FLOOD STAGE (and PARIS)

Flowing slow and shallow in summer but regularly obliterating its borders in other seasons, the Snoqualmie River loops a curly path through rich farmland east of Seattle, not far from where I live.  Two weeks ago abundant rain caused its banks to overflow again and closed roads in the valley.  I went out to see what might be interesting to photograph that first weekend of November. It was the season of last leaves clinging to branches for one more day, fallen apples rotting in the grass, and damp, chill winds.

At a bend in the road where I could stand near the ever-expanding river’s edge, I saw a beautiful, tangled scene of leafy chaos.

(What beauty was there in the chaos of that theater in Paris yesterday? None.)

I tried to make an image that would convey the scene, but the scope was so much bigger than what I could get on a webpage.

(And how overwhelming does the flood of terrorism feel to Parisians today?)

 

The year has been dry here, sparse snowfall in the mountains last winter reducing some waterways down to trickles over the summer. So the heavy rain two weeks ago wasn’t a bad thing. As I type, another storm system floods the river again, but the valley will absorb this storm, as it has taken on countless storms for longer than we’ve known.

(And how many more storms of terrorism can we, must we, absorb?)

November – such a stunning ruin of a month. There is razor-sharp, dark beauty as nature takes its course, pruning and destroying.

(And what of the famous beauty of Paris today?)

Following the river south to Fall City, I turn back north on Fall City-Redmond Road, making a wide loop around the valley.  I spot a narrow lane heading down into a sea of lichen-covered branches and stop to investigate. The rain spits and falters as I wander down the road.

There’s nothing dramatic here. No mountain vista or wide sea impresses the eye. A sign indicates that this bit of wetland has been preserved for salmon, the soul animal of Puget Sound. These tough fish continue to live out their life-rhythm, tracking between fresh and salt water and back again, thanks to people who took note of this modest little piece of land and kept it safe.

(Does the future hold that for us? Sould we narrow our beloved cities and wildlands down into safe preserves for people to live without terrorism?)

Rain soaks the scene into a sweet blur.

I can’t stay out in this too much longer – it’s chilly and my camera’s getting wet.

On a rise an old apple tree holds memories of fruitful summers. That could be the last shot of the day.

(And when will we hear the last shot of terrorism?)