Friday, October 15, 2010



I just found out today is Blog Action Day 2010  for Water.

Here in the Kootenays we are fortunate to be surrounded by water. Creeks, rivers, and mountain lakes so deep there are locomotives at the bottom and who's ever seen them? I live in Castlegar, a small town of 8,000 or so situated at the confluence of the Kootenay River, which is an extension of Kootenay Lake, and the mighty Columbia River whose headwaters are in the Canadian Rockies. A couple of years ago I was in Portland, Oregon, and was thrilled to get to see where the Columbia flows into the Pacific Ocean. We humans are funny creatures. So often we tend to think that whatever land or water mass is at hand belongs exclusively to us. Not so. It has been said the next great wars will be fought over water. I hope not. Because if that's true we're in big trouble around here.

Here, then, is a small sampling of pictures taken around Kootenay Lake and Slocan Lake.


We play in it

And near it

 Sometime we just admire it

We must never forget
we weren't the first people moved 
to leave our marks beside it

The First People were

 Finally, two poems of mine that have to do with water:


At night I hear coyote voices.
One starts and the rest join in
a harsh cacophony,
triumphant, dreadful baying.

The cat’s ears twitch and he curls
tighter, imagines he’s a snake,
transformed by trickster magic. 
I want to go outside and stand
beneath the vigilant moon
say it’s time to bring the river back,
to welcome the anadromous salmon
but the coyotes are silent again
and the river doesn't answer.

“water is the first world”
                         Susan Andrews Grace

How do I know it’s rain
and not some colony
of suicidal river moths

slamming against the glass
in a kamikaze raid
interrupted by skylight
ra ta tat tat
not plink
not splat

no dreary drums
for here it comes
I know the voice of rain
I speak its language

Less intimate with the ocean
and her many tongues
I wander the beach
watch waves worry the shore
like a rat-mouthed dog, still
hungry for so much more,
for this is how we began,
dragging ourselves from water,
primordial birth,
our first, triumphant breath.

I want to remember this:
white caps streaming
behind the waves they almost were,
each spray more intricate,
more convoluted than the last,
like a suite of veils brought out
for the inspection of a bride whose marriage
no one thinks will last.

Don’t speak—
the wind does the talking here
waits for the waves’ crash,
begins again.

If water is
the first world,
is wind the last?
Is rain?


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