Monday, September 3, 2007


I am sitting on a tree root, painting a view of the Skagit River. I have hiked in without my tripod, so the palette box is sitting on gravel. My legs are pressed into the gravel. All-in-all, not a very comfortable position, but I can manage. Next time, I'll carry either the tripod or a sitting pad.

It's the cloudiest day we've had so far, other than an afternoon of rain. I look for color variations in the sky. The water, too, has many colors in it: more orange in the shallows, turquoise in the deep channel, even hints of yellow and blue. I notice that the tree branches all reach out to the river at the same level, as if someone came along with a weed whacker and trimmed them in a straight line. Flood level.

The river rocks are all nearly white, but with variations. Spotted rock (leopard rock), striped rock (zebra rock), and rock with a golden rusty tone (lion rock.) All of it light, and tumbled to a pocked, rounded surface.

But the cliffs across the river are gray and dark. Why? Driving along the exposed rock later in the afternoon, I can guess. Dark cliffs line the road, but where bits of rock have broken away, the revealed rock is white. Something in the exposed rock has oxidized over the years, turning the rock black.

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