The day began with a super early run. We left the house with the stars still out and the sky dark. The lake was clear, the sky dusky and the town quiet. We stopped off at the lake wall for some fun exercises and yoga. As the sun rose I sat looking out into the lake practising my kapaal bharati.
On returning to the house I felt refreshed and ready for the day. Couer de Alene, Idaho is a lovely little town. We were lucky enough to have some time to explore and Sukhin even went for a plane ride over the lake.
Next, it was time for our tour of the plant nursery. It was fascinating. One project the nursery was working on was focused on producing disease resistant trees and planting them in a bid for reforestation. 100 years ago tree diseases were brought to the USA from Japan. Consequently, now native trees (in particular, white bark pine) suffer and are killed. So the plant nursery with the use of genetics and scientific findings, cross breed any resistant trees. This can be done by either artificial pollination or grafting. The former involves injecting pollen between the desired species. The latter, is when you cut the top of one tree’s stem and attach it to the bottom of another stem. Both stems have desired characteristics, so when connected together and grow into a new plant, it results in resistant seeds being produced. Orchards are planted with these new desirable seeds. Here the forest service comes in and can buy mass seeds and sow them into the forests. The science and project is incredible. In this way mass areas of deforestation from forest fires, mining or agricultural grazing can be reforested with trees named plus species which are durable to diseases and able thrive. However, looking around the huge greenhouses, orchards and labs I felt empty. I cannot put my finger on it. I guess it is daunting how much control we as a species have over nature. Biology is incredible and self sustaining, so what has gone wrong historically and currently meaning we have to intervene and manipulate the environment? It reminded me of the book ‘Never let me go’ where humans are breed in an orphanage and the purpose of their life is to provide sick people with organs. However, strange the concept may be of growing trees artificially to replenish natural systems, it is incredible that we can save the forests in this way.
Another project the nursery and forest service is involved with is growing native grasses which are also declining in the wild. This summer I helped collected these native grasses, which we delivered to the nursery. They will grow these in favourable conditions and then harvest the seeds, which will multiply each time. In this manner, mass native seeds can be produced and reintroduced into the forest. Another interesting project which will help revegetate degraded parts of the forest.
Later this afternoon, I read on a bench by the lake. The sun shone, the water ripples moved up the sand and the sky was clear. I got stuck into my new book ‘the memory keepers daughter’ by Kim Edwards.
That evening we went for a Greek meal. It was a feast, the restaurant had a love for garlic and the staff wore tshirts with the slogan ‘I stink’. The bathrooms provided mouthwash too. While we tucked into our tasty dinner we were entertained with belly dancers.
As we were so full and could barely move a walk along the river board walk was needed. It was a chilly evening but I soon warmed up. The lights on the lake were so pretty and the water looked mysterious and dark. It was quiet out, the lake looked rather spooky. Supposedly, the lake was fill of gold mining chemicals which had entered through rivers from the mountains. Gold produces Mercury and other lethal chemical to humans. It seemed such a shame that such a beautiful lake we said to be toxic.
I learnt a lot in Idaho and was lucky enough to see a beautiful new part of the country while staying in a great place.