Eagle Medicine

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blackhawk mar 12, 2014 riggins rainbow 3-14, 2014 044

Back through the mists of time, said Grandfather Eagle, to the little eaglet’s  of a second generation, all things in nature were in step with one another. But after a time, one of the life forms drove hard to get  ahead of all the others  and became what is known as human beings.   Unfortunately, the more distance they put between themselves and other organisms, their own intelligence was warped into a world where they thought they had control over everything they touched. So busy were they “being” they forgot to look anywhere except straight ahead.  Their self-absorption formed an arrogance that became a battleground where many fights became common as various beings forked into different cultures, each  believing they had the better answers to anything and everything than any of the others.

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Though the stars traced circles in the night skies far above their heads, right before their eyes, where they could always be seen, they forgot the message twinkling brightly in the heavens.   Ignoring the oracles circling from afar, humans continued their ways following straight lines in their every task. But the way of linear directions cause drastic edges which can create dangerous places to fatally fall over, unlike circular ways, with only curves to create safer passage.

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While humans followed nature and made silver eagles they called jets, they forgot to imitate the same flight path as prescribed by nature. These metal birds flew in straight lines to gain height, while brother and sister eagles circled around to ride thermals ever upwardly.

All things in nature have repeatable patterns and circuitous routes. Man separates himself from nature by getting out of sync with the circular motion, and is why he falls into such depths that turn into self-defeating paths. But  curvature in motion always leads back upon itself, with no routes to fall off of and into terrible results.  Eagles flight is only repetitious in motion as it never leads to a dead-end. It only offers elevation and a different revelation as it spirals progressively higher.

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So  to end his story to the eaglet’s, Grandfather Eagle spread his wings and showed them the roundness of his feathers that held ample air enough to enable flight.  Then he flapped each wing and jumped into the sky to fly around like the stars that light the darkness when the earth spins the spinning sun out of view.  This became his message, that all it takes to learn how to fly is to follow the examples written by the language of nature.  Truths discovered are simple to grasp, once revealed. But they matter little until they are discovered. Better not to have wings, than to have them and not use them. That is the point of discovery. Fly.

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To fly like eagles:

(figuratively  floating)

Gary Lane
Wapiti River Guides
http://www.doryfun.com

july 2014 8777

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Old Man Winter. Mother Earth. Why Humans Antropormorphize?

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chukar ember jan 6, 2013 kelly ck 077

It is a curious thing we humans do with many aspects of nature. Calling it “her” as if it can be either feminine or masculine to begin with, or giving elements outside ourselves any other attributes that are human like, is ironically only human nature. The fancy word “anthropormorphic” simply stands for the idea that humans attribute human characteristics to things that are not human.

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Mother Earth, Father Sun, Old Man Winter, Grandmother Ocean, Grandfather Time, just to get started on a few such examples.  We give female names to ships and storms, male names to deities and monsters, and animal names to describe weather conditions and various aspects of life situations in general.  March roars in like a lion, but goes out like a lamb; birds of a feather flock together; meaner than a hornets nest; making a mountain out of a molehill; straw that broke the camels back; raining cats and dogs; a crocodile smile; messier than a pigs sty, a fly in the ointment; …and on and on.

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While rafters seek gnarly whitewater runs, surfers pursue gargantuan big wave rides, and mountaineer’s go through hell to reach heavenly peaks, the emotions and aspirations encountered along the way are most often described in anthropomorphic terms.  A hippo of a wave, sliding down the dragons spine, or seeking an eagles view atop the world, all help give animation to our humanly  pursuits. We use these things to enliven our adventures.

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It seems our kind has a natural tendency to humanize everything. Perhaps it stems from some sort of deep-seated need to want to dominate nature.  How we manipulate our environment is prima facia evidence for that observation.

Is it that we cannot think of some other non-human metaphoric analogy?

At minimum, we seem only to better understand things by how they relate to us in our human centered world, by the feelings that are invoked.  To care for something, it must have some ability to care back, otherwise what would be the point?  What value is there if that “other” doesn’t care what we do?  Hopefully that aspect of human nature to give feelings to those things that cannot feel might be an internal mechanism in our DNA for us to not destroy things in the natural world. Our survival as a species depends on taking care of the things that nourish and sustain us. It is all in our own hands.

Protect the Earth

Fair Chase and Willful Blindness

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Do Animals Really Care About Fair Chase?  Dead is dead. Only survival matters before that.  Pursuit and manner of death is only significant to those who give chase. Human killers attain value and meaning by applying ethics and morals to their own behaviors when reducing other life forms to possession.

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It is these very ethics and morals that underscore major competition for various quarry that heavily influence the bio-politcs in our halls of bureaucracy  However, on a finite planet with limited carrrying capacities, sustainability of resource extraction and unlimited growth patterns is of far more concern than bickering between myopic user groups.

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Access is the name of the game for hunters and fishermen. In the caligraphy of who gets what, when, where, and how, it is ever-more rule books and regulations to meet the rising tide of interest. It’s all math in the end.

Ground zero to determine who gets what, and by what means, is the ethics we use to promote which voice gets listened to the most.  Morals is more about what guides us  as to which species deserve to live or die, especially when it comes to the predator-prey dance.  Calibrating importance is all relative to ones’s perspective and personal history.

In the animal world, just living another day is the main law of the jungle.  Which is fastest or more cunning is the critical factor to them.  To humans, what fundamentally matters is that there is always a viable population of something to optimally maintain. Otherwise, there will be nothing left to ethicise or moralize  over.

Unfortunately, ethics is the battle-club of the various user-group gladiators when fighting for a  bite from the only resource pie in town. While the science of wildlife management is about ecology and population dynamics, distribution of the pie is more related to sociology and the politics of consumption. Basically, ethics and morals is the dominionists architecture for the Manifest Destiny of man over nature.

As a conservationist, environmentalist, or hunter concerned about ethical behavior, there is an ever-present  danger to mount a high horse of morality.  It is too easy to fall into the jaws of the “holier-than-thou” personal value trap. Such a hubris high horse throws  a mean buck  to those with little tolerance for others and ends up with an ugly landing.

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Should a rifle killed elk during the rut be listed in Pope and Young?  Do we keep or release fish? Use bait or fly, single hook or treble? Hunt with gun or bow? Trap, snare, or poison? Trophy or meat hunt?  Float in, or jet?  Go by foot, horse, or atv? Allow survellience by plane or drone?   On and on.

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How much effort we exercise in using collaboration and cooperation when competing for limited resources, will help define our behavior and what agreements we can make as we go about extraction.  Methods we use to get what we want also matters, because magnitude of impact is highy varied by which type of big stick we use.

Each carries a different potential and variance in the severity of harvest regulations and seasonal length that can result.  Animal behavior is greatly modified by human endeavors  and equity between users is thus ripe for squeaky oil favoritism and much strife.

However, while we struggle to divvy up the resource, the bigger threat is always about what happens to the habitat. Every time we lose more ground, that reduces carrying capacities and essentially the very fish and wildlife resources we wish to save.  The pie never gets any bigger.

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Preindustrial people’s had a hard time appropriating land use and often undermined their own carrying capacities because of limited knowledge and tools. We don’t have that excuse with today’s sophistication, so to deny ecological science and continue depleting resources that also escalate climate change is a blantant and wilfull blindness to the future. Nature never loses sight. Only man’s arrogance and choice of apathy does that.

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It is far better to join forces to fight for habitat, clean air and water,  and to rein in our own numbers than to squabble over fairchase and have turf wars, while the hungry lions of industry are busy consuming the land. Such action is more like rowing upstream to keep from going over a waterfall when a giant Sequoia is falling toward your backside.

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As we try to keep our boat of natural resources right side up, perhaps we should pay closer attention to our science and saddle it with a more appropriate attitude:

TIPIS

Gary Lane
Wapiti River Guides
http://www.doryfun.com

 

 

Two Camps On The River

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When it comes to land management and issues that pertain to the natural world, there are two primary streams of thought when considering “wise use,” of our earthly  resources.  In one camp is preservation, in the other conservation. Both have a common goal of saving natural resources. However, each has a different perspective about how much of the various  resources get  used in the process of being saved.  Preservationists wish to save an area by restricting everything except viewing, including the sport of hunting, while conservationist wish to save it while allowing sustainable levels of animal  harvest.

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When boiled down, it becomes a matter of hunting verses non-hunting.  Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to animosities and  environmental battles that can divide the two camps (hunters vs anti-hunters) that could better be served for saving more areas and wildlife in the long run, by joining forces to resist the more extractive factors that consume far more of our natural resources.  It would be a shame to lose natural resources to unlimited extraction industries, by diversions that divide and conquer. Such is the case, in a world unwilling to control its own human numbers,  that is  ever-increasing the need for yet  more consumption on a finite planet.

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Moral fights about how many animals, or any at all that might get killed  is a diversion that works against the very fundamental natural resources being fought for.  On a planet with a limited carrying capacity, ups and downs of every natural resource is the law of nature.  Predator-prey relationships is the constant life and death struggle that defines existence, or not, for any species of plant or animal on this planet. Bottom line.   There is no escape from that condition.

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The interesting thing about having two camps on any  wild  river is that each has its own special beauty. And it would behoove us to visit each camp and appreciate the good qualities inherent in both, than to ravage one or the other. If we wish to save ourselves from ourselves, the challenge it to resist entrenchment and seek enchantment. The oxymoron of real magic in the land of enchantment, is the mystery that helps keep fantasy alive.  From mysticism to science, it is the carrot that keeps both going forward in pursuit of answers to the unknowable. Dream on with feet on the ground, or we will lose the very ground we stand on.

Wise-use is in the eye of the beholder, but the final results will be judged by nature.

Butterfly

Why is Solitude Important?

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chukar hunt oct 5, 2013 029

We enter and exit the world alone. It is all the time in-between, while we experience it, that affects how much joy we have from the perception of  our place in the everyday world.   Alone and aloneness are not the same thing. If we become attached too much to others or things to make us feel happy (psychologists call this “object referral,”) then without those stimulants we will feel distressed, depressed, and/or unhappy.

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An important  human goal is to become content when you spend time with only yourself.   Another rule of nature also applies when in pursuit of this basic goal:  use it or lose it.  If you wish to be happy more than sad or lonely, practice being content with the only one you are really with 24/7 as that person will always be your shadow.  So not to worry. It Is ok to talk to yourself.  After all, we do it all the time anyway, so it is more important to evaluate what we say to ourselves, than trying to hide our self-talk from others.

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So what do we need for purity of thought to hear only ourselves and not be bombarded by other voices and sounds that dilute our thinking? Solitude, is the simple answer. It is the fundamental place where we can exercise our ability in coping with ourselves.   Anywhere you can go to be totally alone, without the distractions of other people, is getting harder to find these days. Thus, it is even more important to find  where only your voice can be heard, and your mind free of chatter and clutter of other humans.

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Solitude allows us to practice enjoying life experience in a more purified form. unsanitized, undiluted, unadulterated, untechnologicalized, and back to basics. Cell phones and any computerized technology when used to extremes turn us into conditioned zombies. We lose ourselves to become the machines that dominate our lives. If you find yourself foaming at the mouth when you can’t find your phone, or the internet it down, or being digitally dis-connected to someone or some thing has been shut down, then you are most likely addicted to technology.

Recent studies show that a big problem with always being hooked up to our high-tech gadgets is that our attention is divided between the world of the people we are with and this other reality – the place of digital connections that only simulate being plugged in to others.  As we walk the streets with our head down, absorbed by tiny screens and buttons, the human next to us is not on our radar, despite being only inches away.  Why do we favor such connections, or dis-connections?  Could it be akin to comparing life in the city where people can hide in the crowd, while people in small towns know everyone else’s business and can’t escape the gossipy grapevine?  Privacy is a valuable thing.

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In our digital world, everyone, town or city, can hide from real world interactions. We can be free to say things we wouldn’t say normally face to face. The conversation is changed when we use technology to communicate.  People won’t invest much in a conversation when knowing that at any moment the person you are talking with will be interrupted by someone else trying to connect with you by the intrusion of that cell phone ringer.

Thus, our communications with people become more surface, and less depth where more of the meaning of what our human being-ness resides.  And if we continue to ignore our own inner depths, loneliness will creep into dominating our life and therefore impact negatively our real happiness.

What is the answer to this dilemma? How about a place to find some solitude for a remedy to being disconnected. Connecting back to self, will help you appreciate the world and be content being alone, for in reality you are never really all alone. In nature, many things will talk to you if you take the time to tune in and listen. The burbling, gurgling streams, the chirp and chatter of  otter, eagle and chipmunk, just to name a few. Solitude in nature is where nature speaks loudest. Being solo in the wilds allows a person to hear what was intended for humans to contemplate without distraction. Birth and death are natural, but in-between we get bombarded with many distractions to keep us from appreciating the value of nature and why we are here. What is more important, the illusion of being connected to everything by our contraptions, or the reality of being truly connected by how nature connects us without such high technology?

No telephones, just a call from the wilderness. Will you answer it?

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Or make your own call, and contact the Wapiti Clan at 208:628-3523 and we will deliver you unto solitude.

The Beauty of a Circle

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Jack’s send off ceremony was held on Oct 13, 2013 on the Salmon River, ten miles upriver, at the giant eddy at Spring Bar Launch and Campsite.  This was and continues to be an ancient Nez Perce place of importance, but now more of a bi-cultural mixing grounds where all those who truly love this place often gather.

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After ending our sacred boat circles at the Spring Bar Eddy on the Salmon River, in tribute to our passing river friend Jack Kappas, the power of circular motion continued on.  I learned later that while a few people shared more stories around a shore side campfire after our more official ceremony, other friends were fishing below the sacred eddy as their chosen way of extending memories. They hooped and hollered when they caught 5 fish, as they were listening softly to ipod music, Jack would have liked, and felt his help urging steelhead to bite their lines, was with them.

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In addition, when Charlie and Lesile headed homeward, they spotted a bald eagle sitting on the rocks at Hippie Beach, which then flew upriver towards Spring Bar. They too felt like it was Jack heading back upriver again, keeping an eagle eye on the river he loved and friends who loved him. Perhaps that eagle’s flight was part of the help for those fishermen upriver and their prized steelhead.

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The day after our memorial three of us (Kristin, Barb, and me)  that were also close friends with Jack, gave his  “Uncle Ernie”, a  tour of the canyon and showed him a few of Jack’s favorite places.  He felt bad that he had never visited our area to take advantage of Jack’s many invites to get him on the river. But, we assured him he was now here and fulfilling that need, all the same, though in different form, Jack would be happy.

Before we left the canyon we had one more final tribute to pay, as the two girls forgot to get Vic’s (Jack’s favorite chocolate lab ) hair and a few fragmented bones that Jack had saved after his dog  drowned in the Salmon River, and I forgot my drum for our original ceremony, so we gathered at the side of the sacred eddy to complete or intended circle of both in a special riverside ceremony.

After entering Vic to the river, then some drumming with three last solitary beats, one each for the 3 ceremonial  boat circles, as Nez Perce consider that number sacred, ending with one moment of silence. Astonishingly, but not surprisingly,  a fish jumped near where Vic had been entered to re-join Jack.  It reminded me of a favorite  quote: “Silence is the voice of the Great Mystery” and how mystery permeates everything in nature.

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A couple of days later I took Charlie fishing upriver, and we had a wonderful day on the water. We shared many stories, about Jack, other river friends, and a gamut of subjects. Kirk was also fishing below us, and I had to tell Charlie about some “Wapiti Moments” that Kirk and I had on the Grande Ronde years ago, along with the original 5 (including Jack) of us who attended the ground-zero salmon and dam breaching hearings in Lewiston years ago.

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The day was long and we did not see Kirk again until end of the day when we both arrived at the ramp about the same time. the three of us shared more stories about Jack, those crazy “wapiti moments” (when things go south, and ingenuity kicks in for survival) and other pertinent things that tie river people together, especially this special  place in the canyon.  We all have  our own life circles and stories, and as we ended our fishing day united at the ramp from our separate loops, did we yet come full circle again as the sun slowly set into the far beyond.  We all had smiles on our faces, just as the ancients smiled down on us. Knowing all the while, with each new day, all  those smiles will soon be returning.

Great beauty is truly found in the circle.

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Erosion is the way of nature.

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Roll on river, roll on.

Cadillac Tar Sands – Megaloads & Scenic Rivers

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Like water, oil runs uphill towards money and not far behind it is rude and crude corporatocracy on the chase at all costs. No obstacle seems too large for big oil’s search for the black gold. No rules too big to break, as megaloads push north for the Canadian Tar Sands along Idaho’s  beautiful Clearwater & Lochsa River waterway. How quick the loss of memory about how the Nez Perce befriended and helped Lewis & Clark down this magnificent drainage in 1805 on the old Nez Perce trail. Yet today, that same trail, now Highway 12 through reservation lands  is taken for granted by conglomerated giants of industry for access to the new pot of gold, regardless of the needs and interests of the Nez Perce people.

This same avarice was the motivation behind early gold miners quick to trespass into Nez Perce lands after being supposedly protected by the 1855 Treaty. It is no mystery why land and boundary disputes soon arose and morphed into new treaty negotiations with aboriginals in an attempt  to reduce the size of Nez Perce reservation lands.  This led eight years later to the 1863 treaty that was not a fair transaction from the get go and eventually escalated to the epic saga of Chief Joseph and the War of 1877.

Not much seems to have changed over the years. Now, in 2013 The take-over of Highway 12 by Corporatocracy is akin to the 1863 Steal Treaty, as certain historians and Nimiipuu people refer to it, when the US Gov’t grabbed Nez Perce lands by the standard instrument (treaty) used to fulcrum title to native lands.  Our republic’s legacy of breached treaties and repeated betrayals is the nefarious way the west was won.  Early European sprawl used the  doctrine of Manifest Destiny and god sanctioned dominion over native people and the natural world, as the Christian justification for spreading roots and usurping control. 

So in a country gained by lawlessness and coercion, yet  brags about being a democracy, while also having a double system of justice, one for the elites and one for the commoner, what else would one expect in  a land consumed by  such historic hypocrisy, unbalanced disparity, and ruthless genocide?

The latest push by the megaloads up Highway 12, in ignorance of consultation with federal and domestic sovereigns, is yet another example of running rough-shod over communities of people with the industrial nose stuck high in the sky and snorting into the air the snot of arrogance and superiority.

To claim that a river corridor has enough beauty to give it wild and scenic status, then treat it as if an ugly step sister, is like giving someone a gun for protection, but not giving them any bullets.  What use are designations, if rules used to established and protect these values  are ignored and not enforced?  Part of the reason the white man gained an early  reputation of having a forked tongue, is that they often failed to walk their talk.

In an anti-federal state like Idaho, our leaders like to stir the states rights and privatization pot with a forked stick to match their tongues when it comes to scientific truths about natural resources and land use practices, along with  their inept social integrity and dishonor in dealing with treaty obligations.    Responsible negotiations with Domestic Sovereigns?  What be that? Scorched Earth and Acculturation is still alive and well in Idaho.  Only now, authoritative policies circumscribe an even larger circle of people, trying to herd them into the center for better control, often by questionable and illegal means.

With a world view of dominion over nature, our culture sets about trying to control nature, but ends up mostly breaking down and fragmenting various ecological niches, which then requires looking for alternative ways to fix them. From endangered salmon to greenhouse gases and extreme carbon footprints,  if lessons could  ever be learned from history and native cultures world view to co-exist within  a more harmonic framework of community-connections to all nature, instead of totalitarian attitudes about keeping it controlled and reined in for selfish gain,  the world would be a better place for it.

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But, elites have a good way of convincing the commoners that they have their best interest at heart, yet are mostly out of touch with reality of ground truths pertaining to the natural economy and ultimate carrying capacities. They revel in their personal privilege while simultaneously escaping responsibility for exhausting and polluting most natural resources in the process of accumulating exponential wealth. This drives the compound interest of environmental degradation debt ever skyward and closer yet to the edge of no-return. (the humpty dumpty effect – as proven over and over  again by many great societies of the past). Once broken, it is difficult to put back together again, and on a finite planet you can’t just always expect to find good solutions over the next hill, because it may be the last one.  

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 Small changes happening incrementally may give the false impression little things don’t matter. But collectively, through time, all grass eventually turns to brown, though it happens too slow to see until it all finally makes the transformation.

  Stand together

 “It only takes one rock to start an avalanche.”

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