Thursday, July 21, 2005
Place III (Trinity)
I’ve been home in Nevada City since late Tuesday night. This hasn’t happened since May, I think. I can’t even remember the last time I spent a full 24 hours here. What this means is that my summer life has kicked in and has been in full swing for a few months. I’ve been mostly living in a tent on the South Fork of the American River.
Earlier in the month I visited Scott at his tent at the Gold Rush camp. We scrambled over rocks to find a good perch by the water where we stayed well past dark. It’s been many years since I have sat there. The Gold Rush camp is now half of the old Mother Lode camp where I had first lived as a raft guide thirteen years ago. It’s the same place, but it feels so different now. Buildings and parking areas have popped up over the years. It has gone from the rustic place I once lived to parceled and organized rafting camps.
Coloma is the place that I have been coming back to for thirteen years. Returning there feels like the closest thing to coming back home. The smell is the first thing to hit me as I drop into the canyon. The land and water are so familiar and some of the people I’ve known since the beginning. The American holds memories from when I was a naïve 18 year old getting my first taste of the life of the river. It’s when I first got my feet really wet. But even so, I don’t ever feel compelled to photograph or write about the S. Fork American. Perhaps it’s because I already feel I know it so well.
Today I’m sitting on my computer in Nevada City. I started to edit photos I took weeks ago, but got distracted by sifting through a bunch of Scott’s CDs. I’m waiting for the clouds to clear so I can go to the river. But I don’t think they will. So I started to write. But after a paragraph I needed to pick up the phone to call Dan to see when it is I’m working again – 7 days in a row starting Saturday. Then I resumed writing, but after each paragraph I keep picking up the phone. I haven’t put in a new CD to see if silence would help.
I’m not entirely certain why it’s so hard for me to make art in the summer. It just is. I can’t focus.
I just picked up the phone to call Sarah.
I’ll be house sitting for her this weekend in Coloma.
A few weeks ago several friends and I went to the Tuolumne River to paddle. Beginning with the long bumpy drive down to the river, Noah offered countless facts about the river and land. He talked about it like he was speaking about family. I wanted to paddle near him so I could hear him talk. I don’t remember much of the specifics of what he said, just his tone of voice and the look on his face as he spoke. I wanted to absorb that.
Three days in Nevada City. I didn’t shop for food. It’s not long enough of a stay to justify it. I’m eating the reserves from my shelves and the remainder of the food from the cooler from camping. I’m halfway through the three days here and I’m already feeling restless. It’s strange since Tuesday night Scott and I just returned form the Trinity River. It’s not like I’ve been in any one place for any great length of time.
I picked up the phone to call Britta. Still no answer.
Scott took me to the North Fork of the Trinity River. We sat on the beach where he had slept every night when he was a river ranger. We filled our water bottles with sweet, cold spring water where the water gushed out of the rocks. The sun woke us up as the light crept down the canyon walls to the water. We swam up the river of his green paradise to lie on hot rocks in the sun. When we got hot we jumped into the swift current and were carried below to a big clear green pool. Then we would swim back up the river, ferrying and catching eddies to lie on the hot flat rocks again. It was a perfect day.
Where is my own paradise to share with him?
I’ve been sitting here for a while staring at the screen. But I can’t answer that question.