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Creek Running North

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March 01, 2005

Riverbed sand

[Photo by Anne Rohrer, large image]

A few years ago I was on the banks of the Green just inside Utah, in Dinosaur National Monument, watching the tears of the Wind River and Wasatch ranges flow past. The river bottom was a broad stretch of smooth, shallow ripples in the blonde sand. The current carried trace amounts of darker sand, iron oxide or something similar. Slowly, a few grains at a time, the dark sand would spill into the ripples, there to gather on the bottom until a stray current lifted them back into the flow.

I laid on my stomach on the sandbar watching the sand beneath the water. Slowly, slowly, lines of dark sand gathered, bent around the traces, drifted one into the other. I realized after an hour or so that I'd been trying to read the patterns, as if they were Arabic or Japanese characters assembling on the river bottom, scattering just as I felt I was about to comprehend their intent.

This is a collaborative post with Anne Rohrer of Yellowstone Wolf.

Posted by Chris Clarke at March 1, 2005 02:34 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:
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decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs