Portions of Paradise
In my first post I prognosticated that Beaverton Brook would be no more come late summer. Today I rode my chainless bicycle (shaft drive) to the Labs property to see it that was the case this year. There is barely a trickle now, and the summer foliage had grown so much that I couldn’t recognize or find the location of the original photograph (above). My intent had been to rephotograph the same exact scene to show the creek missing, but everything had grown up so much I pondered the age old question: Why can’t the present stay like the past?
And so it’s said we can’t go back except in our memories, of course the reason is things change and the past you’re looking for no longer exists. I returned recently to my early boyhood home of Klamath Falls, Oregon and found the town completely different than I remember as a four year old, though there are vestiges of what one remembers…lasting elements of the topography, nature’s fragrances (in this location it’s sagebrush,) or the temperature and relative humidity of the summer air…that linger through the ages.
Thoreau would have to seek out those few remnants were he to return to Walden Pond today, for he would find little else familiar amongst man’s encroachment on what was to him a wilderness. Yet he knew it was coming; the industry of men gathering ice in the winter from the pond, the sound of the train somewhere through the trees were signs that things could and would change.
Thoreau said the west, not east, was where one had to go to find the wilds. My, wouldn’t he be surprised of what has become of the “west.” In today’s hectic world each of us can find wilderness in what I call ‘Portions of Paradise,’ simply by seeking them out on a smaller scale, like this scene above.
Photo location: Beaverton Brook, UofW Labs property north of Friday Harbor, San Juan Island