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Confluence - Dream Analysis
September 2017
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man walking in water
I'm looking for new paths of inquiry in my third summer of stream surveys with the Sentinel Streams team, this time in the Echo Creek watershed of Yosemite.
 
Notebook with handwriting, markers and eraser
In one sense they're linear channels, but in other ways streams are like indefinite spheres, contiguous with uplands and dependent on regional weather systems. The concave mirror of a densiometer collapses bordering vegetation into a seventeen-point scale, measured up, down and to each side of the stream channel. The relationships of plants to stream life are key, but complex. They will have their own focus in future posts.
 
Storm inlet with Drains to Ocean marker
We worked in head nets to keep the mosquitoes off, and quickly, attempting two four-hour surveys in a day plus the several miles trekking to the survey sites.
 
Boards with paper notes
As a shadow tells of form, it is largely water's impacts that let us describe it as a thing. Above, Bruce Medhurst records velocities, sampling a hundred point grid along the hundred-fifty meter study reach. This array of measurements, combined with depth and roughness, begins to translate a flowing stream into stable description.
 
Boards with paper notes
The sense of a world dreamt into being preoccupied me as we crisscrossed gravelly streambeds taking measurements. It was as if disorientation by something inscrutable, formless and necessary was sinking into and through understanding. I thought of psychoanalytic process, of the rituals, art and architecture that embody relationships with ungraspable things. Could this be what ecologists do turning liquid processes into grids of numbers?
 
Boards with paper notes
One doesn't appreciate the abundances of nature when it comes as a hoard of mosquitoes, but pencil graphite glinting in the sun certainly counts as superlative.
 
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All images by Todd Gilens unless noted otherwise.
 
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