Wednesday, December 22, 2010
After the Deluge. The wild wet beast.
Ok, so our west coast of Canada is also called the Wet Coast, because of our winter rainfall, but these past two days were very wet. At night we woke regularly to the drumming of the rain on our metal roof and the gurgling and dripping of the run off. Days were misty affairs with the clouds wafting through the trees and dropping their loads of sheeting rain. A good time to work in my studio, even though walking back and forth to the house left my jacket permanently damp.
The second night, Heather said she could hear a new sound blending into the raindrops and I suggested it might be the stream plunging over the falls. “Yes and no,” she said. “There is the deeper sound of the falls, that`s true, but this is a higher pitched noise that I have not heard before.” I`m too deaf to here this sound, so I dismiss it and roll into sleep.
Next morning, waking late after another apprehension interrupted sleep, I step to the window and peer out into the rain which is slackening at last, and see a wide streak of white foam lining the path of our usually well trained seasonal stream. It writhes down the valley bottom, leaps over the waterfall with a roar and bounds off down through the trees that line its course. Right after breakfast I am out with my camera into the last few drops of rain and follow the course of the stream from where it comes out of a culvert under the road to where it disappears into our neighbour`s land on its way to join the main valley stream below. Even I can hear the noise Heather noticed last night now that I am beside the stream itself. It is the sound of rushing water as it twists and turns, sporting a rooster tail in the steep spots and bunching up grumpily when it must crowd through a narrow passage under the forest trail.
Big Pond, beside my studio, is sheeting across the lawn as well, unable to fit all its discharge into the stream bed. The stone bridge has both its channels filled and is hosing water out its lower side. The long low falls have a perfect curl of water and the lower pond`s main stone barrier not only shoots out a smooth curve of water in its falls but is spilling water all along its length as well. I pause here to get all this in the camera before follow the stream in its headlong dash down the valley. All those little patches of rock dams in the streambed I had created years ago are now performing as I had visualized, creating a long series of rapids and high speed twists and turns.
At last I reach my bottom fence where the stream has bunched up maple leaves against the wire, creating another torrent of water that leaps through and streaks white on down the hill. I`ve taken over a hundred photos in one hour! This is what winter brings us; snow, gales, and every once in a while the excitement of a wild wet beast writhing through our landscape.