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Twin Falls At Rock Island State Park

via Twin Falls At Rock Island State Park

Phil offers various images for followers, including photography and graphic designs.

This images and video caught my eye, as I love waterfalls. I am in Spokane for a few days and only a few minutes walk from Spokane Falls. Below, I include videos (apologies for the grainy nature) I took of the falls on my walk the other day. I am struck by how nature surrounds and engulfs me.

Humans are part of nature. I experience this inness, if there is such a word, as rabbits, deer, coyotes, etc. inhabit the neighbourhood we live in. 20 years ago, I may have argued we were on the outskirts of Edmonton, but today that is not the case.

Despite the urban sprawl we experience, nature does not recognize boundaries the way we do. Boundaries exist in nature, but they are formed around natural structures e.g., mountain ranges, valleys, rivers, etc.

The second video is just above the first set of falls and shows part of the skyline and the site for Expo 74.


“I” [“No, no, there is no going back”]

I purchased Wendell Berry’s latest book, Our Only World, on Sunday at Auntie’s, a small, independent book store since 1978. If you live in or near or visit Spokane, it is a nice location with restaurants near by.

After my purchases, I realized I had not used one of his poems in some time. I chose this one. I think it might be easy to say this is a bleak poem, talking about death. In a literal way, that makes sense. I take it figuratively.

Jacques Derrida contended that in becoming who we are the previous “who” repeatedly dies, but leaves memories and traces to be recalled. I read this poem, similarly. Who I am is metaphorically a grave of memories and traces that belong to me, but I share in various ways with others and the world. The tree is me standing guard over those memories. Guard might be too protective. Instead, similar to a tree’s rings signifying its age and even various years’ conditions, the tree represents the memories and stories about my living.

The tree allows me to recount my story, but not as it happened. My stories contain gaps, uncertainties, and ambiguity. I repeatedly edit them, filling in blanks, recalling events, and forgetting other things. As I recount my stories, they form a fictional account of who I am, where I’ve been, when I thrived, and when I struggled, similar to the rings on that poetic tree.

No, no, there is no going back.

Less and less you are

that possibility you were.

More and more you have become

those lives and deaths

that have belonged to you.

You have become a sort of grave

containing much that was

and is no more in time, beloved

then, now, and always.

And so you have become a sort of tree

standing over the grave.

Now more than ever you can be

generous toward each day

that comes, young, to disappear

forever, and yet remain

unaging in the mind.

Every day you have less reason

not to give yourself away.


How to Regain Your Soul

I opened a poetry anthology to the index and this title jumped off the page. It has been an eventful week. I settled into Spokane including a place to lay my head this fall. When I come here, I find I feel I am in community. It was word-of-mouth that led me to the apartment I will have. One person told me to check with another who referred me to another and eventually the circle was complete.

When I am here, I drop some screen time with  no television. I turn my computer on and listen to CKUA the greatest little radio station in the world.

I need to settle into a regime now to tackle the reading, writing, and research that is around the corner. Gonzaga has excellent to a beautiful river walk to the Spokane Falls and Riverfront Park which I visited in its heyday. Spokane hosted the World’s Fair in 1974 and I was in Nelson BC then and came down with friends.

The river walk is a great place to let my brain relax, my mind to expand, and physically be invigorated. Last summer, as I walked, I found my poet’s voice and I am counting on that happening again over the next couple of weeks. I regain my soul in nature as William Stafford so eloquently puts it. When we got to Waterton, it was dragonflies over Red Rock Canyon that were my white butterflies.

Come down Canyon Creek trail on a summer afternoon

that one place where the valley floor opens out. You will see

the white butterflies. Because of the way shadows

come off those vertical rocks in the west, there are

shafts of sunlight hitting the river and

a deep long purple gorge straight ahead. Put down your pack.

Above, air sighs the pines. It was this way

when Rome was clanging, when Troy was being built,

when campfires lighted caves. The white butterflies dance

by the thousands in the still sunshine. Suddenly, anything

could happen to you. Your soul pulls toward the canyon

and then shines back through the white wings to be you again.

Red Rock Canyon

Spokane Falls

Kathy and I went for a walk last night. We walked from the Gonzaga campus to the base of the lower falls. It is about a 5 mile round trip (8 km for us Canadians). There are times you forget you are in a metropolitan area, with over 600, 000 inhabitants in greater Spokane, as you walk the paths. Part of the walk goes through Riverfront Park which was where Expo ’74 was held. I traveled with friends from Nelson BC in September 1974 to visit Spokane. We listened to the second Soviet-Canadian Super Series between the World Hockey Association team with Bobby Hull and Gordie Howe on the way back to Nelson. Spokane is a refuge for me bringing back some great memories.

Spokane is home to the Spokane First Nation a member of the Salish people. Later, when Europeans began to settle the area, it was a Hudson’s Bay Trading Post. The American government bought much of what is now Washington from the Hudson’s Bay Company.

In Salish, the falls are Aλxetk meaning fast or swift water.

These flood gates are above the upper falls. The river is running high with run off from the mountains and recent heavy rain.

We only walked a little ways from the flood gates and the water was beginning to run faster and we arrived at the top of the upper falls.

These are the upper falls. You can see one of the older buildings owned by the Washington Water Power Company and two bridges that crosses the river at various places. Some bridges are limited to pedestrian and bike traffic while others carry vehicles as well.

The power of the river was demonstrated with the log wedged solidly into place between two rocks at the base of the plummeting water.

Kathy captured this moment of colour as the water swirled around rocks and back on itself in the form of a green wave. You can see some of the fury of the water and a calmer look in the water.

Here is a view from below the upper falls. The upper falls split and go around an island of sorts, come back together, and form the lower falls.

In the midst of the power and fury of nature, is a sense of calmness. This is the base of a small stream that runs through Riverfront Park and a Zen garden in the park. It adds a sense of contrast to the walk. On one side, nature with its sound, might, and power and on the other side, the quiet of Zen influences.

This is one of the upper steps of the Zen stream in the park which stands in sharp contrast to…

to the falls. This is the other side of the island I mentioned above.

And finally, we reached the lower falls. It is hard to do them justice. This only captures a small element of their power.

Here is a mixture of light, shadows, the falls, and the mist rising up from them under the bridge and revealing a small rainbow.

Here I am striking a pirate’s pose and looking over at Willie Willy’s Rock which I want to attack. I have allies and he is pondering with me.

You cannot be serious man? You want me to risk life and limb for that? I think a mutiny is at hand. I think it is worthy and pirate-like to seek this reward…

There it is: Willy Willie’s Rock. Any pirate would want that! Right?

We met the ground squirrel on our way back. He was very cooperative and posed for pictures.

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