Creek Running North December 2004 Archives

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December 31, 2004

Last hike of the year

We three - Becky, myself and Zeke - walked slowly up the canyon of Alhambra Creek. At first, the sun was bright and glinted off the wet grass. A half mile into the canyon, clouds gathered and finally loosed rain...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 08:22 PM

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Ruination rumination

When your birthday is a few days after the new year begins, it makes it easy to get lost in self-absorbed reflection as the calendars change. The long nights make it even easier. I have developed the habit of spending...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 12:56 AM

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December 27, 2004


A few inches of rain over the last 24 hours, and the creek is up with a vengeance. At creekmouth water oerlaps the bank top. A half mile upstream the channel is deeper, the creek adequately confined, and the brown...

Continue reading "Mallards"

Posted by Chris Clarke at 08:41 PM

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One from the archives. I wrote it about 10 years ago....

Continue reading "Crinoids"

Posted by Chris Clarke at 01:12 AM

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December 22, 2004


I could live an entire lifetime in Iowa, huffing steamy breaths into my cupped cold hands, warming the truck to fetch my wife from her job in town. When we met in high school, her hair was long and straight...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 09:57 AM

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December 20, 2004

Creek running north

I. I have walked Pinole Creek for hundreds of hours. I have seen it in flood bearing trees a quarter-mile into the bay: I have seen it near dry. I have paddled its channel as far as it was navigable....

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 02:04 PM

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December 16, 2004


I'm gonna go do things other than blogging for a while. Thanks to Beth, Anne, and Chris for their notes yesterday....

Continue reading "Quiet"

Posted by Chris Clarke at 07:25 AM

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December 15, 2004

Go read Anne

Today, I am busy. Today, I am wondering if this is worth it, this little corner of the internets laid out for me to poke at old scabs, this eternal blank sheet of paper for me to fill, trying valiantly...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 06:06 AM

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December 14, 2004

Big Thompson Canyon

The thing you have to understand about my day attempting to hitchhike down Route 34 is the context in which it occurred. That winter, Susan and I had decided we were moving to Portland. She would be going to chiropractic...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 11:00 AM

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December 13, 2004


I have so dearly loved reading this old Usenet thread this week. Wednesday is the anniversary of her death. I cannot fathom the notion that I have spent a year without talking to Maddy. Just can't wrap my mind around...

Continue reading "Yahrzeit"

Posted by Chris Clarke at 05:50 PM

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December 11, 2004

Singing for Zeke

On my hike today, I watched a pair of red-tails circle on a thermal, keering loudly to one another. A hundred feet below, Steller's jays called back and forth: raucous cries of alarm when the hawks came too close,...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 09:34 PM

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I support our troops

Dave Lindorff is especially interesting today. For what it's worth, since this is a public forum and you never know who's reading, I might as well take the opportunity to say this: If you are an active duty military person...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 11:32 AM

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December 09, 2004

Rainbow Basin

North of Barstow, the old lifted lakebed sediments of Rainbow Basin crumble in the winter rain. Fourteen million years ago this was a verdant lake, fringed with oak, palm, willow. Sabertooths and mastodon, camel and pronghorn, rhinos and sloths...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 05:32 PM

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December 08, 2004

Going with it anyway

Rain, and an unwalked dog get the fedora from the top shelf pull on the brown leather jacket wind blows cold wet onto the back of my neck. The creek is up. The street is a creek. In barren plane...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 08:28 AM

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December 07, 2004

Critical thinking

PZ Myers provides a link to yet another wonderful riff on those insanely stupid and demeaning warning labels some ideologues would slap on textbooks that contain discussion of evolution. The proposed label reads: This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 08:10 AM

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December 06, 2004

The Storm

A cold front came in off the Pacific tonight, moderately strong, and buffeted me from behind as I walked from the BART station to the truck. I was listening to music through the headphones: the Cranberries. As I walked, tugged...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 09:22 PM

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Hens and chicks

The yellow striped agave has followed me from home to home for the past 17 years. It sits now in front of our house in Pinole, and in a few more years it will be too large for me...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 05:30 PM

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I must really like Rana; she needed but ask diffidently and casually when I was going to create a superhero mascot for this blog and what did I do but turn around almost immediately and create a superhero mascot...

Continue reading "Silliness"

Posted by Chris Clarke at 03:11 PM

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December 04, 2004

Cafe Rocks

Two concrete pads, a metal pole, a peeling sign, and the high-speed traffic on Route 58 heading between Boron and Mojave. The sign tells only part of the story. It was a café at one point, and a rock...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 08:29 PM

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Not part of the photo series

Just a shot from my hike today, taken from the summit of Briones Peak, that came out well enough that I wanted to share it. Came out well enough, that is, despite my having to sidle over the the...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 05:30 PM

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December 03, 2004


The desert has need of bleached bones. Mine, I hope, will help slake that thirst someday. A cow or deer or sheep succumbs, and its skeleton settles onto alluvial fans, where flash floods off the mountains blanket bone with...

Continue reading "Skeletons"

Posted by Chris Clarke at 08:29 PM

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December 02, 2004

And bad news

Another sweet-faced boy from Contra Costa County died in Fallujah in November. He was proud of his Marine uniform, his family told the papers. In the photo I saw, the uniform dwarfed him: his thin face, his deer-in-headlights eyes, his...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 10:42 PM

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Good, if fake, news

In the words of my pal Sean, "if only."...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 06:11 PM

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Pinto Chollas

In Pinto Basin, near the center of Joshua Tree National Park, an imaginary line snakes through a forest of cholla. On one side of the line lies the Sonoran Desert, or at least that painfully hot, desolate section of it...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 12:59 PM

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December 01, 2004

Ten photos

I've done a little shuffling through the deep dark recesses of the auxiliary hard drive the last couple days, and have pulled out a few photos to use as informal prompts for writing. Many of them are from the...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 08:27 PM

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This morning, frost delineated each vein in each grass blade. Dead plane tree leaves scuttled across the park like Prufrock's ragged claws. Zeke's breath steamed. Framed in rimed plane tree leaves, a mourning dove's left wing lay palm up. The...

Continue reading "Wing"

Posted by Chris Clarke at 05:14 PM

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Three things I love about where I live

I. Riding BART to work in the morning two weeks ago. I was listening to Lila Downs on the old iPod. She was singing an arcane central Mexican waltz. A thin kid, probably 20 at most, opened his duffle and...

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Posted by Chris Clarke at 02:58 PM

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