Try to imagine owning a piece of property where a creek starts, emerges, one that joins up with three other creeks along its way before going over several water falls and only then leaving the spot on this earth which we've "owned" for over 45 years. The hills on this place are like a protective circle around us, with the creek located through the middle of it all and nourished by run-off through healthy trees whose roots hold the hillsides. We are cradled by this hollow, as it is called in Appalachia. We are rich in our connection to the earth even if, ironically, our property's "value" is not that much.
I have written in other places about the privilege of living on these 90 acres. And about the job of stewardship. In this day and age even our small bit of the earth requires care as well as good fortune so that the woods don't burn down, that the Ashland Oil pipeline doesn't leak -- it is on our property but runs along the edge by the road -- and that invasive plants don't choke out the native ones that work more in harmony with the whole.
There is also the huge problem of it all being taken for granted. During a recent conversation in a car with three very smart local teens, it turned out that none of them knew the name of the dogwood tree then in bloom throughout the woods and along the road we were driving on! Now they know the name.
This is my photography blog, however, so it's time for one of the things I can do: share the love in a visual way. I decided to try to give a brief sense of the creek on its journey. Several of the photos have already been on my blog over the last five years, but, hey, what is life anyway except seeing things with new eyes as we go along!!
|a joining on our place|
|another joining, heading downstream|
|THE ROCK IN THE CENTER IS WHERE I WAS SITTING SO I COULD USE MY BODY TO MAKE LIKE A TRIPOD. It always amuses me that viewers are rarely curious about where I was when I made the photo.|
|the creek in full force from spring rains|
|the same creek, later in the spring, during another year|
|the creek during a dry spell, so strange to hear no noise from running water|
|same view, a bit closer to the tree, summertime|
|the second waterfall|
I also made a brief video, just with my iPhone, that goes for 30 seconds. Water flowing, giving life. The still shots from this same location are shown above. It had been raining a lot, so the creek edges are more washed over than usual. I hope you have time to take a look. (Note: I finally figured out how to embed a vimeo video! I am thankful to be on good terms with my close companion "trial and error.")
clear Kentucky creek from Ann W. Olson on Vimeo.
I am not the only one grateful to feel the life force a particular piece of land provides. It makes me ache for the families whose long held pieces of land are being abused by the extraction economy that prevails in so many places in the mountains. The most recent outcries against more stingent regulations for keeping streams clear simply frost me. As KFTC (Kentuckians for the Commonwealth) and other groups have been saying all along, we ALL live downstream and we SHOULD care deeply about how our water starts out.
With that work in mind, I am ending with a video of the song "Black Water", written by Jean Ritchie. Jean died recently at age 92, but she spoke up and sang out in her chrystal clear voice for many years, a Kentucky treasure. I copied this video from a piece by writer Silas House that he posted on his FB page. JEAN RITCHIE SONG: BLACK WATER