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Creek Running North

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June 30, 2003

The roof and the basement

It's been hard to make time to get down to the creek the last couple weeks, and even harder to make the time to write about it: I've been on deadline at my job editing the Earth Island Journal. But the sun has been setting each evening, arcing ever northward to reach the solstice and then southward again since June 22, even if I haven't always gotten down to the bay to watch it backlight the ever-expanding dodder.

Last week, the mercury roared past 100 for a couple days, which — in further evidence that the universe is perverse — were the days on which algunos trabajadores machos began to strip fifty years' accumulation of shingle from the rooves of our house and shed. It's cooler today, fortunately for the guys on the roof, and most of the new shingles are tacked down. It's supposed to be a forty-year roof, which raises certain happy questions in my mind. With any luck, by the time we need to replace it, I'll have a nice thick sod roof all to myself.

Household construction and publishing aside, we have been getting down to the creek a bit. Yesterday, we sat in Alan and Josie's backyard fifty yards from the creek, eating good grilled food and drinking some fine beer, and feeling a bit of breeze off the water. The night before, with Ann, we walked down to the mouth. We went out to the furthest above-water extremity of the mouth's bar, wondered whether the tide was at flow or ebb. A sudden flurry of three-inch waves answered the question. Were they wake from the passing boat across the bay, or some fluke of breeze and shoreline?

San Pablo Bay is about as deep, relative to its breadth, as a dinner plate. The water level has as much to do with seiche as with tide. The hydraulic miners of a century and a half ago dumped millions of tons of sediment into California rivers, and much of it settled here. A person my height could walk to what for all practical purposes can be called the middle of San Pablo Bay.

I have read, somewhat recently, that the Bay is going through a deepening phase: the old Gold Rush detritus is getting flushed out my snowmelt and storm surge. Maybe we'll get some real surf on our section of bay shore in a few decades.

Posted by Chris Clarke at June 30, 2003 12:10 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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Great to have you back, Chris, we missed reading your daily ponderings... Today's the Ecotone Wiki's "how we are defined and shaped by the place we live" collective blog; are you able to dig out from under at all? (

Posted by: Pica at July 1, 2003 06:13 AM
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Yep, back to being ponderous! Missed the collective blog topic, but should be ready for the next one...

Posted by: Chris Clarke at July 8, 2003 12:12 PM
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