The littoral–where land and water meet and co-constitute each other–is murky:
the ocular opacity of water resplendent with vegetal, critter, and sedimentary life;
the temporal uncertainty of weather and affective inconsistencies of weathering;
the gurgling gradients of oxygenated exchange.
Here, clarity is complicated.
Rest is also murky. From where does it come and when will it be needed? How do we know when it’s gone? How do we get it back? Is it something we can share? It is something we can gift? Is there such a thing as “rested”?
On May 27, 2022 we gathered virtually in Littoral Listening to read rest into the final pages of Jamaica Kincaid’s story “At the bottom of the River,” soaking in what her land-water-land evocation has to offer. If you open the event link in the previous sentence you will be presented with a sunny photograph of a collection of blue flax flowers. The photos above are not quite so sunny. They were taken in a wet place, a place defined by its wetness, a place recently overwhelmed by it’s wetness.
This spring the Okanagan valley, which hosts and holds much of what the FEELed Lab does and is able to do, has also been wet. Wet and cool in fact. Usually, this is a dry place. It is a place marketed as sunny to summer tourists and with easy access to skiing destinations during the winter. The shoulder seasons are when the Land might rest in transition from one extreme to the other, soaking in snow melt or revivifying soils after the summer’s heat. These seasons are not marketed.
Maybe this cool wet spring is indicative of the valley taking a much needed rest.
This would be rest without rejuvenation, because this Land is not getting younger, it is folding. Folding in experience and learning, folding out encounters and teaching. Last year this watershed folded a devastating fire season atop a persistent pandemic. And the neighboring watershed, including the wet place pictured above, folded livelihood-threatening floods on top of that.
Maybe there is something here to be shared, learned, folded in/out.
Maybe we will meet again on this topic.
Hopefully in a shoulder season.