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Monday, July 1, 2013

The Okanagan Valley, BC June 2013

Our trip to my brother's place in Penticton in the Interior of British Columbia.  ( click on photos for full image slide show)

Well known as wine and orchard country, and much drier than the rainforests of the coast, the region is resplendent with lakes, hills, valleys and mountains that are dotted with prickly pear cactus, silver and purple sage bush and wild flowers. Pine and Spruce trees cover some hills while golden brown antelope grass covers the drier areas. The main lakes are Okanagan( meaning Big Head) and Skaha ( meaning either dog or horse depending on dialect perhaps).  The area is rich in the smokey fires of legends and myth and steeped in the spirituality of earth sacredness.  "Ogopogo" or Naitaka (lake demon)  swims the waters of the Okanagan and a few have seen him. I think he is related to the one in Loch Ness so perhaps "caverns measureless to man" and a "sunless sea" join the two lakes through the center of the earth.
Many ranches and little farms dot the sweeping landscape with a few small towns tucked away between shadow and light.  The weather and landscapes are dramatic and changeable with hot summers and cold winters.  There is good skiing at Apex mountain and local astronomers gather on Mount Kobo every year to stargaze.  The impressive Radio Observatory is near White Lake and sweeps the cosmos for extraterrestrial song and the hum of creation.  There is also a good fossil area in the White Lake Formation region for early Cenozoic vegetation. I found several large rocks with natures' graceful brushwork of carbonized ferns in the shale from 50 million years ago.  They are now sitting in my living room and on my deck garden!

Hills and Valleys, light and shadow

windswept sky

Sudden storms and illuminated landscapes
as seen from my brother's house

 House on the bluff

Lake Skaha at sunset

a rapt audience   "E.T we hear you!"

Vineyards and Orchards in fullness
"Joy to the world, all the boys and girls, ... BC has a mighty fine wine"

This prayer is part of a nine-day Navajo ritual called the Night Chant.

In beauty may I walk.
All day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons may I walk.

Beautifully will I possess again.
Beautifully birds . . .
Beautifully joyful birds

On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.
With dew about my feet may I walk.

A night in the forest

With beauty may I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.

With beauty all around me, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.

A Navajo Indian Prayer of the Second Day of the Night Chant (anonymous) 
dedicated to my nephew, David who graduated this June in keremeos and in honour of his own connection to the first nations.

These singers from the Similkameen Valley blessed the graduates.

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