Friday, July 16, 2010

Inspiration: Musical Compositions From the Creek

Imagine a wee bit of an adventure, roaming a creek bed and recording the sounds discovered there.  Part documentary, part art exploration, I tagged along with my friend Hugh to record the sounds of the creek in Leona Canyon.  I can't find the name of the creek now, but it does seem to be part of the Sausal Creek watershed.  Here's a fabulous teacher's guide that discusses the native plants found there, along with information about the Native American tribes who lived there.

Hugh has embarked on a special project of recording the sounds of the creeks in Oakland and composing pieces from & inspired by them.  Such a different experience for me to focus my attentions on a sense I rarely use when hiking- sound!

 I watched in wonder as Hugh "tuned" a creek with a special under-water recording device.  Moving stones in and out of the flow, he composed a fascinating sequence of sounds that had me mesmerized!  

Inspired by his project, I hopped about with new eyes- in the last few years it seems I have focused more on recording rather than discovering.  I found myself fascinated by the shadows of the waterbugs, the colors of the leaves glistening in the creek and the silhouette of hemlock flowers against the sky.

The shadow of fern fronds on a creek-side boulder suggest a frilly lace collar being dried and starched for the next tea party.

Beneath the dried and windblown grasses, little caches of fuzzy seed heads seemed like an ideal place for a bunny to be napping in the sunshine.

So much hemlock growing along the trail, which through the lens of a native plant geek is a horrible shame, but with the artists' eye they majestically filled the sky with pattern.


  1. shhhhhh! Keep this creek secret! I don't want the word getting out, because this is my personal get-away spot.

    Oh wait, now I just blew it, didn't I? Well, I won't tell your blog readers what entrance I use, because I think it's not the same one you use.

    Love the idea of this project. Very elegant.

  2. It is a great exercise to really look at things with fresh eyes. Your camera captured the experience wonderfully.

  3. Oh sorry to give away your secret, Lisa! Glad you agree that it's a nice place to go, though. (Except for the poison oak! I wanted to pet all the dogs passing by, but had to refrain)
    Thanks for the visit and kind words, threedogsinagarden!

  4. I followed the link from a message you left for Curbstone Valley - great blog, thanks I'll be back. I tried to fave you on blotanical but the technology got to me, can't seem to find you although you are on the map - most curious. Thanks for a great post though!

  5. Love your blog, posts, pictures,the general sense I have when reading it... will be comming back many times for sure.

  6. Thanks, Kalipso! So glad you dropped by!