Earth, Water, Fire and Air

The fire smoke has lifted now, and as my mind and heart are clearing I feel it isn’t cause and effect so much as a resonant participation. We were #1 and #2 for the worst air quality in the world for well over a week in a thick soupy atmosphere made up of ash and fine particulate from all that had tragically burned along the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington to the south of us. A deadly mix on top of the Covid pandemic.

Here in our Vancouver condo we live on the second story of a small building. No one is above us, and it is wood-framed. The connection to the ground through the wood is present and active. But the ground itself feels depleted, for the city here seems to have drained its energies and left it empty, open to being poisoned or temporarily possessed.

The trees on the street help so much, and must be the hardest working trees in Vancouver. They not only have to endure sound vibration continually night and day due to traffic, they also survive constant light from the street lamps, so they don’t really ever rest till winter. It is all they have known, they grew up with it.

City heritage designations are now beginning to include trees as lasting features worth protecting. Trees hold an old history. They can’t tell us because their communication with one another is by roots, treetops, and other resonant cellular means and methods. All together and with all others of their kind they change colour. All together they let their leaves fall. All together they sleep the winter, their only time of rest. In spring, all together, in their distributed network, they bring out their buds, their delicate floral seeds, and then their great sturdy hard-working leaves unfurl, full grown green. Do their roots and dendrites hold each other beneath the sidewalk and road, around the conduits, by the sewer pipes, beneath the continually rumbling asphalt? They must, or I like to think that they do.

These city trees have stood with us through the years we have lived here, and they were standing for decades before that. Our great and noble mother trees - I salute you! I bow to you. I embrace you. I thank you. I will not forget you.


They say a 2nd wave of Covid is coming our way. Everyone goes back inside, like the sensitive octopus in the latest Netflix doc everyone is talking about, sliding back into our rocky cave nests before the striped pyjama sharks nose ominously in all the undersea crannies. The cooling refuge of deep dive undersea footage in My Octopus Teacher was a perfect fire smoke contrast.

Now’s not the time to cue sirens as the mistranslation meme below points out. I think it’s time for mermaids, listen for the mermaids.

We’ll be doing just that when we move to Saltspring Island - switching from hearing sirens to listening for mermaids in the lapping of the seawater. I know it’s trading one cave nest for another in this coming winter, but I have great hope that by spring events will have shuffled and the Covid threat will be downgraded somewhat. (Wishful thinking? Magical thinking?)

I was hard hit by the fire smoke this past week, and as it seeped through our unfiltered home we carried on, knowing we were powerless in the reality of climate crisis. How can we retrieve and repair and start fresh, as the old world is dying hard? Most of us are still living day to day but not daring to see the full picture that aggregates week to week, month to month. You might ask why I am writing about the fire smoke, it was so long ago? I might answer, it only lifted last week, right? Or has time blurred again?

Putting it together over time makes it all too clear why Greta stopped eating and stayed in her room before something shifted inside her and she was reborn as an inspiring modern-day Joan of Arc. Perhaps also a mermaid? I’ve heard that these sirens have the ability to shapeshift onto land.


Cleaning up my email inbox, and the prompt is cut off to say: “Preparing to move mess…” Oh dear! We are preparing to move, and it is a mess. Or is it a situation of “the medium is the mess…”?

Chaos theory perhaps? The leaping little shape-shifting quanta are having a field day. It is this, now it is that, too, in the same place at the same time. The best rationalization money can buy can’t keep up with simultaneity, and boyoboyoboy do we have plenty of simultaneity right now.

The only way out of paradox is simultaneity and we are barely equipped to deal with that in any real way. Our emotions get jammed up when our minds can’t process multiple contradictory inputs at the same time. We jam up, tune out, or drop away from the brink and go back to a comfy Newtonian cave to count out the days. But the calendar and clock are wavering as if submerged underwater, for energies like shifting sea life are now passing before, behind, and through. Those pearls that were his eyes never could really tell the time - that is only told by stars and seasons. Even the seasons are self-confusing - shifting the entire lives of so many species as they wave and shiver.

Time to see what’s already happening - in the place Milton so accurately created as he perceived it, in the place Blake recorded so faithfully. In their time they created and opened entirely new realms of being, giving access to these realms for those entering into this life centuries later.

Let’s just phase-shift to the next coming realm and get the imagination up and running. The old way is bankrupt, nothing more to give, that mine is closed for good. The imagination can now open realms built with components of the deep ancient past. The great ancient beings were anesthetized, but, like Sleeping Beauty, they were not dead by any means. Their sleep and restless dreams influenced all the poets and mystics. Deep undersea they slept and dreamt of the time of their return, a return that was foretold even earlier.

This whole transitional transformation won’t be measured. Only its effects can be known and measured. We can be ready like gymnasts and leapy dancers to make our way in agility and intuitive instinct to move and shift, or dart and duck, or to leap and strike, or expand into wide variants for distributed continuity. Let’s make it so!

We swim in abstract times (photo by James K-M)

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