MIRACLE: Solo ARNICA (Arnica mollis), [click photo for next . . . ]
across from Krag Peak, Eagle Cap Wilderness . . .
DIVERSITY . . .
In the Alps, there is but one species of the beautiful
plant, a member of the Sunflower Family, that we call,
In the great and wild Wallowas of Northwest America, where
I'm presently focusing most of my fieldwork, there are at least
nine different species of Arnica, all adapted to different
elevations, different exposures, different degrees of
moisture, etc. It is very much like seeing an old friend
who has put one new clothes for every occasion.
I'll let you know when I have all the variations figured
out, and neatly sorted up a row. And when I have finished,
indeed, if ever, my meditation on the formative forces
generating this miracle of diversity.
In the mean time, I have Evelyn at Annie's Cafe in Richland,
where I have my little picture-poem Office, making what we're
calling ARNICA RUBBING VODKA, a healing topical for all
the many muscle and joint pains to which mountaineers are
prone, a recipe and practice I learned in Urnerland, home
of one very beautiful, solo, species of this wonderful
On the road in the Northwest of America.
Flowers are to the background green
of meadow and forest what a well-made poem
is to the constant chatter of sounds which
surrounds us. How strikingly beautiful they
are, these centers where essences converge.
“It is no longer the choice between violence
and non-violence in this world;
it’s non-violence or non-existence.”
from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s
last major address,
April 3rd, 1968,
One of the most persistent illusions of human consciousness is that it
is possible to come to peace by way of war. It is the tacit assumption of
this thought that conflict is inescapable—an idea that is largely hidden
under the surface of awareness, yet actively shapes our perception and
actions—that itself leads us to incessantly prepare for war. Yet, prepar-
ing for war is not like preparing for fire, or for a hurricane. In contrast
to the prudent readying for the inevitability of natural disaster, prepar-
ing for war has become itself a primary cause of war.
There are evidently only but two alternative paths: One follows the
drumbeat of leaders so lost that they are marching us straight off the
precipice of non-existence; The other path is the still largely untried,
and unknown path of peace.
Nowhere do these two paths cross; Nowhere do they meet.
The great and historic challenge before us, both individually and
collectively, is the demonstration of the necessity of this truth.
In an adverse cultural climate, with its perennial waste,
and war, and utterly mindless violence against the Earth,
it's good to mimic the alpine plants:—grow close to the ground,
keep a tight cushion of friends clustered around you, wear a coat
of densely woolly white hairs, and especially, send roots
through every crack and crevice down to deep, reliable
The miracle of intelligence is that it
does not require miracles.
CENTERS OF LEARNING
That which cannot be touched by force—Love, Intelligence,
Compassion—forms together the basic triangle at the center
of all learning.
Because they cannot be achieved by force,
they are best approached negatively, by taking away the
blocks that are in the way.
The task is clear: perfectly tuned octaves, fourths and fifths
you leave alone;
What you go after are the broken strings.
All Photographs & texts by Cliff Crego © 1999-2011 picture-poems.com