Recently came across this view of the river through a magic portal. Since it is double-sided, it allows me to look both forward and backwards from a fixed position. I thought I would use this opportunity to go through some of the many photographs I have taken at the Falls and not previously used on this blog. Many times I come across scenes that are visually interesting to me, but they don’t fit the post I have going at the time. Consider this an attempt to cobble something together through a tangled theme.
I’m sitting here thinking whether I have chosen the correct words to entitle today’s post? My immediate thoughts are that this is a more complicated situation than I first considered. Just thinking about things that are tangled up is ensnaring and hard to tease apart! When I look at the root ball of a big tree I can see that the roots themselves seem tangled up not only with themselves but with the earth that helps it grow. There the relationship is more obvious and seems purposeful in its interconnectivity. The tree roots help stabilize the tree while providing the nutrients it needs from the soil. The soil in effect is held together by the roots that run through it.
String enough trees with their root masses holding things together and you have the beginnings of an ecosystem. The relationship is one of symbiosis. When I see trees that have been uprooted like this I imagine that the riverbank it once helped to support has been weakened and degraded in some way. We see a lot of erosion around here and it isn’t just the river’s fault.
At the Falls, there is a lot of wood that gets deposited by periodic flooding. That is how it has been since there has been a river here. What has changed since the days of Lewis and Clark is how much man-made stuff is now interwoven into the mix. When it’s something like this old wooden palette, then it isn’t as bad. Eventually, the palette will break down and be absorbed by nature. But at the Falls, I also see many things that will not go away easily if at all.
Here’s a barge cable that has been snared by a tree during high water. These large ropes I’m guessing are made from nylon and are very heavy. They are used to secure along the shoreline, long strings of barges along the intercoastal waterway. A lot of coal is moved on these barges and is burned to produce electricity. On occasion, I find a lot of washed up coal too. Water is powerful and does its best to reduce these ropes to something that is more manageable. Interestingly, I have come across several bird nests made almost entirely from these untangled cable fibers. In their own instinctual way, even the birds are trying to utilize these cables. Many of the resident willow trees are “decorated” with these snags.
This large black hose washed up here during the last flooding incident. It’s all tangled up into a much larger driftwood pile. Even something like this isn’t going to get reabsorbed into the natural system easily. It’s just tangled up and will lay there until the river moves it again or until one of the periodic river clean-ups where it might eventually get covered up in a landfill somewhere else. It probably won’t get recycled, so burying it is more a matter of out of sight, out of mind. This solution takes no inspiration from nature. Since late winter, I have been watching and photographing this boom that just showed up here in all its yellowness.
I did look up the company name on this object because I wasn’t entirely sure as to what this is or why it’s here.? I suspected that this is a boom used to contain or protect something from contamination. Like many people, the immense oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been on my mind. What a colossal failure of imagination this has been all the way around. I imagine that the company that made this yellow boom and is based in Houston , Texas is probably having a great year. Here are some recent images. The longer this boom stays here, the more it seems to catch things around it.
It is ironic that something that is supposed to be a tool to “protect” the river, winds up becoming another discarded piece of junk. What is one supposed to do with this boom now? I’m assuming that this was used somewhere along the Ohio River or its tributaries which eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico. This boom’s appearance here suggests that the Gulf and the river were already in trouble long before the latest oil spill.
I know many people who feel as I do…that they are tired of feeling hypocritical about our relationship to the natural world. Trying to untangle good answers to this dilemma while living lifestyles that promote and accept such waste has to be psychologically damaging too? At the moment, we seem unable to act in our own ultimate best interests and it will probably take some even greater calamity to befall before we are forced to have the courage and imagination to go in another direction.
The last couple times I have come to the Falls, I have run into this man. We have talked a little bit, but there are some language barriers. Anyway, he’s delighted to have discovered a source of materials he can take to the salvage yard. I watched him nimbly moving from one log to another yanking out these old metal wheels. I have a lot of admiration for him and it made me think of how people from less developed countries have much that we can learn about living on this increasingly global scrap heap.