Thursday, January 7, 2010

Winter Waterway

The local streams are blessedly full with water this winter. But it seems wherever in the world there are shopping carts, one or two can be found cast into a waterway.

People who lived in Little Lake Valley fifty or so years ago say these creeks used to be filled with spawning salmon, when the season was right. The distances those fish would swim upstream from the sea, at the mouth of the Eel River, just astonishes me. How could we so degrade such a magnificent natural system, once capable of feeding entire human tribes?


Dina said...

Oi, what an eerie picture.

Nice musings.
Just a few winters ago I saw for the first time fish jumping UP little waterfalls. The Areuse in Switzerland. It is something so impressive, you never forget.

Hilda said...

Metro Manila's problems are just as bad, probably even worse. Do you think we will ever learn? Sometimes I despair.

How can an entire shopping card end up in there?? We're not even allowed to take them out of the supermarket.

Petrea said...

A wheeled Ophelia, dead in dead water. Eerie picture indeed.

Ron Bloomquist said...

It's a damn shame and a great photo. I have a photo of a shopping cart that had been tossed off the Highway One bridge into Pudding Creek.

People. I hate 'em.

Not you, of course. :-)

Anonymous said...

When I was a child growing up in Willits in the '80s, you could still find salmon in area creeks. In fact, the last time I remember seeing any was... 1997 or '98 I think.

Since then, unfortunately no.

USelaine said...

Dina, isn't it amazing to see them? The idea that anadromous fish can travel so many hundreds of miles against the current, just to spawn and die, is one of those great mysteries of nature.

Hilda, they allow folks to take the carts out to their cars in the parking lots here. Some of the less privileged take them all the way home, and a few of those never take them back. Homeless people sometimes use them as their primary means of "transport".

Petrea, Wow. Just, wow.

Ron, it is a shame, and I thank you for granting me an exception.

101, I read a comment elsewhere by Holly Madrigal, saying she saw a pair of salmon in one of the creeks this year. So there must be some hope yet.

Thank you all.

Anonymous said...

we have professional services tht go around picking them off the street and returning them to their homes

I never knew salmon spawned in California until recently ( and I learned about it on a blog). I did see them jumping upstream once. Either Alaska or Washington

I like your photo. I often walk the LA river so I'm familiar with the site of jetsam/ floatsam. A particular area near Griffith park has a sand bar in the center where the homeless like to camp. It was upsetting to see a woman once washing her clothes with a bucket of suds. Understandable but still disturbing.

Petrea said...

We have so many homeless, PA. Your words are touching. If we ever get to the point of not being disturbed by their plight then we're lost.

USelaine said...

PA, Thank you for your comments. We do have homeless people up here, while others are what I call drifters who pass through on 101 to get to Humboldt county and then back to the Bay Area. Other folks have housing, but no vehicle for bringing food home from the store, so they use the carts the whole distance. None of those scenarios explains why this ended up in the water, but stories of other people are complicated.

As for the salmon, the last decade has seen a catastrophic collapse of all the populations, with Big Agriculture in the central valley fighting for diversions, while the fishing industry laments the resulting failures of spawning runs on the Sacramento and all its tributaries ~ almost all of which have dams on them now.

P, it is heartbreaking. We need better housing options, better health care delivery, less disparity between the bottom and the top. I know you know, too.

Anonymous said...

Something strange happened when I saw this photograph. I felt like a fish being drawn into the stream by the haunting glow of the shopping cart. Before I knew it, I was caught by the sadness of it all: This is how we respect our world.

Your photo, and reflections, left an indelible impression that won't soon disappear. Powerful

Kris said...

It looks so forlorn.

USelaine said...

Reiko, thank you so much for your kind comment. Things seen underwater, that shouldn't be there, seem to show up in any nightmares I have, going back to childhood. It's like there are two universes that should stay pure and distinct. Floods and tsunami are intrusions into air space, and our debris and toxins are intrusions into water space.

Kris, forlorn is a good word for it. said...

Great photo!! Good job!!