Posted on May 7, 2013
On a recent road trip to Colorado and back, I had occasion to spend several days with friends in Montana who own property situated on a creek. . . or river, the appropriate designation depending on what time of year you visit. In spring, with snow melting and runoff in progress, the flow rate approaches river status. When we’ve visited during late summer, the flow has dwindled to a trickle, due largely to water diversion for irrigation and waning snowpack.
Being a lover of water in all its forms, ocean, sea, trickle, flood, puddle, pond, pool, I spend a great deal of time in its company. Considering the average flow of the particular watercourse I mention here, I’ll call it a creek. During my visit, I took advantage of a sunny afternoon to walk upstream a quarter mile, admiring what river-runners refer to as “hydraulics,” though when we’re talking “creek” the depth isn’t sufficient to float anything larger than in inner tube or a small kayak.
I found a gravel bar that allowed me to station myself and my camera conveniently close to the flow of water over obstacles; boulders, bushes, cobble, gravel, and became so absorbed by the action and color there that I recorded over one hundred images in a half-hour. Later on, I went through these and selected a group that seemed best to express my fascination with water and the emotional reaction it evokes. They will find their way into Mindport’s gallery in due course.
Upon reflection, it seems to me that over the millions of years that life has evolved on this earth, we’ve become intuitively attuned to the characteristics of what the Greeks considered to be the four elements; earth, air, fire, and water. Our survival depended on intimate observation and knowledge of these, not to speak of the behavior and essence of the plants and animals that share our environment, feed us, and provide us with shelter. Any of those four elements can hold our attention for hours. Beside the obvious attraction of water, consider the infinite variety of pleasures afforded by observing clouds, geological land forms, or simply the hypnotic effect of an open camp fire.
At least that was so traditionally. Nowadays survival seems to dictate that we focus our attention exclusively on electronic screens, ones like your eyes rest upon just now, where you observe an illusory pixilated representation of the creek I’ve described, augmented by the hieroglyphics we know as writing. I can’t help but to contemplate the irony of my attempt to encapsulate my experience of this flowing stream in digital form to be transmitted to you via fiber optic cable. It’s a pleasant way to relive the experience, but I’d rather be there still.