CLIFF CREGO | SUMMIT CREEK, May Snowmelt Flowforms, South Wallowas

SUMMIT CREEK, May Snowmelt Flowforms, South Wallowas . . .
On the road in the American Northwest. [click photo for next . . . ]

The way of force and outward mechanical power

runs in a straight line.

For it, the way of water and the meadow meander

is just a waste of time.


Quaerendo invenietis
(Seek and you shall find)

Johann Sebastian Bach’s inscription
for the famous Ascending Staircase Canon
in the Musical Offering

Simple and complex, two sides of one movement. Water is my guide,
my mentor, my paradigm. Always flowing downhill, water shows us
such an extraordinary example of simple, unambiguous limit, of such
legislative clarity! Yet, the patterns of water in flowing movement are
at the same time so rich, so complex, as to be vastly beyond all human
seeing and knowing.

Look at the wonderful contrast of how the trees stand perfectly
erect:—bold, steadfast statements against the harsh odds of cold, wind
and snow. But there they are, branching out into the high mountain air
in an endless display of inventive variation. One simple vertical con-
stant, ornamented with a baroque delight in complexity, like old Bach
improvising at his little clavier or harpsichord, showing us a phrase, a
theme, then letting us hear it this way, and then that. Ah yes, counter-
point, a movement of many voices together, flowing in parallel, inter-
woven streams.

And yet, the song birds always have known this. Each spring morning
is a marvelous unfolding of song. This is real polyphony, sound finally
freed of the constricting bars of music’s formal measures. The Robin
marks the time with its almost but not quite regular sharp chirps in 3’s.
The Chipping Sparrow sounds its sustained snaredrum roll. While the
Song Thrush, newly arrived from sunny Mexico, tosses off its filigree
figures of braided silver and gold, each phrase a water-like spiral float-
ing upwards through the spruce and fir, then tapering off towards the
sunlight above.

And ever-presnt in the background is that steady, rushing sound of
clear mountain water, water rushing down from all the sides of the
steeply walled valley around me, a near timeless roar that somehow
holds the whole, the whole mystery of living water, and of the whole
of living sound.

THE LITTLE CLAVIER please preview 150 of 631 pages
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All Photographs & texts by Cliff Crego © 2012
(created: XI.19.2008)