Louie is proud of this work at Three Sisters Irrigation District – it is a benefit to wildlife and he wants to spread the story. But there is more to it than that. This is a mutual and reciprocal healing: a story I want to spread.
Environmental problems are not a dichotomy of problems with nature on one side and humans on the other. The dichotomy begins to crumble as soon as the concept of nature is removed. How will our relationship with our ecosystems change and how will our decisions be different if the distinction disintegrates altogether?
The creek has been stretched back in time, erasing not only the human created erosion and damage, but also eliminating any chiseling the creek had done on its own prior to human intervention. It’s like shaking a giant Etch A Sketch until all evidence of previous drawings have been eliminated and the raw material is reset to a flat smooth plane where a new drawing can start to take form.
My relationship with Whychus Creek started tentatively. The milky glacial water was not inviting even though it was a hot day in July. The headwaters on Broken Top are not very far away. The water is cold.
This place is defined by water.
I came to Pine Meadow Ranch to listen to stories of the creek on this ranch in Sisters, Oregon. The ranch is idyllic with its unobstructed views of the mountains and Whychus Creek, its milky glacial melt waters originating from Broken Top and all Three Sisters, running through the ranch.
Little, if any land on the ranch is untouched. It is a fully constructed landscape dating back to the 1800s when settlers cleared fields for cattle and began diverting streams to irrigate their ranches. Some of the coveted water rights for this ranch date back to 1895, superseding the water rights of Three Sisters Irrigation District (TSID).
This is an ode to water, not as a resource, just as it is, with its own strange and beautiful qualities. It really is strange if you think about it.
In conjunction with the October 2021 exhibition at The Arts Center in Corvallis entitled What Will Nature Do? I spoke about collaborating with time in my creative process. Hydrologist Steve Wondzell joined me on April 20, 2021 to provide his perspective of my art from a scientist’s point of view.
Every river has a unique color palette, and they all fluctuate with the seasons. It’s like the color is a facet of the river’s personality. And now, through satellites and long-term data collection, we can clearly see how the colors are drifting away from their traditional cyclical patterns. The personalities of rivers are changing over time.
Why does the forest smell like roses in January?
Shut out the light and align your breath to what you hear. You start to hear the stories that are told by water.
Monday, September 7, 2020 was a hot, windy day. On the evening of September 7th, the Holiday Farm Fire ignited and the McKenzie watershed burst into flames. The next morning was one of the darkest mornings that I have ever experienced.