Ming the Mechanic:
The Big Here

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 The Big Here2006-07-15 17:57
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picture by Flemming Funch

Kevin Kelly has written an excellent essay, suggesting that one develops a keep sense of where one is. Where you are, what the characteristics of that place is, and how it is tied into the bigger systems that surround it, natural or man-made.
You live in the big here. Wherever you live, your tiny spot is deeply intertwined within a larger place, imbedded fractal-like into a whole system called a watershed, which is itself integrated with other watersheds into a tightly interdependent biome. At the ultimate level, your home is a cell in an organism called a planet. All these levels interconnect. What do you know about the dynamics of this larger system around you? Most of us are ignorant of this matrix. But it is the biggest interactive game there is. Hacking it is both fun and vital.
Most of us are probably painfully unaware of how the bigger system around us works. I'm not even sure I really know what a watershed is. As an example of stuff one ought to be aware of, Kelly points to a watershed awareness questionare, originally created 30 years ago by Peter Warshall, and improved a bit since then. Here are some of the questions:
1) Point north.

2) What time is sunset today?

3) Trace the water you drink from rainfall to your tap.

4) When you flush, where do the solids go? What happens to the waste water?

5) How many feet above sea level are you?

6) What spring wildflower is consistently among the first to bloom here?

7) How far do you have to travel before you reach a different watershed? Can you draw the boundaries of yours?

8) Is the soil under your feet, more clay, sand, rock or silt?

9) Before your tribe lived here, what did the previous inhabitants eat and how did they sustain themselves?

10) Name five native edible plants in your neighborhood and the season(s) they are available.

11) From what direction do storms generally come?

12) Where does your garbage go?

13) How many people live in your watershed?

14) Who uses the paper/plastic you recycle from your neighborhood?

15) Point to where the sun sets on the equinox. How about sunrise on the summer solstice?
I can answer only a couple of those questions. ..OK, now I've looked up what a watershed is. I'm in Toulouse, which is a relatively low flat area 100km north of the Pyrenées, in the middle between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. There's a big river going through the town, La Garonne, going a few hundred kilometers from the mountains to the Atlantic ocean. I suppose the water here mainly comes from the Pyrenées. But it rains here too, and I suppose the water naturally would gather in the spot where Toulouse is.

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1 comment

16 Jul 2006 @ 06:10 by freo7 : This Here & Now
I live in the mountains on a small prairie plateau that contain headwaters of the Clearwater and Snake rivers in the form of artisian springs. Do not know if that water comes from rain or snow melt...When we flush solds go into a sewer system for 300 people and a State park on Winchester lake. They are settled in a pond & filtered 3 times, then treated and filtered again before piping to run down like a creek over gravel for about 3 thousand feet and then run into a creek that becomes Lapwai Creek down stream. We are exactly 4,200 feet above sea level. Here we have the syringa bush with lovely white flowers and the yellow sun flower and wild pink and purple Lupins. We even have mountain orchids that gro straight up from the ground in the ponderos pine tree shade.

Yes it is simple to draw our watershed because we live at the top of the canyon. LOL We are the watershed for Lapwai creek which runs into the Clearwater river and is called the Clearwater Watershed. The soil under my feet is to the acid side of PH and shallow with a hard yellowish clay layer about a foot and 1/2 thick. I had a Soil Science 4-H group a few years ago. It was VERY INTERESTING.

We live on the Nezperce Reservation and they were the first people here. They ate Camas roots, wild raz, straw and Elder berries. Apples pears mushrooms fish and deer elk and mountain sheep and goats. We have wild razberries, straw berries, elder berries, Brain and Morel` Mushrooms and some big white ones I call puff bals (big as basket balls.

The storms come in from West to East and when ever from the East they are the coldest most chilling. I compost all organics in a garden spot. We recycle all glass and aluminum and the paper goes into a dumpster that we pay about $30 a month to be picked up once a week. We tote the recycled materials to a larger town and turn it in by the pound for $. It is a great fund raiser!

I know the exact spring and summer equinox but it never ocurred to me to know the sunset. LOL this was fun.  

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