The mayflies emerged a couple nights ago and were thick on the sides of some of the homes that lie outside the park’s entrance. They are a welcome presence even if they disturb people who think of them only as insects to be reviled and squashed on sight. The very fact they are here is a good sign since they prefer to live and breed around clean water. Naturally, the fish love them and may in part account for why the fishing has been so good. The mayflies’ life cycle lasts about a year, with the majority of that spent as larvae in the water. They emerge en mass as adults that live to breed, lay eggs, and are gone in a couple days…hence, Order Ephemerata.
Rain is in the forecast for the next couple of days and so I got up early to try to beat the drizzle. About fifty or so fisherman are already on the scene and I have seen some nice stringers of catfish. I found two pieces of Styrofoam and constructed this figure from driftwood sticks, nuts, and plastic. The black tire is too small for a real bicycle and must have been part of some other toy. The river has been receding for the last week and lines of driftwood form the high water marks. Between the wood and the river are large, open mudflats and I photographed this figure in this area.
While I was talking with a father and his three young sons, the figure I had stuck in the mud fell over and started floating away! At first I thought, so much for that one and snapped a couple images as it drifted downriver. The current, however, pushed this piece back to shore and I was able to retrieve it. Ideally, I would like to create one signature image that distills for me what that day at the river was all about. Sometimes that happens, but very rarely. Usually, I have several pictures that are interesting to me. Here are a couple more of this figure after it tested its flotation device.
I have always been interested in the patterns formed by this river mud drying. And, the plastic barrel stuck in the clay was too good a prop not to try at least a couple images. It was beginning to spit rain and so I returned to my studio under the willows and gathered my things for home. Among the days images, is this one of a large iron chain I came across. Far too heavy to pick up, each link was solid metal about eight inches long. How does something like this show up at the Falls? Shouldn’t this chain just sink to the bottom to be discovered at the end of time? Even if this dropped down from the railroad bridge nearby… is it possible that the river is strong enough to wash this ashore? The river isn’t telling.