Saturday, October 8, 2011

October 7, 2011

A ritual of greeting the land is developing.  After unloading my gear, I check on the chickens, collect 7 eggs, feed them, clean the coop, and tear the sleeve of my jacket on some lousy sheetmetal work.  But, this is not the ritual, this is chores.

It is grey and raining in a dense sprinkle that buoys and mocks the local myth, "it never rains that hard".  It will, in the end, be the exact same amount of water that would drop in a midwestern thunderstorm, only it comes a bit slower.  That tired old northwest myth is no more than the "it's not the heat, it's the humidty" of my youth.

Now, the ritual.   I head to the creek where it exits the deep ravine, where it leave the hills for the low lands forming the inside of a meander in the river.  The USDA is restoring the creek to its original line, but when I have looked at this work, I didn't see the logic.  But, I know that there is someone that knows more than myself, so it is a chance to just observe.  There is more water today.  The creek drains a fair amount of land from quite a ways up into the hills.  The flow is splitting, braiding around low earthworks and then rejoining at the edge of the cottonwoods.  It might be that they want the creek to braid briefly into several channels and spill some energy in the shallows before entering the original creek bed.  There will be more to watch.

Next, it is time to greet the river.  I take the shortest route out to the downstream beach.  I walk quietly, particularly in the final wooded section so as not to scare off any wildlife.  An eagle perches on the far side of the river in a dead tree that affords clear views.  Two killdeer speed by.  A dying humpy (salmon) makes its last movements, sideways in shallowest water.  This is the circle of life, but this is the macabre segment of that circle.  The river smells of dead salmon and the ones that have been dragged out and left by scavengers are becoming fish shaped bags of skin as they disappear.  It is the end, and the beginning.  Hello river, hello eagle, thank you salmon.

My friend D joins me near noon.  I have asked two artist friends to come for an overnight.  As good as the farm is for inspiring artwork, I know that the discussions that we will have will generate more ideas for all involved.  D walks the downriver area with me.  Some others that I did not know would be up here (they have their own project) arrive.  We do some shuffling of plans, but fortunately it all works out, and we have a nice talk with C and K, new acquaintances for me. 

A comes in in the evening and cooks a curry dinner for us.  Then, with a 2/3 moon, we head out for a night hike, the colored rock arrangement on the beach being out outermost goal.  It is 4 long lines of rocks arranged by color, and while it is a fine work in the day, I have seen it twice now at night and in the moonlight it is gorgeous, and impossible to photograph.

We return and talk until 3am.  The discussion idea is a success.

No comments:

Post a Comment