June 4, 2013

Talking Water

There are several small creeks and run-offs in the hills around my home. Each corner of every one sounds different. After a heavy rain, I can walk beside the streams day after day and never hear the same tune twice. The harmonies shift hour by hour as the water level sinks, progressing out to the rivers.
Roots in the Creek Bed
None of these little creeks have running water year round though there are little springs here and there that keep them from becoming bone dry and maintain a soft hum.
For two years, we were in a drought and the creeks have not been as chatty as I'm used to. We had a good conversation last May but then they fell silent for the rest of the year. By October, only dust was moving in the rocky beds. Even the tiny springs’ tuning pitches seemed to have been lost to the heat and wind.
Dusty Dry Creek
...and dry

Green Creek
Same creek, wet...

Then, this Spring, it snowed. And snowed. And for good measure, snowed a few more times, moving planting dates later and later. And every time the snow melted, I could see more water standing in the too-quiet waterways. The slowly rising pools even began to create tiny trickling noises, little whispers and hints that the drought might be ending. Just perhaps.
Sky Between Snowfalls
Sky between snows
The cold Spring snows finally gave way to rain and to my great delight, there were a few twists in the creeks that were speaking without stop, though debris and roadside trash still cluttered most of the straight-aways, just waiting for a good rushing torrent to chase them away. Until it rained 3 inches in one day. And then rained the next day. And again two days later.
The floods were intimidating of course but largely brief. The ground soaked the rain up as fast as it could, greedy as a cat with cream or a musician with notes. And I could not help but dance for joy. The water was talking, chanting, singing in ways I hadn't heard in over a year.
Leaf Waterfall

Pictures just weren't enough. I had to take my handheld recorder out to gossip with the running waterways. The chiming sounds of water tiptoeing down ditches, the rhythmic lines from the rocky falls and the dark bass notes of the wide deep bends below the bridge all had a solo to share.

Wild and Crooked Creeks
Run-off; around 1 minute Mini Water-fall; around 3 minutes Bass Note in the stream; 7:52 min Bridge Exit

Opening Run-off
Rocky Falls
About 1 min; the Mini Waterfall
Spring Torrent
About 3 min; Full Voice w/Bass Note
Pools and Reflections
7:52 The Final Bridge

The thunder and rain have drummed up dance forms, chansons and polyphonic-rounds in the running waters while the birds toss motives and trills down on us like confetti. The earth and sky pour joyous melodies into the little pathways of the ear and overflow the mind until nothing is left but song and water.

Sky, Trees and Talking Water