Intent on blue, hear only white. Feel the ground shake with the passing of the brown, gray, rolling brown and gray again. For days there is red, mountains liquefied at the source. It moves, shapes, carves, scrapes, and defines the valley of Deep Creek.

The racing water is a visual and auditory conglomerate as complex as the motion of the stones that it causes to collide. The music it generates is white, noise to some and a melody to others. White noise confusion. A constant wash that makes difficult hearing without raised voices. Small motions are lost in the wake of the large. The structural waves crumble and the entire mass of water rushes to the same goal.

The language of dolphins and whales: intricate, sensitive microphones scan for sounds the human ear cannot perceive. They amplify, rectify, verify, and qualify for the appetites of hungry scientists. The same patterns, the same intent, shifted into a different portion of the spectrum. The translation is justified as the means to communication. But how do we sound to them?

Within the rumble, the noise, the unbound frequencies, there is a communication seldom heard. Given a face, the creek smiles in its earthen bed, shaded by the aspen and fir high above the industrial wasteland. But the regiment of gravity is a relentless force and the motion is always down. The smile distorts; a frown intercedes. The course is altered, the bed filled with silt, the covalent bonds plugged with eager toxins.

If the creek were given hands, its multifold digits would draw a melody to touch the hearts of all that listen. With the voice of banshees, every stream on this continent would fill the air with pain. The greedy politicians, the avid industrialists, and those who just don’t give a damn would fall to the call of the sirens at sea, drowning in their own nuclear demise.

And if the creek had feet, and articulate legs whose muscles swirled with transparent sound, perhaps it would climb from the banks of its polluted channel to begin again on higher ground.

© Kai Staats 1993