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  • Writer's pictureMetta


Weather. This is one of the five fundamental factors for waging peace from the Art of War.

Weather can also be considered looking at universal rhythms.

One of the most critical things to do is to look at patterns.

I’m in the desert, in Canyonlands. High elevation, arid, and plants are on the verge of spring.

We have had bad weather sweep through - it’s happening across the country. There was an atmospheric river in California, that was still winding out as I left for Nevada. I traveled through heavy rain on the way to the airport.

One of my internal weather patterns: I do feel conflict in taking an airplane in terms of carbon impact. And yet this means I’m meeting with two friends I haven’t been able to see in person for years, especially with the impact of the pandemic. One of my friends sees me in a way I can hardly describe, she just seems to look inside me and know things, and it matters a great deal to me. I see the ways I’ve built a kind of careful protection around myself, including going through so many changes in physical transition and dealing with a lot of projections of other people. It’s disarming to have a friend that sees me so clearly and cares so much for my well-being.

I see a pattern of conflict over decisions I make every day about harming, non-harming. This morning, I put my hand next to a footprint of a Brontosaurus that had been preserved in the rock. I wondered if all I will leave behind forever is ziplock bags.

The house next door has a huge Trump sign. I feel the impact of that weather - a wave of disinformation and hate that exists towards me and many other people. That weather.

But I don’t want to exist in my own personal weather pattern of reactivity. This is part of why I am reading the Art of War. I would like to be in more flow, the ability to move and react when necessary but not being in a state of constant reactivity.

I feel the impact of the changing climate. Lake Powell has low water. I see the Glen Canyon dam that was built that blocks a holy canyon to create the lakes. The huge power lines cutting across the canyon next to Page Arizona. The Colorado river flowing through. A river that is always changing, new water flowing through, and also a living being, ancient. A whole landscape cut and shaped by moving water - fast and slow - seasonal.

The contrast between the fascism that is and climate denial and diminishing water here. I was not that far from here more than a year ago in the fall and it was dangerously hot. I feel that weather.

I went to lower Antelope canyon this morning and saw the sandstone that had been carved by all the water into unfurling shapes. In the morning light, it was like being inside a living being. But all things are alive in some way. If all of my connection to all around me was intact, I would be feeling the reverberations of connection and life around me at all times, all the time.

There has been snow, snow on the great rock formations here in Canyonlands.

There is still snow on the mountain called “Navajo Mountain” by colonizers. The name here from the Navajo people is Naatsisʼáán ("Earth Head" or "Pollen Mountain") - and the mountain is important in their cosmology and origins. Snow is also on other distant landscape formations. Here I have watched the ebb and flow of the dusting of snow, the white powder across the distant landscape then sublimating in the sunshine.

If you use your eye sense doors (not everyone does) it is possible to see incredibly far in every direction, other than the large rock formation to one side. As a result, I’ve been able to watch patches of rain falling at a distance, moving through, and snow falling at a distance, moving through.

Icy wind continues to blow day after day this week. I’ve been watching the patterns of the light across the desert since we got here - the ebb and flow and direction of light and how the landscape changes through the day with the changing light. I intend to go out in the cold to see all the stars so visible here at night when it is clear.

I’ve been interacting with the desert plants. Learning what is here. It’s a slow journey of relationship - it includes identification and study, but it is more about relationship. Trying to build back a connection that was broken from me a long time ago in terms of direct communication. I started working with Mugwort previous to my trip and it is really talking, but it is taking longer with other plants. Which is ok, because it is like we are long-separated relatives and it would be rude for me to just assume friendship or a rapport. It is relationship building. Today I was talking more with the Mormon Tea plant (Tł’ohozihii name in Navajo). It will take a while. I had some intuitive feelings coming up as a went around picking some of the branches, making sure to only take a small number in very different places, carefully with respect. This morning something was glowing green as the sun came up and I can’t figure out yet what the plant is. Lots of conversation. There was one plant I looked and just got a sense of warning from it, I’m not sure what it is yet.

These are common names, and not original names from the land:

  • Buffalo Berry - berries were used in cooking with Buffalo meat

  • Mormon Tea - chew a branch as a decongestant, many other uses

  • Cholla cactus - all kinds of medicine, including from flowers and sap

  • Mesquite seed pods - the important seeds for nourishment

  • Wooly locoweed - gorgeous purple flowers but a legume that should not be eaten because it will do massive physical damage

  • I’m watching plants emerge, flowers, and identifying more as I go along

As we go on hikes and travel, the seasons change because of elevation. From high up along the top of a rock formation where it is still deep winter and no signs of spring, to a sheltered area safe from the wind that was warm in the sun that had maidenhair ferns tucked away under a rock ledge and surrounded by emerging wildflowers. To the yard here where I see some new shoots of green and the signs of flowers to come. So I’m watching these patterns.

I showed a friend how to let oxygen work for you when making a fire, there is a way the air moves and “pulls” as air expands and things combust. It’s a way of moving with the firewood, the air, the fire, a whole bunch of conditions. Patterns.

Practicing using a Moxibustion stick, and working with energy flow in the body. That weather as well. Feeling the deep warmth of the stick as I use it on important acupuncture points. The incredible knowledge in multiple places in the globe on the use of Mugwort, a powerful plant.

Patterns. Noticing patterns around the plants, elevation, weather.

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