Thursday, October 13, 2016

Optical confusions

The Campbell River estuary spreads out into a maze of back-channels and quiet pools, protected both from the sweep of the river and the storms and tides of the salt chuck downstream. For many decades, it was used as a storage site for log booms.

Screen grab of 1965 aerial photo, with enhanced contrast, from City of CR. The long, white rectangles are log booms.

The booms are gone now. The last photo where they appear is from 1980. The lagoons lie sleepily under the sun where the logs once rattled their chains.

Old boat, at anchor. Someone is fishing off the forward deck.

Walking the Myrt Thompson trail, I deviated from the official route to visit the abandoned log dumping site. These days, it is an empty space, still paved in spots, but gradually being reclaimed by broom and trees. At the edge of the water, massive steps, stairs for a giant, rusted and warped from long years in the rain and the river, lead down into the water, probably where logging trucks long ago tipped their loads. (On the aerial photo above, it's near the angle in the orange dotted line, at the bottom of the long line of log booms.)

Just inland of these steps, large logs are chained in a row, a barrier between the paved area and the drop into the river. They've been there for many decades now; the wood is silvery-grey and silky to the touch, and deeply carved into fist-deep depressions.

Section of log.

When I look at this photo, my eyes insist on turning the holes into hills, with steps up, like so many eroded Mexican pyramids. The steps go down; the lighter, flat spaces in between are the outer surface of the log.

Another log, with more holes. The shadows and the bits of gravel at the bottom of some holes keep this in perspective.

On the broken pavement beside the logs, a grasshopper led me a merry dance, waiting until I would be a couple of metres away, then leaping up and flitting away, never too far, so that I could see him land. But when I approached, staring at the spot so as not to lose it, he was just not there. One cautious step more, and yes, he'd been there all the time; now he was on his way to his next hiding place in plain sight.

Hills become holes: the grasshopper became sticks, became a grasshopper, became stones. My poor eyes!

1 comment:

  1. Always like an air photo. You can learn so much. Those pix have the same effect on my eyes.


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