Churn Creek consists of almost 37,000 hectares of protected land on the west bank of the Fraser river about 100 kilometers west of 100-Mile House. Closer to the river, the land is mostly covered with different grasses while Douglas fir trees dominate the higher elevations along with aspen and poplar. Several herds of bighorn sheep wander the area along with mule deer. It also has been home to Tsilhqot'in and Secwepemc First Nations people for at least 7000 years (Wikipedia).
For many, this kind of landscape offers significant healing. After the devastating loss of both his wife and daughter within a short period, Neil Peart describes such healing on a 55,000-mile motorcycle trip: “I travelled out of the darkest place a human being can come from and it was landscapes, highways, and wildlife that revitalized me – the timeless landscapes give your tiny existence a new perspective when you’re among things that are millions of years old.”
Ana Simeon submits the following short poem on the topic of the Evanescent and the Eternal, and how they play through nature and the human being:
Churn Creek Vespers
Ruach, your breath rises and falls*
In the ridges and folds of the sagebrush hills.
Churn Creek rushes, pure and cold, over rocks.
There will be feasting at the fish-drying camps tonight.
I sit cross-legged on the bare ground.
Midday heat lingers in the bunchgrass.
On the bench high above the Fraser,
Cliffs flush red, then crimson, then purple-grey.
A breeze stirs the grasses. Aspen whisper in the canopy.
Firs stand unmoved, rough and furrowed.
Inhale. Exhale. The breathing of the hills fills my chest.
Weight rests on weight, in the ancient embrace.
When the light flickers out and the night creatures come,
Let my breath join the breathing of the hills.
Let me become this land, be with you always;
Lover. Speck of dust. Witness. Child.
© Ana Simeon 2015
*ruach (f): breath, wind, spirit (Strong's Concordance)