . .


Finally, I share this glorious veriditas photo, the complexities of pale green moss on an old downed tree.



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