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Without intervention from human beings, rivers do not stay in the same place.
A large tree falling in the water interrupts the “normal” flow, and the water, which does not stop, pushes around and against it to continue past. The water that normally passed through the middle of the course now adds itself to the right, say, and this extra flow and movement pushes against an existing bank, breaking parts of it away.
This continues, with more and more of the bank breaking away, until the river has subtly altered its course and shape.
So it is with the North Touchet River in Eastern Washington – in less than 20 years, the river has noticeably changed its course, and at one time, a sagging fence, hanging in mid air, showed that the bank used to be 10 feet closer to the river. But the river has claimed that space.
Where the River Bends, the artwork, invites the viewer to step into the painting and onto the banks of the river, overlooking the spot where the river gently curves and pushes its way past obstacles. Additional obstacles through the years, like more trees and winter ice, have changed that bend into a sharper one, and the river has continued to alter its shape and form.
And the force is “just” water!
It is a sobering yet encouraging thought – that things don’t stay the same, and also, that determined and perseverant action achieves change and results. These two facts are easy to forget in our day to day lives, because sometimes, things seem to change so slowly or not at all, that we wonder if they ever will.
So might the river think, if it had the ability to do so. Everyday, it flows and flows, the water starting from springs and tributaries from above and flowing downward until it eventually, by flowing into more and larger rivers, eventually reaches the ocean.
“Things never change,” the river might think. “I do the same thing everyday, and it always looks the same.”
But look at a photo taken twenty years before, or – if enough weather affected elements have happened to the river – the season before – and the change will be amazing. Rivers, and circumstances, don’t stay the same.
Featured in 31 Fine Art America groups
August 1st, 2018
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