Chicago Sun-Times
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Ramble with Storm: The sound of water

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stormtight.jpg Mulling things on my morning ramble

with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.

Yesterday, I finally got up to see where the former Hofmann Dam was taken out of the Des Plaines River at Lyons.

Astonishing. Just astonishing. I can see why people were bringing their 93-year-old dads to see it.

It's a river again.

The first thing I noticed, other than it actually looked like a river again with riffles, pools and bends, was how it sounded.

The sound of running water came and went, a wavering natural sound.

The way I first remember Pine Creek, more of a wild mountain river than a creek, sounding on family vacations as a kid.

In Illinois, the best stretches of the Kankakee River make that sound.

Running water is a primal sound, a sound for the soul. Far different than the insistent white noise pounding below a dam.

I am not a fan of elaborate poetry. Williams Carlos Williams is my guy, even his dense poems are not what I would call elaborate constructions.

But Wallace Stevens, who truly constructed elaborate poetry, perfectly nailed the feel of running water in his poem, Sea Surface Full of Clouds

I think my favorite is the final two paragraphs of the fourth section:

The nakedness would rise and suddenly turn Salt masks of beard and mouths of bellowing, Would--But more suddenly the heaven rolled

Its bluest sea-clouds in the thinking green,
And the nakedness became the broadest blooms,
Mile-mallows that a mallow sun cajoled.

Mull that for a while.

Four Canada geese on the south old clay pit: two swimming quietly by the island, two standing on shore.

Enjoying their quiet eyeing of us, I was suddenly startled to hear a belted kingfisher. There's nothing quiet about them, and nothing particularly charming about their call. Finally I saw it fly off, still squawking.

No rabbits. No doves. One gray squirrel back in town.

We need the sound of running water again on the land before winter freeze dries everything. Only .1 inches of rain last night.


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1 Comment

I've always noticed that rise and fall sound on the Fox. I vaguely remember writing something down about it. I'll never find it.

When I was a kid and had rare times near woods, I would tell people I could see the ground breathing. They thought I was nuts and I quit talking about it.

A few years ago I was out in the woods squirrel hunting on a windy day. Standing still near some trees, I felt the ground rising and falling a bit beneath my feet. It's the root balls of all the trees that make that happen.

It was nice to finally find out I'm not nuts after all.

At least about that...

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on October 10, 2012 8:02 AM.

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