COLUMNS: Chris Harris – famous artist, one of the best story tellers

One of the most significant events in the human cultural world here in the Cariboo Chilcotin was the release of Chris Harris’ 13th book.

One of the most significant events in the human cultural world here in the Cariboo Coast Chilcotin was the release of Chris Harris’ 13th book.

Its release was accompanied with a musical score composed for the occasion, which adds to the artistry of the book which is as much an essay on this special place we call home, as it is a book of photographs.

This event has been a class act.

Thank you Chris and all your associates for showing us aspects of the beauty of this place.

I commend this book to you: British Columbia’s Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, a Photographers Journey.

Chris takes us through the Chilcotin Ark, from the great interior rainforest to the coast rainforest and ocean of the mid-coast gracing it with poetic essays and the most incredible photographs.

One need not even read English to get the big idea and its intricacies.

Now, why would someone musing about ranching, want to dwell on this theme.

The book is a stark and beautiful reminder of the melting of the glaciers that provide us with so much freshwater we all need for life.

Food begins with water, soil begins with pure rock set onto by powerful natural forces.

If we look backward to the retreat of the glaciers that covered all this area thousands of years ago we are reminded that after every ice age is followed by a renaissance of evolutions of life which came to support plants and animals including we mere humans.

At our peril, we forget how long it takes to build soil and the food that sustains us.

Chris shows the beginnings of life after fire and after the melting of 10,000-year-old ice.

While nature is resilient, it is also fragile if pushed too  far.

I commend this book to one of the most powerful people on earth.

Were he to read it and heed it,  he might moderate his overly human-centred  worldview and with some humility look with some respect to conserving the basis of life, biodiversity which builds our ability to adjust to changes.

I mention this connection to what is going on in the world  because that is how deeply I respect this work of art, Chris and company have put together for us.

The material in this book is so profound that you will have to read it like a book of poetry, a little at a time, savouring each taste of beauty.

Happy New Year!

David Zirnhelt is a member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association and chair of the advisory committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching program which started at Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake this January.

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