A different knowhow

A different knowhow

Nobody ‘knows’ Nature.
Humans are more aware
of themselves, yet
through some
they believe
to understand
the inner workings
of every other life.
A hummingbird does
not keep track of its
heartbeats or check
to see how many calories
it burned between
birdbaths –
and health
are superstitious
ghosts, born to
another brain child.
Nor does it repeatedly
peer at a thermometer
to plan ahead for
foul weather.
Its long beak sips
nectar without
its wings jet
point A to B
the slightest
idea about
Newton’s gravity
or the physics of flight.
So too, the sun has no
knowledge of our planet
or its inhabitants
millions of miles away
in space.
Its solar flares
do not care about
the beauty of
aurora borealis
nor hear
Yet, all creatures are
linked across
an invisible ether,
survival and home
into a different
These genes
speak in tongues
without asking
why sometimes.

The totem pole in my photo above stands in the new Native American Longhouse building, Eena Haws, (Beaver House in Chinook Jargon) on the Oregon State University campus, located in the beautiful town of Corvallis, Oregon.   With the help of two assistants, master carver, Clarence Mills of Vancouver, B.C., skillfully chiseled 13 different creatures from a 12 foot tall section of an 800-year old fallen cedar tree donated by the Vancouver Parks Board and commissioned by OSU Alum Jim Whyte.  Click on the link below to read more about the life and times of this truly amazing totem and its creators.  Also, check out my other poem Totem truisms to view a photo of the totem in its entirety.


About tyler4turtles

I am an avid photographer, poet, ecologist, bookworm, blogger, art enthusiast and runner who calls Montana home but lives in Oregon.
This entry was posted in Nature, Photography, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to A different knowhow

  1. billieazahir says:

    I envy the other animals that we claim are not as “evolved” as we are for the reasons found here. Thank you for sharing and inspiring me to be less human and more animal from time to time so I can enjoy the life I have been given. 🙂

    • Thank you, Billie! I appreciate your kind words and support. We are all creatures that have intrinsic worth in and of ourselves, apart from a specific value system. Humans tend to project their traits onto other non-human life forms. We attribute more desirable qualities like courage and integrity to bald eagles and less desirable qualities like laziness and apathy to sloths and snails. But the fact is, no matter what label we give these creatures, they are still thriving with or without our poetic license. Instead of asking why someone is slow as a turtle or happy as a squirrel, why don’t we just call it by its given name and let the squirrels and turtles sort out the drama amongst themselves? After all, humans are not the only act in town. Hope you have a good day, my friend!
      Tyler 🙂

  2. Its so true how we try so hard to plan ahead for every moment or try to control the one we are in. To animals and nature there is not moment that must be controlled because they living it in and take each one as they come. How we have lost this connection to nature. The only thing that changes their patten is the changing of the seasons. Oh, if life could be like that for all creatures on earth. Great post!

    • Thank you! I appreciate your kind words and keen comments. You seem very in touch with Nature and I applaud your sensitivity. Nature is not here for our entertainment, just as we are not here to put on a show for a sloth, snail, termite or turtle. Life is simply how diversity colors and carries itself at the end of the day. Have a wonderful day, my friend!
      Tyler 🙂

  3. Pingback: A different knowhow | Nature Dreamer

  4. Gallivanta says:

    Yes, many different knowhows and the one thing we have in common is the not knowing of each others knowhows.

    • Yes, so very true! The first truth of life is to admit you know nothing. Heck, humans have only discovered a fraction of the life on earth. So many entities are under our radar, but I’m still glad we’re trying to learn about this world one day at a time. Even Nature does not ‘know’ itself in the sense of the word. Only humans can label awareness as knowledge. In Nature, if you survived the day and passed on your genes, that’s power, that’s wisdom. There’s no sitting down to write about it before you go to bed. Once you lose the primal instinct, that awareness, well, you’re dead (or if human, you’re a sleep deprived zombie!). Hope you have a wonderful tomorrow today, my friend!
      Tyler 🙂

  5. I sometimes think that we spend too much time trying to understand our world as an equation and not enough time trying to understand our world in relation to ourselves and who we are. Hopefully we can change that someday, especially as we learn to embrace our environment as an important part of our existence.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful insight! I agree with you. Humans need to learn more about humanity (and humility) by forging stronger bonds with each other and sorting out (and respecting) our differences. Only then can we truly co-exist with Nature. It’s all about valuing things on their own merits and not ours. Hope you are having a relaxing weekend and thank you for stopping by my blog!
      Tyler 🙂

  6. Loca Gringa says:

    Being highly evolved … not always the best thing. Imagine being unevolved and never knowing heartache! Thank you for evoking thought!

    • Thank you! I appreciate your kind words and thoughtful comment. I too have wondered what it would be like to just live life and know nothing about it. All of our actions and reactions forged from primitive instinct, no right or wrong, simply surviving, creatures with no thoughts of future consequence, only present circumstance. But, humans are not hard-wired this way. We live to eavesdrop and learn about the lives of ourselves and others. Hope you are having a relaxing weekend and thank you for stopping by my blog!
      Tyler 🙂

  7. segmation says:

    What a great blog! It makes me want to come to Oregon soon and see this! Thanks for sharing about this!

    • Thank you! And you are very welcome, my friend! I’ve lived in Oregon for 5 years and just moved to Corvallis. This is the perfect environment with friendly denizens and beautiful places that inspire endless creativity. Hope you are having a relaxing weekend!
      Tyler 🙂

  8. Genie says:

    Gorgeous poem.

    • Thank you, Genie! I appreciate your kind words, my friend. I feel very connected to your blog. Your writing is soulfully aware and rich in colorful diction and meaning. Keep up the excellent work! Hope you are having a relaxing weekend 🙂

  9. Wow, that’s a very beautiful poem. Sometimes, putting a scientific fact behind all tour activities takes away some of the pleasure in experiencing things. Anyway, poems like yours- they keep me in awe of the Creator.

    • Thank you! I really appreciate your kind words and your thoughtful comment. As an ecologist, I love exploring the diversity of life on this planet through research and field work. As a Christian, I have a very spiritual connection with Nature that cannot be described by hard data or facts. My pathos comes from Mother Earth and the Creator and I value the intrinsic worth of all creatures by giving them breathing room to just be, apart from the labels of our society. As a poet, I try to strike a balance by recognizing and respecting my hard-wired self-awareness and the otherness of every entity outside of myself. Hopefully this makes sense. Have a great rest of your weekend!
      Tyler 🙂

      • Thanks, tyler! I think I did get what you’re tyring to say. I browsed your blog, btw. I love how you mix scientific facts in your poetry. I’m following you, ok? Have a blessed day! 😀

      • You are most welcome! And thank you for your kind words and for following my blog! May you have a blessed day as well, my friend!
        Tyler 🙂

  10. ironical it is, though we are supposedly the evolved species, yet we lack it all and so much so that we have forgotten the essence of basics. beautiful composition!
    congrats on being freshly pressed!

    • Thank you! I appreciate your kind words and thoughtful comment. Yes, we are blessed and cursed by our self-swareness. Only when we use this awareness to acknowledge and respect the intrinsic worth of another entity (human or otherwise), aside from its utility to ourselves, can we begin to co-exist with Nature. Hope you are having a relaxing weekend, my friend 🙂

      • Thanks Tyler, weekend was good and as always felt short; hope you had a good one too. True, if we learn to use our awareness well, only can then we coexist – lovely thought.

  11. kalpitt says:

    Reblogged this on kalpitt.

  12. godtisx says:

    Very interesting poem. I really liked how it read. Found you through Freshly Pressed, glad I clicked in… 🙂

  13. Your poem is very deep and nice… Congrats!

  14. I loved this poem! You clearly have an eye for poetry. Thank you for sharing this piece!

  15. Reblogged this on The ancient eavesdropper and commented:

    This poem and photograph was featured on Freshly Pressed yesterday. I am honored by this recognition and feel blessed to be a part of the WordPress Community. Also, I appreciate all the kindness and support my fellow bloggers have shown me. Your blogs inspire me daily and drive me to become a better blogger. Whatever I write, I do so to shed light on Nature and the human condition. You don’t have to agree with my perspective, but as long as we respect our differences and keep an open mind, there is no limit to what we can understand in due time. Hope you all have a relaxing Sunday!
    Tyler 🙂

  16. Congratulations Tyler. A well deserved recognition of your excellent poetry.

  17. words4jp says:

    Congrats Tyler – you are an incredible writer and photographer – and a really cool guy! WordPress is certainly a better place with you as part of the family!

    Kimberly xx

    • Thank you, Kim! As always, I really appreciate all the kindness and support you’ve shown me. It gives me so much inspiration and motivation to keep blogging and try to make sense of myself and the world around me. I feel blessed to be in the company of such talented and creative spirits such as yourself! Hope you had a restful weekend, my friend 🙂

  18. Shainbird says:

    You make me want the uncluttered life of a hummingbird! Thanks for visiting my poetry.

    • Thank you! That was my intention with the poem – to make people more aware of the natural world around them, to see it apart from their society and value system. I enjoyed reading your poetry and have followed your blog as well. Hope you are having a great Monday!
      Tyler 🙂

  19. So wise, true and beautifully expressed…we have so much to re-learn and re-remember by simply being in, with, and observing nature. That totem is INCREDIBLE!

    • Thank you, Harula! Your kind words and support are much appreciated. It’s so amazing to see, feel and smell the totem pole up close and read the story behind it – if you haven’t yet, click on the link at the bottom of the poem. This has to be the most beautiful appropriation for an 800-year old cedar tree!

      After looking through your wonderful blog, it seems we are kindred spirits! Congrats on self-publishing your first book of poetry! I self-published a book of poetry and black and white photographs titled, “Nostalgia, Naturally,” in 2007 through Authorhouse. It was a great experience that gave me the support, tools and flexibility to follow through with my creative vision.

      Your poem “I want to be…” really captures the same child-like nostalgia and wonder that I like to use in my poetry. You have such a way with words that evoke very natural feelings. I look forward to following your blog! Hope you have a great Monday and week 🙂

      • Thank you so much Tyler for checking out my blog and choosing to follow, and I’m honoured to be called a kindred spirit – I do believe that’s made my day:-) Looking forward to reading more of you too. I did follow the link, incredible. Hey – would you fancy exchanging poetry books? If you email me your address I’ll send you one of mine and would be very glad to receive a copy of yours if you have a spare. Email me at harulaladd@yahoo.com.

  20. thompaul2013 says:

    I would just like to show my appreciation towards your efforts within this piece, i found it refreshing to read, also your picture attached to the poem is insightful and delightful.
    I am also a writer trying to get to grips with this site, its my second day .

    • Thank you! I appreciate your kind words! And Welcome to WordPress Community! Keep up the great work on your blog. Hope you have a wonderful Monday and rest of your week!
      Tyler 🙂

  21. northernmalewhite says:

    i’d rather meet a humming
    than another


    • You are most welcome! Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I agree. Somedays, it’s refreshing to just get away and enjoy Nature without the bells and whistles of modern society. Ultimately, Nature is indifferent, but since humans have self-awareness, we can decide whether or not to care about its wellbeing and where it fits into our lives. Hope you are having a good Monday, my friend 🙂

  22. Gautam Sudev says:

    Thats quite a poem 🙂
    Keep up the good work (y)

  23. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed to you as well! The poem is beautiful… it’s so true that because we, as humans, feel connected to the Earth (or at least some of us do), we foolishly link this over to an arrogance of knowing all other species, their ways of life, and their connection to Earth.

  24. Carlos says:

    Great post!

  25. soniawood1 says:

    Very nice poem 🙂

  26. tala703 says:

    I couldn’t help it, by the end of this I was already asking “how do you know”, silly though it sounds the real arrogance of the poem about the arrogance of humans felt ironic! But that is a compliment – because the poem communicated to me exactly that which I feel it set out to do! Perhaps that is only my interpretation 🙂

    • Thank you for your perceptive comment! I had been waiting for someone to catch the irony and you did! Excellent! There were probably plenty of people who though I was being a prig and judged me at face value. However, I wrote this poem through human eyes, so it was inherently biased from the start. Although I claimed that nobody knows Nature, I had the human-centered “arrogance” to proceed tell you what Nature does not know in a way that only humans can understand. Much of my poetry feeds on irony, so this was an experiment that tested human perception of themselves and Nature. As long as my poem got you thinking, it did its job, whether you were turned off or intrigued Hope you are having a good day and thanks for your thoughtful comment!
      Tyler 🙂

  27. Pingback: Rambling Morning… | liveuntil

  28. kendracha says:

    Beautiful, Tyler…We need to embrace all commonalities, rather than focus on our differences. Thanks for visiting Sushi Tale’s.

  29. Thank you for stopping by and liking/following my blog. I’m interested to see more of your writing. Thanks again.

  30. A wonderful post and the totem is incredible.
    Thanks for liking my ‘wise garden gate’ poem and image.

  31. dweezer19 says:

    Im so glad you stopped b m blog and lead me back here! You have a wonderful blog. Amazing, the natural world….

    • Thank you! Your kind words are much appreciated! Nature continues to inspire my pen and lens everyday. It’s ironic that I am so dependent on Nature, yet Nature is unaware of my existence. There is so much beauty in our differences. Hope you had a relaxing weekend 🙂

  32. thanks for stopping by my blog. I love your poem and concept. Wonderful words of life

  33. miriamscody says:

    Beautiful, beautiful poem. Go Beavers!

    • Thank you, my friend! I see you went to school in Ashland, but did you ever live in Corvallis? I just read your post about the Tobacco Root Mountains. Wonderful post. As you probably know, I grew up in Montana and am very familiar and passionate about the people, towns and landscapes under the Big Sky. One of my poems, “Java Queens and Pony Dreams” was inspired by some metal sculptures in the little town of Pony just outside the Tobacco Roots. BTW, the OSU baseball team is playing in the semi-finals this weekend in Nebraska. Go Beavers! Hope you are having a great week and thank you for your kind words about my poem!
      Tyler 🙂

  34. lesliekannan says:

    Hi Tyler,
    i love your blog and will be sharing it. Here’s something I just read that might interest you and other followers of your blog:
    Looking forward to your posts!
    Leslie Kannan

    • Thank you, Leslie! Your kind words are much appreciated. Loved your post on turtles and I look forward to following your blog! Hope you are having a relaxing weekend 🙂

  35. lucylingphotography says:

    Lovely Blog i like the poem and the photograph x

    • Thank you, Lucy! Your kind words are much appreciated. Your blog is filled with inspiring photography that reflects a strong kinship with the natural world. Keep up the excellent work! I look forward to following you. Hope you are having a wonderful day 🙂

      • lucylingphotography says:

        Aww thanks matey I am grateful for our kindness 🙂 have a fabulous week and I look forward to reading and viewing more from you x

  36. Ms. Vee says:

    What a beautiful poem.

  37. Susi Lovell says:

    Thanks for dropping by my blog. I’m glad you did as now I’ve discovered yours. I enjoyed your poem. If birds and animals and frogs and snakes thought like humans (or think in a human-y way rather than in their own inscrutable animal-y way) the deer would know not to eat my rudbeckia and mallow and Black-eyed Susans! I know, I shouldn’t plant them there in the first place – it reveals my ‘human superiority complex’ that I think I have the right to plant flowers in a woodland area and expect the animals to leave them alone!

    • You are most welcome, Susi, and thank you for your kind words! Your comment rings true. It’s funny when we put the ‘shoe’ on the other ‘foot,’ so-to-speak. We will always have our human-biased point-of-view, but sometimes we can try to distance ourselves from knowledge and just see Nature in and of itself. I look forward to following your blog and hope you are having a lovely weekend!
      Tyler 🙂

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